Trip Start Mar 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2011

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What I did

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday morning we decided we'd use the day to make the run to the zoo - as with the aquarium we figured we'd snare a quiet day, being out of school holidays.  After a nice and lazy start to the day, we made our way over to the north side of Sydney, stopping in Neutral Bay for a relaxing coffee and lunch!  After catching up on the paper and our emails, we drove on to the zoo for a few hours of exploring.

The weather was already starting to look a bit suspect when we arrived, and others may have had a heads up on this - it was almost deserted!  Told the seal show was about to start when we walked through the gates, we made a beeline for that.  It seemed, once that was over, that there was barely anyone else around!  Again, the late zoo visit proved the perfect time - all the animals were starting to stir, and the small amount of human traffic seemed to make them a bit less reserved!

As we were winding towards the end of our visit, we could see a huge sheet of rain falling on the other side of the harbour, but we didn't clear off as quickly as the other remaining visitors!  So while we were hanging out with the huge tiger (while he was hanging out in his yellow tub) it started to bucket down.  Of course, the intrepid travellers didn't think about bringing an umbrella from the car, nor their matching rain jackets, so the zoo visit ended with a nice bolt back up to the car after a rather fun afternoon!

Monday night we decided to deviate from our usual evening behaviour and we .... watched Masterchef!  That and a meal with Jo, it was a rather lovely evening!  The next day, the weather was just as uninspiring, so it was off to the city for our declared rainy-day activity: shopping!  The tour guide was heartily disappointed at this plan!  After a successful first stab, Justyn caught a bit of baseball and hockey in a city pub while Erin went off to find some much needed winter clothes.  Apparently the tourist was baffled when she returned with only a lightweight dress that ended up being too small and had to be returned!

Tuesday evening we had a special engagement as a warm-up for the coming weekend.  We were to be heading off to the country town of Mudgee in central NSW on Friday with a bunch of pals, and Jo had brilliantly booked us in to a one-off event at an Italian restaurant on the harbour that was showcasing Mudgee wines.  The restaurant itself was awesome - a deli, wine store and restaurant in one (with cool looking cooking lessons too) - and we discovered when we arrived that Mudgee specialises in creating Italian varietal wines.  All pretty exciting.  And then flowed forth the prociutto, squid, veal... yum! So a brilliant evening of food, wine and awesome company ensued!

As golf was on the agenda in Mudgee for the tall one, we set off on Wednesday to muck around at a driving range in the Olympic Park - a journey that allowed the tour guide to give the tourist a mini tour of the precinct (she'd tried once before, but took a wrong turn and ended up in a car park... that was not much of a tour).  It also meant that the tourist could give the tour guide a few pointers in hitting balls.  Great fun!  The rest of the day would contain little excitement for others we're sure... because it again reverted to shopping!  However, we're happy to report that shoes, gumboots and shirts were all purchased with glee.

We returned to Jo's for another nice cruisy night and despite having a late afternoon scoffing of Turkish pide, Erin could not help but succumb to the beautiful medium rare lamb Jo had whipped up!  Of course, there was another episode of Masterchef (highly addictive!) and as a prelude to Erin's birthday on Thursday, there might have been some accidental opening of bottles of wine - some from our Barossa haul and some excess from the Royal party!  It was an awesome start to a certain person's birthday!

Thursday, being Erin's birthday, was a bit of a trip around doing some of her favourite things.  First stop was Yum Cha (Dim Sum) in Castle Hill with Erin's great buddy Kym and two of her little munchkins.  After some seriously delicious dumplings, we meandered back towards the city to spend the afternoon and evening there.  We'd booked into the Four Seasons in the Rocks, and then took off into the centre of town for another spot of shopping, some drinks at a cocktail bar in the cellars below the GPO building, and then off to collect some food for the evening.  We'd tossed up heading out for dinner or doing a picnic at the hotel, and the latter won out - especially since we could combine that with Masterchef!  So we grabbed a nice bottle of wine from the Cheese and Wine Rooms at the GPO, and collected an assortment of sushi and an Italian salad (really interesting combo!) from the David Jones Food Hall, not to mention an enormous punnet of ice cream (the same fig and caramel combo Jo had bought back to hers the other day) and settled in for a food coma with Masterchef and a great view over the city!

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