Posted by: asprockett | September 20, 2013

Cousins Down Under

We have been extremely lucky to have so many guests make the trip to Australia. Since my husband left for the United States in early September to start his PhD at Stanford, my latest visitors came at just the right time. Here are a few highlights from their visit to Sydney:

First of many trips to Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House.

First of many trips to Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House.

We started the day with a ferry ride into Circular Quay and a tour around the harbour and Sydney Opera House, followed by lunch at Mrs. Macquarie’s chair in the Royal Botanical Garden.

Circular Quay and views from Mrs. Macquarie's chair.

Double Bay, Sydney Ferry and Circular Quay views.

We then headed to the University of Sydney for a quick tour. They checked out the Law School while I went to class. We finished the day with Aussie-style sausages and traditional lamington for dessert.

The next day was a perfect beach day, minus a bit of the wind. I’m still finding sand in my bag/notes/book/anything I may (or may not) have taken to Bondi Beach on our second day. We enjoyed time on the beach and my bold guests even braved the chilly ocean water. For lunch we stopped at one of my favorite locations: Moo Burgers where Carl got to try kangaroo. We then walked from Bondi Beach to nearly Bronte Beach and back after lunch. Also, please take note of the matching cousin shirts!

Bondi Beach, Bondi to Bronte cliff walk and burgers at Moo Burgers.

Bondi Beach, Bondi to Bronte coastal walk and burgers at Moo Burgers.

Thanks to Karen and Carl’s excellent trip planning, we attended South Pacific at the Opera House that evening. It was, as expected, an incredible show. I watched South Pacific as a movie and remember very distinctly thinking, “This would be much better on stage.” And oh my. It was! What an experience!

Enjoying South Pacific at the Sydney Opera House.

Enjoying South Pacific at the Sydney Opera House.

Wednesday is an all-day class day for me, so Karen and Carl explored the city (and a local coffee house) before heading off on an overnight trip to the Blue Mountains in Katoomba.

Absolutely gorgeous views of the Blue Mountains.

Absolutely gorgeous views of the Blue Mountains.

On Thursday afternoon we toured Darling Harbour and ate Indian food at Zaaffran. The left-overs have now made it through an additional 4 meals. Even though we didn’t try the “World’s Smallest Dessert,” the choice was a spicy and delicious success.

Now, we thought Tuesday at Bondi Beach was windy, but cool is down a few degrees and whip up the wind about 20 km/hr and that’s Thursday. We walked across the Darling Harbour bridge (which will now forever be known as the Ice Bridge in my mind) to Strike Bar for a foosball table! Carl has pictures all over the world playing foosball, so we had to add a shot in the Southern Hemisphere to the list. Although Karen and I were, admittedly, weak opponents, we did manage to score a few goals. I won’t, however, mention how many of these goals we scored against ourselves and not against Carl.

Foosball Sydney-style!

Foosball Sydney-style!

We spent Friday trinket shopping and enjoying Newtown, including lunch at one of my favorites: Newtown Thai II. (Thanks, brother, for finding these excellent lunch specials in Newtown!) We made an afternoon stop at the Courthouse Hotel where Carl worked some of his lawyerly magic to get us free drinks.

Around the world people just know: "This is a guy I want to buy free drinks for!"

Around the world people just know: “This is a guy I want to buy free drinks for!”

That evening, we made a trip out to a Sydney suburb to visit Karen’s good friend from high school, Cathy. I’m still amazed at how calm and put together Cathy and her family were, considering they were hosting us on Cathy’s due date for her third child.

Karen and our gracious host, Cathy.

Karen and our gracious host, Cathy.

On Saturday morning we visited The Rocks Market, another of my favorite activities in the city.

The weekend market at The Rocks.

The weekend market at The Rocks.

Proof that we were still celebrating my birthday...or at least I was...!

Proof that we were still celebrating my birthday…or at least I was…!

We then took the ferry (we were all about maximizing the ferry usage!) to the Sydney Fish Market for fish and chips…and to gawk at some extremely large pelicans that hang out down there.

Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont.

Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont.

That evening we traveled out to Sydney Olympic Park (my first trip out there!) to attend a Semi-Final match for Australian Rules Football: Carlton Blues versus Sydney Swans. (Can you guess which team Carl was cheering for?)

Now, to be honest, I’ve leaned toward either rugby union or rugby league (still can’t tell the difference) since we got here. But, after going to this game, I totally see why AFL is so much fun! It’s a fast-paced, high-impact game that is basically a combination of American football, soccer, rugby, volleyball, hockey, basketball and a little bit of ultimate frisbee.

Australian Rules Football game at ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park.

Australian Rules Football game at ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park.

Thank you for coming to Australia to visit!

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