I've had a miserable cold the last few days in Sydney. I've tried taking it easy but I had to get out and about. Wednesday I jumped on the CityRail and met my friend Jamie for a nice glass of Apple/Orange juice. We decided to take a walk down to the famous Bondi Beach. It was a cloudy day but the weather was still pretty warm and clear of actual rain. We continued along the coast over to Bronte Beach where she's living. We had a delicious home-cooked dinner with her flatmate and her friend Sue. I sat by and listened to them discuss the relevance of different contemporary art pieces that they'd seen. Rather than chime in with "that sounds neato", I munched on chocolate cupcakes and sipped Penfold's Cabernet. It was nice to get out and breath some fresh air but I did a whole lot of walking (from Central Station to Bronte Beach and back to Bondi Junction... apparently, if you're from around here, that's pretty nutty). I got into some train mishaps here and there. Make sure you don't jump on trains that are about to terminate, security doesn't like it. Also, never trust security's directions (or any railworker it seems), they have no idea what train will get you home.
I was completely exhausted but I'd signed up for a tour on Thursday morning. So after four hours of sleep I jammed back to Central station to catch the Wonderbus to the Blue Mountains. It was a pretty misty day that clouded any nice views of the Jameson Valley but the hike through the Jurassic rainforest was pretty nice. Some of the flora and fauna have been around for millions of years. We zoomed over to a lookout point to see a famous rock formation called the Three Sisters that's been very sacred to the Aboriginal people. It was too cloudy for a proper picture but as the mist rolled through these sistas peeked out to say hello. The flies around these mountains are mad. They're all over the place and they stick to you like flies on... well you know. If you stand still, you'll easily find your back covered with about 40 flies. It becomes pretty comedic to watch tourists waving their arms around non-stop as they try to snap photos of rocks in the fog.
Afterwards, we shot over to Featherdale Wildlife Park. This is where I got my first glimpse of really goofy looking Australian animals. They're so different from the wildlife we're used to back in North America. They're mutants that move around really funny and they're all terribly cute and fascinating. I had the requisite photo with a koala and monkeyed around with kangaroos, emus, and wallabies. One of my favorites was the Tasmanian Devil which ran laps around its little enclosure non-stop. Someone let that little fella out... and domesticate him back in the States, I want one.
We made a brief stop at a boutique winery in Hunter Valley to sample some wines and cheese before riding over to the Olympic stadium and catching a ferry back to Sydney Harbor. It was a pretty full day and I'm still a bit tired from it all. Have a look at the photo gallery for a few snapshots. I'm running out of Picasa web space which is pretty annoying. I'll have to figure out a solution for that later (yes, I should have chosen Flickr or something).
Today, I checked out some Vietnamese markets around town and in an hour or two, I'll head to Sydney to meet some travel buddies from my Spain and China trips. Phew.