Sydney is beautiful, but a bit damp. It was sunny the first few days while the wet weather that has been following me merrily around the globe made a pre-emptive strike on Perth, but it started raining yesterday, and doesn't look like it has any plans to stop.
The city is spectacular. The opera house really is all you imagined, and the harbour bridge is even more. I was too cheap to pay for the bridge climb, but had a great time at the bridge museum and lookout. I'm staying with Amy and John at their place in Balmain, a charming suburb about 10 min by ferry from the city.
I spent the first couple of days here wandering around downtown, mostly in the botanic garden, fascinated by the (24,000!) bats, the cockatoos, and the joggers. People here are serious about staying in shape, almost on a par with pre-Carnival Trinidad. It's definitely a nice place to go for a run since there's waterfront just about everywhere. At least, I imagine it would be. I just sat on the grass, enjoying my ice cream.
On Saturday afternoon, Amy, John and I went kayaking in the middle harbour, which was a lot of fun. We didn't see much wildlife - though we could hear kookaburras everywhere - just lots of yachts and some pretty impressive houses in the woods. Then we walked along the water with some fabulous evening views to a town called Manly for a picnic on the wharf.
I also went to the Blue Mountains, a couple of hours away, to get a taste of the interior. That's when it started to rain. The views were still fantastic, maybe even more so with the mist clinging to the valley. The rain probably kept some of the tourists away, too. I was pretty wet, though.
Next stop: Melbourne. My original plans to take the train from Sydney to Perth have been foiled, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to see a bit further south. The Great Ocean Road awaits.
Picture: I have several dozen of the opera house/harbour bridge, but I thought this one was a little more interesting.