Yesterday we walked for miles around the city, starting from the touristy but quaint, The Rocks and Circular Quay. This is where the cruise ships on steroids dock and passengers enter old Sydney, where there are endless old alleyways and beautiful historic buildings. Lots of high-end designer shopping and niche stores.

We finally arrived at the Sydney Opera House and it’s size alone is so imposing and the architecture, stunning, no wonder it is the iconic landmark that it is. In the surrounding area, you are also consumed by the harbor and bridge views with a variety of boats and yachts sailing by. From there we entered the Royal Botanic Gardens, 30 hectares of endless beauty.

Next up was Hyde Park where we ate Chinese on George St. to end an exhausting but adventurous day. 

Along the way, if you’re lucky, when it’s trash night, you can find some really cool and usable stuff on the sidewalk. Sidewalk finds are fast becoming one of my favorite hobbies around here! It’s amazing what people will throw away. I found several wicker baskets as well as some kitchen items that were in perfect condition.

Random - A friend here is called a “mate,” probably one of the most well-known affections of Australians and you hear it all the time!

Jim posing as The Convict at The Rocks

Aborigines greet tourists at the cruise ship and ferry dock in Circular Quay

Circular Quay

Me in front of the Opera house

Royal Botanic Gardens

The iconic fig trees around Sydney and Australia in general and spectacular beyond words….

For scale, look how tiny Jim looks next to this tree

Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Church in the background, Indian wedding party in the foreground

Glimpse of an eel in the botanic garden pond

A Rainy Easter Weekend

Well we celebrated our first Easter Down Under and the heathens that we are, we never made it to church. But we did manage to rent another van and this time it started and kept running without incident! Found several car rental places and dealerships up in Artarmon so this will be our go-to suburb when a car is needed.

Unfortunately it rained all weekend, straight through Friday & Sat., combined with holiday store closings, made Sydney more of a ghost town than the thriving metropolis it usually is. It is considered a public holiday straight through from Fri into and including Monday. While in Artarmon though, we found Fantastic furniture and Bunnings were open on Sat. so we bought shelving, lighting and a trash bin. I even remembered to look for Henry to surprise him with an American dollar bill but he was not working that day. From there, we went to Chelsea and James apartment. They are a super nice couple we met on the Sydney Americans Facebook group. Great timing that they were headed back to Texas and needed to unload everything from an iron and ironing board to a kitchen table and chairs and pretty much everything in between. We got so much accomplished, it was great!

The rain finally stopped a bit on Easter so that was a nice break but at least it kept us indoors to put our cheapo furniture together before heading out for more exploring.

Yesterday, later in the day, after sorting through mail and putting together furniture, we went for a hike (called bush-walking here!) through Ball’s Head Reserve. The council converted an old BP oil refining and coal mining facility into bush-walking trails, replanting native plantings with Million dollar views of the harbor in the distance. We saw monstrous-sized spiders everywhere, holy crap! lol Had no idea how close a walk it was from our apartment. We just walked up Lavender and onto Union St. The suburb changes from Lavender Bay to Waverton, a very nice neighborhood! We may consider it if/when we move next year. But I have to say that it is a challenge to find a balance between street & train noise and an easy walk to the train station. During our walk in Waverton, we came across an adorable cafe, The Grumpy Cafe, formerly The Grumpy Baker.

A little history and description here:

Check out these beautiful views of the city skyline and harbor from Ball’s Head.

We met a friend along the way (water dragon, like the spiders, they are everywhere too)

Productive AND Fun

Today was both productive and enjoyable! After hours, days really, spent on the phone, I think I finally resolved the gas and electric problems. Because the retailers bill quarterly, we now have free electric and gas from when we moved in, 3/20, until the next meter read coming up on the the 10th of April. Crazy system but the free utilities works for me!

I recently found a hair salon and had a cut and color done at the Rocket salon (They’ve since changed the name to Wildlife hair) in McMahon’s point. $144 – ouch. But there is no tipping here in Australia, as a rule, although I do find myself tipping every now and then, especially in the higher-end restaurants. My hairdresser, Cody, was a lovely girl and interesting. At 17 years old she once worked at a slaughterhouse/meat-packing facility which turned her into a vegetarian in no time apparently. I think I would too… Across the street is Billi’s cafe so I had a nice lunch there after my hair appointment.

I also ordered change-of-address labels on Vista print and found petite clothing sites local in Australia. After more exploring up in North Sydney, I also discovered an Aldi’s, where everything is so cheap! A real refuge in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

This weekend also happens to be Easter and in Australia it is celebrated as a four-day-long weekend, Friday - Monday off is pretty damn cool. The bars/hotels were filled to the max around the city Thursday night. Our big excitement was borrowing a few dvds from the library until the internet kicks in on the 17th.

A typical, beautiful sculpture you will see walking the streets in the CBD (central business district) of Sydney. A native ibis has decided he likes the sculpture too. This sculpture also happens to have a water fountain in the center. (Jim in the pic, on the right, watching the bird.)

When Jim returned from Tokyo, he brought me back this lovely kimono. I just love it and wear it all the time!

He also brought back the winning lottery ticket from Japan too - well maybe not….

And since we are on the subject of Japan, I wanted to share this link to view these incredible Japanese prints.

Finally, I thought this was a fitting quote….

“One kind word can warm three winter months.”
~ Japanese Proverb

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