A few days in Sydney

Sunday  – Tuesday 12 – 14 May 2013 – Sydney

I was not up too early on Sunday, I took half a pill as I was desperate for a sleep and it was really noisy sleeping so close to the street, the half a pill made no difference sadly and I was still feeling tired – my state for most of the Sydney weekend.

The weather was as fabulous as yesterday which was fine by me as today we were taking a trip into Newtown, one of Sydney’s inner suburbs and a bit of walking around was planned.

I walked up Manly beach again to Nicole’s place and snapped a shot up both ends of the beach. You can see why people live here !

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And this is not a bad way to get to work in the mornings either!

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Newtown has a bit of street art and some cool shops and is one of very few Sydney suburbs I could happily live in. It is also the scene of some very drunken evenings with Australian work colleagues back a couple of decades. Especially here…

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The street art was pretty cool and there was plenty of it around, I will put some more up on another post, but I particularly liked this.

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This mural is one of the better known and oldest ones, painted in 1991.

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Next to this, and a more recent addition is this mural, which makes the first more poignant.

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We walked around for a couple of hours before meeting one of Nicole’s Sydney friends, Azra. She showed us a bit more street art before we stopped for lunch and a wine in the sun. Soon it was time to head back to Manly for the evening – much as you don’t want to, you have just got to love that harbour bridge…

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On Sunday evening we met up with Nicole’s friend Aaron in one of the Manly pubs, Manly has all been tidied up since I last visited in the mid-nineties and the old pubs are quite nice now. Sydney even has a decent range of micro-brewery beer as well, a huge step up on my last visit, though I stuck to wine and seemed to drink a wee bit more than my share. Loved this cider product from lunch.

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Nicole had taken Monday off work and wanted to take a car for a drive up to the beaches north of Manly. She had not driven since arriving in Manly at the end of last year and wanted to have a wing man for the first attempt. Go Get is a car rental company with a difference, I have never heard of this before, but apparently there is a similar model in London, so I guess I am just behind the times. To use Go Get you sign up on-line and get sent a swipe card that unlocks the cars. Cars are left scattered all over the city so to use one you just book a car, find where it is parked and swipe yourself in. When you are finished you park it and let them know where it is. I have no idea how it is charged though! A great idea as the car was just round the corner!

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The morning broke cloudy and was a little cool as I walked up the beach towards Nicole’s place.

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We had breakfast before finding the car and heading out of Manly up the coast. We drove up to Palm Beach where we spent a couple of hours walking around and in my case, drinking a damn good coffee. Palm Beach is better known to fans of the (truly awful) soap ‘Home and Away’ as Summer Bay.

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We had a great morning out, Nicole’s driving was not too scary:) and we made it back to Manly in one piece! I found this as we parked the car, an oldie but a goodie.

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I had a major lie in on Tuesday morning and left my hotel at the last possible minute at 10:30. Nicole was at work for the day but I had made plans to catch up with a couple of other friends in Sydney, starting with an old recruiting/mountain biking buddy Michelle – who also happened to live in Manly.

I was then on the ferry over to Sydney city where I dumped my pack at Nicole’s office and then walked up town to meet with Winnie, an old colleague for lunch in the park.

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One the way I walked through St Marten’s Place.

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And past the under-renovation town hall. I love how the building has giant pictures over the bits being worked on. I have never seen this before and think it is a absolutely fabulous idea and I would love to see it elsewhere. Downtown Sydney is pretty cool – well warm, but cool all the same.

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After lunch I walked around the Museum of Contemporary Arts.

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Visiting artist Guan Wei was painting this mural “The journey to Australia” in the foyer, I really liked it – along with his other smaller works in the museum.

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There was a really good exhibition of photos from Canadian Jeff Wall in the museum and the space was just massive, a wonderful venue.

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It is impossible to visit Sydney on a sunny day without being lured across Circular Quay to the iconic Sydney Opera House. The building is just so cool it is irresistible !

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And that was pretty much it.

I had a final catch up with Nicole for dinner at the uber popular Jamie’s Italian restaurant, the food was fabulous and I would have liked to have lingered and enjoyed the food slowly over a wine or two but the airport and my flight/s to London were calling.

I had a fabulous time in Sydney, Manly and Newtown were cool spots to visit and it was great to spend some time with Nicole again. till next time !!

Needing some sun – off to Sydney

Saturday 11 May 2013 – Sydney

I was up very early for my flight to Sydney, I stayed at mums for my last night in NZ and she gave me a ride out to the airport which was much appreciated. I have my normal backpack and a massive suitcase that is just heaving with stuff I ‘need’ in London – though I did manage to sneak a small bit of vinyl in there. I guess it means I will have to buy a turntable in London 🙂

Through good planning I met my bro-in-law Allan, whose house I had been staying in, at the airport as he returned from a work trip to Perth. It was a nice change to share coffee with someone and it was nice to be able to thank him and wish him farewell.

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Though Air New Zealand seems to have gone ‘low cost’ on the route to Sydney the flight to Sydney was a good one, we arrived early and by some miracle both my bags were together on the baggage carousel and I was on the train into town before the scheduled arrival time! With further immaculate timing I jumped straight on a ferry at Circular Quay and off to my final destination – Manly, in record time.

It was a glorious day in Sydney, much as I love Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, Sydney Harbour on a great day has to be the best in the world. I had a great view of the bridge and sat outside on the deck for the entire thirty minute ride.

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One of my closest and most treasured friends, Nicole, now lives in Manly and there was no way I was going to make a trip to New Zealand without spending a few days here. I have booked myself into the Manly Beachfront Apartments and have the budget room – I think there is only one of those. It is right on the street and is approximately one foot larger than the bed. However, it was cheap for Manly and that was all that mattered, though I had to pay extra for wifi which always annoys me! It’s location over the road from Manly beach is just perfect and sort of makes up for the cost.

Once I had dumped all my stuff in my room we took a walk around town, had some lunch and walked up to Shelly beach for a coffee.

I really liked all these cast figures on the rock wall alongside the path.

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Manly is a stunning town, I can see why Nicole (and everyone else) lives here, twenty minutes on the ferry from the centre of Sydney, yet it is a small slice of paradise here. We had a walk around then I went back to my hotel for an afternoon nap. Once refreshed I walked up the beach side to Nicoles place, stopping to watch these guys play volley ball as the sun set.

We had dinner and a couple of wines at one of the local cafes, before saying an early good night and I went and crashed back at the hotel. The two hour jet lag between NZ and Sydney always mucks me around.

It was a good day, good to be on the way back to London, good to relax and enjoy some sun and good to see Nicole again.