Andy: As we wrote in our previous posts, we had a very long drive from northern Queensland to Sydney which we completed in 4 days. When we arrived to the house we would be looking after around 7pm the owners immediately started bombarding us with information regarding their dog, the plants and how to water them using only watering cans, the doors, the air conditioning etc. The list was endless. They even gave a Turkish person a step by step guide on how to cook rice! For the dog I might add, not us. In fact, they left us 18 pages of information they thought we might need!
Eventually around 10.45pm they said to us “You must be tired?” to which of course we said yes as we’d been on the road for the best part of the day. There was just the small matter of walking the dog before bed! Thanks for that.
Seda: The guy says “so who’s walking the dog with me?”. Andy says he would and turns and mouths to me “go to bed”. Unfortunately my husband’s sweet sacrifice doesn’t save me as the lady of the house has other ideas. She shows me the shower which we use squeegee on walls and screen after every use and the bucket we have to fill with cold water until hot water starts running. This bucket of water is then used to water her favourite plant which she showed me immediately.
Residents only allowed 3 minute showers due to current restrictions. We thought “yeah right” when we first heard it, “who’s gonna check?”. In truth, most conscious residents do and these two are amongst them. We have absolutely no problem with that and 3 minutes is enough for a quick shower anyway. It’s just when I wash my hair, that has to be at the speed of light, that’s all!
Andy: Needless to say we slept like babies that night after our long day of travelling and a little sight seeing along the way. Unfortunately we were woken quite early by some rather noisy cockatoos letting the neighbourhood they were there. So, up we get and had a little job to do of our own – return our little hire car Zach into central Sydney. Not before walking the dog though of course!
There was a bit of tension in the air that morning because their son’s car was having problems and it was unclear as to if he would be able to go on the family holiday or not, or if indeed if anyone would be going at all. We thought it best to disappear for a few hours and hope they’d be gone when we got back.
Dropping the car off in Sydney was fairly straight forward and we then got the train and a bus back to the house. They were indeed gone so we had the place to ourselves. That first day was forecast to be 45 degrees and so we basically battened down the hatches and sat in the house with the air conditioning turned up to max! It was an interesting start to our time in Sydney to say the least!
Seda: We heard them come back at night and figured that they were back to get their son’s caravan as they had mentioned that could have been a possibility if their son car wasn’t fixed. All very complicated but hey, it’s not our business so we laid low and kept quiet. Maybe they would be gone before we wake up?
No chance, they were in the house and wanted us to know that they were up. All banging and cranking. I was the first one out to say good morning. What a mistake! They bit my head off!
First they told me off for leaving all the blinds down overnight,for locking all the doors instead of leaving screen doors. Sorry for keeping your house extra secure, i won’t do it again!? For second telling off, the guy said to me “you like pineapples? yes?” thinking he’s got us some pineapples, i said yes, especially Andy likes them very much. He pulled me to the sink and there they were, the peels of pineapple we had the night before were taken our of the bin one by one and put in a different container. “this is where we collect food waste” he said and his wife quickly lead me to the garden to show me where i could deposit these food waste in the garden and how i should give a mix after every addition.
They weren’t rude but i felt like a child being told off. I escaped to our bedroom and told a just getting out of bed Andy what i’d been through in a whispering frenzy. I also told him that i was mad at him for not being the first one out the door and he was just grinning at me!
We have decided to include no pictures from the house as we did not ask their permission and did not want to, instead we’ll offer you The Opera House which is far better anyway!
Andy: The following days were all a combination of overcast skies and smoke in the air from the bush fires in NSW. We made the decision to not go into central Sydney until we had a clear sky day so we could get some better photographs of the well known sights. After all we’d waited all our lives to be here, and may never come back so we wanted our memories to not be all cloudy so to speak!
So, that meant the best part of a week just exploring the local areas on foot with the dog.
We walked miles up and down roads and through the odd bit of bush we could find. The kookaburra’s still laughed, and made us laugh…
…but still no koala sightings sadly. Although Seda has found her own solution to that problem…
Seda: When the boredom started to get to us, we took a trip to a nearby area called Hornsby. This place very much reminded us both of the centre of Coventry and keeping with the international theme, we had lunch in a cosy little Vietnamese restaurant. Lovely banh-mi. Still cheap and still delicious.
When your sightseeing opportunities are reduced to a small shopping area, you pick what you can to admire. This clock tower was the most interesting thing for miles around. Oh the fact that it didn’t work is a very minor detail i think.
Did you know the public train services are all double deckers in Sydney? I didn’t and it’s really cool to sit both at the top and bottom. Because when you are down, all you can see is the feet of people waiting on the platform, and if you are sitting up you get to see the top of their heads! What a privilege!?
Andy: When we eventually got a clear day we headed into the city centre to take in the sights exactly a week after we’d arrived in Sydney. We got off the train at Milsons Point so that we could walk across the Harbour Bridge. It was truly an amazing sight to walk around a corner and see this huge bridge we’d both seen so many times on tv and films right in front of us. Not only that, the Sydney Opera House was just below us.
We didn’t know where to look. There were people jogging across the bridge and all around the harbour and opera house. Now that’s some running course they’re doing!
After we stopped for a bite to eat and ate on the grass by the harbour with all the locals, we continued around to the botanical gardens.
This vantage point would be the only place you could get a good photo of both the opera house and the harbour bridge in the same shot. This point is rather wonderfully named Mrs MacQuarie’s Chair. After we’d taken our photos – Seda’s millionth of the day – we started to head back.
We had kept Seda’s phone logged into Strava to see how far we’d walk during the day, and by the time we got back to the station it was 17kms! Our tired feet can testify to every step as well!
To be continued…