fortieth birthday sydney trip - day five

it's not like they had to really write it in the sky...the manly phoenix
Five days ends up feeling a little bit like a long time for a holiday, especially if you're walking everywhere every day and you don't really have any concrete plans in place beyond a couple of things. At least it does for me. And usually we would have already been home by the time I'm typing this, but there wasn't a flight at the right time in the morning, and then we were booked to leave at 1:30pm but Qantas in its infinite wisdom decided to cancel that plane and book us on one that didn't leave until 3pm.

Which actually ended up being a fairly okay thing.

I totally crashed out early last night... I think I gave up not too long after 9:15 which is essentially unheard off for me unless I'm sick. But a lot of early mornings and late nights and a hell of a lot of walking around had done me in, so I just crawled into bed and called it a night.

after the surfbig green curl
That also meant that I woke up at around 5:30 or so, but at least I had a chance to generally lie in and not have to rush into the day, so that was nice.

We hadn't come up with anything resembling a plan last night, not even where we were going for breakfast... only that we needed to check out of the hotel before 10am and be on the train to the airport by 2pm at the absolute latest.

Given the fact that we've done the fancy breakfast thing every morning to some degree or other, when I rolled into Ma's room just before 7:30 I suggested that we just go down the street to McDonalds, grab something cheap and cheerful and go and eat by the harbour. Yes, there were a billion and a half other places that we could have stopped off and grabbed something, but I was semi-craving a Sausage and Egg McMuffin... plus it's what we did on the last morning of our last trip.

you imagine what you desirecircle tattoo
The only thing we shouldn't have done was gotten coffee there... especially given the general quality of the coffee we've had this trip, McDonalds coffee just doesn't make the grade.

However given that our view while eating our breakfast was the sun-drenched Harbour right in front of the MCA, with the sun sparkling on the water, the Opera House in the background and the general hustle and bustle of Sydney on a Monday morning, who cares if the coffee was crap. Not I!

After breakfast we wandered along in front of the Overseas Passenger Terminal so that I could take some photos of the Opera House (oh, and we found another rhino which wasn't there all weekend, bringing the total of rhinos found to nine for the whole trip)... unfortunately the photos didn't turn out anywhere near as well as the one I snapped on my iPhone... but there were some interesting shots.

standing tallsunrise over the opera house
As we wandered back towards Circular Quay we brainstormed ideas of what the hell to do with the rest of our day... and one idea was to take a ferry out to Manly and unofficially test my theory from yesterday that Manly is better than Bondi. We'd already floated the idea of taking a trip on the Fast Ferry to Manly on our next trip, but I figured that it would be more expensive than the regular ferry since you know, faster equals more expensive. But it's actually cheaper... so why the hell wouldn't people take the faster option (maybe because it's not part of the official transport network and doesn't work with existing tickets).

And it was only about 8:40, so we had plenty of time to head out to Manly, have a wander and some lunch and be back in time to head to the airport. So we went back to the hotel to check out and stick our bags in storage, and then wandered back to Circular Quay to buy tickets. Unfortunately, we'd missed the 9:20 ferry, so we had to wait for the 10:10 one.

The only downside that I can see to the Fast Ferry is that you can't sit outside at the front of the boat, which is always my favourite spot to be... but that's okay, we sat outside at the back, facing backwards and just pretended that we were experiencing the trip in reverse.

fast ferry wakegoofy footed
It was a perfect day for it... warm, but not overly hot and not a cloud in the sky!

I did notice that my camera was down to one bar of battery while we were on the ferry though, so I knew it probably wouldn't last the whole trip to Manly. But it's done pretty well... four and a half days and I never had to recharge it.

When we got to Manly, we headed up The Corso to the beach.

he went a bit slap happy with the sunscreengull walker
We didn't go all that far... just wandered down the beach front for a while and then Ma found a spot to sit in the shade while I photographer the surfers... and any other attractive gentlemen that happened to be within focal range.

Because Ma was safely ensconced, I actually went down on the sand to see if I could get better or at least some different shots. Plus it's the first time that I've actually set foot on sand during all our trips to Sydney, so that was something different. I also managed to take a shot of Spaceman Syd on the beach... the poor boy hadn't seen much air in the latter half of the trip...

spaceman syd's travel diary... the last shot is my favourite
It always seems like a good idea to photograph a Lego minifigure in and around the place, but I always feel like it’s better in concept than reality most of the time... especially given the often temperamental tap focus on the iPhone 5s. And the fact that when you're shooting in bright sunlight it’s nearly impossible to see what you're shooting until after you've taken the shot. I have a lot of unused photos of either a totally out of focus minifig or a rogue hand or half a head or something.

hire mepaddling out
I also ended up with a wet butt from sitting on the sand to photograph Syd... I'd tried crouching down but couldn't get low enough to see what I was doing, so resorted to sitting on the sand... which was wetter than I thought it was... hence wet butt.

Eventually I'd had my fill of trying to photograph surfers... which is harder than you'd think (the photographing part, not having my fill of it), so I wandered back to Ma's spot and we strolled back up the beach to the surf club. I don't know if there was a Contiki tour group down at Manly... or a day trip from the young offenders unit maybe, but there seemed to be several large groups of late teenaged boys down at the beach, which was strange given that it was a Monday... but if it was for example an overseas high school tour group, then I feel weird for perving on them.

We headed back to The Corso and got some fish and chips from one of the cafes, took it back down to the beach and found a spot on one of the benches. It actually wasn't too bad... the fish was really nice and while I've had better chips, they were tasty. And thoroughly appropriate to the setting.

beach boy ballbetween the flags
Once we'd finished eating we snagged a spot on one of the benches facing the beach and sat enjoying the view and snapping photos until my camera ran out of juice (which actually didn't take all that long). So that seemed as good a point as any for the Universe to tell us that it was time to go. We meandered back down The Corso and happened to get back to the Fast Ferry jetty just as the boat was approaching Manly. Perfect timing.

When we got on board there were two seagulls on the front section of the boar who looked like they were either looking in the window or admiring their own reflections in the glass... I suddenly had an image of them as two seagull comedians, doing seagull stand-up for all the other gulls. I'm guessing it would mostly be jokes about fish and scabbing scraps from humans though.

Anyway, we enjoyed the ride back to Sydney from the air-conditioned comfort of the inside of the ferry... a very civilised way to travel.

green water breakerssharing a common language
After we docked, we hiked back up the hill to George Street for the last time and collected our bags from the hotel before turning around and wheeling them all the way back down the hill to the train station. Our timing was clearly spot on all afternoon, because we headed up to the platform after buying our tickets and there was already a train in the station... I wasn't sure which train it was until I heard the pleasant voice over lady say "stopping domestic terminal", so we hopped on-board.

In all things timing is important, but never more so than with travelling.

We trundled out of the depths of Moria with little bother, and then Ma was selected for that random drug/explosive swab thing... because, yeah, my mother looks so like an international drug cartel mule/terrorist cell leader. She just thinks it was because she forgot to take her hat off before going through the security gate.

manly blue checksmca tower on blue
Because we hadn't had to wait for a train, we did make it to the airport with about forty minutes to spare, so after a quick detour to Krispy Kreme for a little something sweet, we just sat there tapping away on our respective netbooks, writing our respective recollections of the trip.

The flight back was fine (not counting the old woman sitting next to Ma who couldn't seem to sit still), I finished up one of the podcasts I was listening to on the way over, then couldn’t settle to another one so I switched to music and finished typing up my notes in the most awkward position possible given the available space.

Once we touched down it didn't take too long to get our bags (I saw them rounding one of the turns as we got to the carousel so I pushed my way through the mass of people with a string of "excuse me's") and then wandered out to the long term parking area while it was spitting with rain. Of course it stopped just as we got to the car, but after the humidity of Sydney it was nice to come back to the cool of Adelaide, even with the rain.

gull on the wingblue surfer
And I think taking Ma's car to airport parking is going to have to be a thing now... while I'm not sure it's actually cheaper than taking taxis, it was certainly nicer to be able to just get in Ma's little red car and relax rather than having to deal with a taxi driver once we got home.

Once we got back to Ma's place, I unpacked my suitcase and we went out to grab some dinner so that Ma wasn't trying to drive home in the rush hour traffic.

As usual with Sydney, it's more about the experiences we have than the travel loot... but I did come back with a couple of nice things, especially the Scar lion mask from The Lion King. Oh and I did slip back into Kinokuniya for another Game of Thrones vinyl toy... but got Rob Stark... so gave up at that point.

my fortieth birthday sydney trip travel goodies
It is definitely nice to be home... now all I have to do is edit the 1414 photos I took and catch up the 60 emails and 700 RSS posts...

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