So excited for today! Our alarm went off at 6am and we leaped up, washed, finished packing and had a cup of tea and were ready to depart at 0630.
It took us about an hour and three quarters to get down the mountains to the airport where we were dropping off the car at the Jucy depot. It was sad to say goodbye to the Hyundai. It has been an excellent car. We’ve driven 2600km in it since Feb. 24th.
Picked up an Uber XL (so much luggage) to take us to the Autograph Pier One hotel where we are spending the week. We’re using our Marriott points for the stay. The location is fantastic. Right on the harbour in the Rocks area and almost under the Harbour bridge. It’s a converted warehouse and very much a trendy boutique style. Not corporate Marriott by a long chalk.
We thought our room would not be ready so early (it was only 0930) but they did have one!!!! They upgraded us to a water view room which was very nice and we also get discounts and free daily breakfast. The room is very nice. Nowhere near as big as the junior suite we had in Surfer’s Paradise, but more than spacious enough with lovely views over the water.
Lucy arrived at about 10am. So lovely to see her. She was starving so we grabbed our cameras and headed off for some breakfast/brunch. We had been recommended to try a place on the quayside about five minutes walk from the hotel called, Seventeen. It was really good. Very unusual, healthy choice items and of course, great coffee. That filled a gap – I had turmeric spiced porridge with all manner of good things added to it.
We then got a Uber to Paddy’s Markets at the Haymarket. It’s a very large indoor market in Chinatown. Hundreds of stalls. Mostly terrible tat and fake goods, but there is the odd gem amongst them. We were looking out for a replacement cabin suitcase – one of ours has bitten the dust, and we can definitely get one there. Had a good fuddle around. We walked through Chinatown and down to Darling Harbour.
Darling Harbour is an undoubtedly touristy but very attractive area. We noticed the Chinese Friendship Garden and went to have a look around there. It was a lovely serene space, beautifully landscaped. In the next space there was a Thai food and culture festival with dancers and musicians and lots of food outlets. We walked through there and onto the harbour proper where we found a waterside table for some drinks. It was really hot by now.
Got the train from Darling Harbour to the Seafood Market. It was about 4 stops. The Seafood Market is an amazing place. A huge wholesale auction market, surrounded by a retail market where you can either by seafood to take away or eat it in situ in restaurant/picnic areas. We had a good mooch around – honestly, it all looked amazing. There were some of the hugest crabs I’ve ever seen – frightening size. I wouldn’t like to meet one. We opted for a dozen Pacific oysters, and a dozen Rock Oysters, plus 6 massive scallops topped by melted cheese sauce. Then, we felt greedy still and went back for 6 more oysters. This time topped with pureed sea urchin and various forms of lumpfish caviar. They were really yum. It was lovely sitting beside the water there, watching the various seabird lurking hopefully for some food. No chance!
It was about 3 by now and we were a bit tired, so we took a Uber back to our hotel and rested for a few hours. We’d been up early and Lu is still very jetlagged from her long flight. Not only 24 hours travel but overnight, so a missed night’s sleep as well as an 11 hour time difference. We watched the sun set over the water from our window and all the boats out taking people on sunset viewing cruises.
Went out again at about 730 and walked up and over the Rocks hill to an old inn called Philip’s Foote. There is a restaurant in the rear courtyard garden and it is quite novel. You choose your meat or fish in a butcher’s shop to the rear and then cook it on the bbq’s provided. They also supply a whole range of hot and cold vegetable and salad accompaniments. Lucy and I both had T Bone steaks which were fantastic – so tender – and Bob opted for roast pork with crackling. A very nice dinner on a warm night under the stars.
After dinner we walked around the Rocks which is both a very old and a very lively, jumping area. Lots of restaurants, bars and clubs. Eventually we found ourselves down on Circular Quay and we walked around that as far as the Opera House. Lovely views all around including the famous bridge. Lucy was really flagging by now so we put her in a Uber back to her flat, and then Bob and I walked back over the hill to the hotel.
A great first day and we look forward to spending tomorrow with her before she and her friends head off on their own amazing trip, starting in the Whitsunday Islands.