I guess you could say that we love Sydney!  The difficulty is that when we are in Melbourne we also say the same thing ….. hhmm which city is our favourite?  Well, that’s easy to answer  – the one we happen to be in at the time – and at the moment that’s Sydney!

Sydney is a very vibrant city perched on the edge of the most spectacular natural harbour, which makes for great background scenery and long, sunny rides on the ferries.  We are staying about 16kms out of the city centre along the Parramatta River, so it’s easy to catch the River Cat ferry into the city rather than risk all the heavy traffic on the roads and the problem of what to do with the car when we get there.

As we are house-sitting here for around six weeks, we have lots of time to explore our old haunts as well as discovering new ones.

When we first arrived, it was lovely to catch up with Christine and Jamie again, and it’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since we were here previously.  OH boy have the kittens grown!  They are now just huge balls of fluffy fur.

Back in June when Christine was staying with us in Spain, we had all seen a documentary that was on British TV called “Poms in Paradise”, following the ups-and-downs of several people who had decided to make Australia their permanent home.  One of the Poms was a woman called Claire, who was the owner of a fish and chip shop called Mongers, near to the famous Bondi Beach.  Chris announced that when we arrived in Sydney we would visit Mongers, all together, for a fish and chip lunch!  Sure enough, on our very first day in Sydney there we were, meeting Claire and telling her about us watching the programme on British TV in Spain.  Excellent lunch too!  Of course we had to have a stroll on the beach and then we went to the fabulous Icebergs Swimming Club right next to the Pacific Ocean, not for a swim but for a glass of wine overlooking Bondi Beach.  Well, somebody’s got to do it – and it might as well be us!

By the weekend, Chris and Jamie had jetted off to the States for their working holiday, so it was time for Michael and I to settle into a routine with the creatures.  We have the use of either of their two vehicles whilst we are here, so getting around isn’t a problem.

The next day we jumped onto the ferry to head into Sydney city centre as we had some tickets to buy for a motorsport event the following weekend – the Sydney Telstra 500, V8 Supercar racing at the Olympic Stadium!  (More about that in the next post).

We had heard about an Art Gallery called the White Rabbit Gallery in Balfour Street, which houses contemporary Chinese art, so we decided to visit.  It was wonderful!

We had lunch in Martin Place near to the huge Christmas Tree and then wandered into Hyde Park and visited the nearby St Mary’s Cathedral, the largest in Australia.  Afterwards, we headed to the Botanical Gardens and Mrs Macquarie’s Point to photograph the Opera House with the Harbour Bridge behind it.  We got caught in a thunderstorm in the Botanical Gardens and took refuge under an enormous tree planted for the Australian victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York city in 2001.

Our last stop of the day was Darling Harbour, where we enjoyed the Happy Hour at Cyren’s beautiful harbourside restaurant,  sipping Corona beers and meeting up with a couple from Melbourne, Michael and Angela, who we have promised to look-up in March 2013 when we visit the city.