Being a tourist in Sydney!

We have been home three weeks now and it has been oh so busy! We have had a stream of visitors and one of the best things about having visitors is that you get to be a tourist in your own city, the bad thing is you stay up too late and (sometimes!) drink too much wine. The highlights include sailing in Sydney harbour and seeing dolphins frolicking in front of the Opera House, it was the first time dolphins had been seen in the harbour for one hundred years I had heard on the radio the day before but never imagined that we would see them, it made our day extra special; a wonderful breakfast at the Coogee Bay Pavilion (I would recommend their frittata) on a glorious winter day, brisk air, with a deep blue cloudless sky, the sun beating down, perfect for the walk to Bondi Beach, followed by gelato from Messina, so hard to choose as the choice of flavours is fantastic; a tour of the Opera House which was so interesting, of the million plus tiles on the roof only 32 have been replaced in the last forty years and the organ in the Concert Hall has over two thousands pipes our tour guide told us just after she had burst into song to illustrate the acoustics! She was pleased to see us again (you’re back!) as she showed us to our seats at the National Geographic Live talk by Steve Winter, My Nine Lives, in which he talked about his passion for big cats and his adventures photographing them, about the destruction of their habitat, particularly about palm oil plantations – his take home message, choose products carefully and don’t eat anything with palm oil in it, where the palm oil source is not ratified.

I’ve been to the Archibald at the Art Gallery of NSW, an eclectic collection of portraits of prominent Australians and it is fascinating to read why the artist picked their subject and then to see how they choose to portray them, sometimes in a less than flattering way. A lovely lunch with a dear friend at Chiswick at the Art Gallery prior made for a perfect outing. We have been out to dinner at Tetsuya’s – always special, not that I have eaten there often! Mantecato in Balmain for beautiful risotto, beetroot was my choice – scrumptious!, and to our local, Capello, the thinnest most delicious pizzas, and Mexican too, laughing with girlfriends all evening! Simon went back to De Porres house to help cook, eat dinner and enjoy playing Uno with his fellow volunteers, who he first met whilst doing his service for his Duke of Edinburgh award, and the homeless people who drop in for dinner and those who stay there. Simon’s tennis, golf and yoga all continue to improve and he has booked himself an extra long golf lesson next week so he can play 9 holes with Ken, his coach!

Simon had a great birthday celebration with Hanja and Guy hosting a lunch for him and his friends from Riverview, and us too- it was so good to catch up with everyone and hear what the boys (young men now!) have been up to. And yesterday we had a lovely relaxed breakfast sitting in Camperdown Park, under the huge Morton Bay Fig trees, with Emma and her friends to celebrate her birthday, with food and coffees coming from a café across the road, The Store, such a beautiful, peaceful spot in the midst of the city. Friends came and went, we came and went, they played the guitar and the violin and brought beautiful gifts, happy times.

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