Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Australia Trip (Days 9 & 10) -- End of trip!

Day 9: Monday, January 2
Blue Mountains, Parramatta River Cruise, Featherdale Wildlife Center
I got up early to get in a workout before our 7:30am pick-up by AAT Kings for our small group day-trip to the Blue Mountains. Our guide, Joe, was personable and a great narrator during the entire day. Our first stop was in Leura at Loaves & Dishes café for coffee and snacks (banana bread for Mr. E, raisin toast for me, and long blacks for us both). We had some time to wander around the time, and we happened upon a wonderful store of hand-carved wood creations, resulting in the purchase of another holiday ornament and a fabulous little wombat statue carved out of laurel camphor (I named her Leura, but she won’t appear officially until my birthday!).

Our next stop was at Scenic World, which is an entire complex of boardwalks among the temperate rainforest. To access all of the areas, visitors can utilize two aerial trams and a very steep inclined train. Joe had given us some tips about how to maximize our 90 minutes at the site, especially since we were visiting during the height of the busy season, and by following his advice, Mr. E and I were able to ride each type of transportation and also enjoy some walking through the vegetation. 

Lunch was at The Observation Hut, and my choice of smoked trout hash was quite tasty, but Mr. E’s steak sandwich wasn’t quite so successful. Our final stop of the tour was at Featherdale Wildlife Center in the suburbs of Sydney. We got to have a close-up interaction with a snoozing koala and also saw lots of other sleepy koalas along with lounging kangaroos and some fabulous wombats. Love the wombats!!! I had no idea that their fur could have such beautiful markings.

The last part of our tour took us through Olympic Park to the ferry dock for a Parramatta River cruise back to Sydney. 

We decided to stay on board until the drop-off at Darling Harbor, which gave us an additional 15 minutes on the water compared to disembarking at Circular Quay. We returned for a final evening reception at the hotel and were quite surprised by the crowds in the Exec Lounge, as we’d expected to find fewer folks given that we were at the end of the holiday season.

Day 10: Tuesday, January 3 (twice!)
We enjoyed our final breakfast in the Exec Lounge before packing up and taking the Airport Link train back to the airport. Our 14-hour flight from Sydney to San Francisco was uneventful, and Mr. E and I both watched several movies to pass the time. Thanks to info from my Mom (thanks Mom!), we had downloaded the Mobile Passport app before leaving Australia, so our passage through customs was so fast that we had to wait quite a while for our bags. Unfortunately, our flight from SFO to Sac was delayed by almost an hour due to maintenance issues, so we got home later than expected.

I had gotten a nasty migraine on the long international flight, so Mr. E and I both napped for a couple of hours with the kitties once we got home before we started to deal with laundry, mail, and finances. Due to (thanks to?) the 19-hour time difference, we sort of got to live through two Tuesdays, since we left Sydney at 12:30pm local time on Jan. 3rd and arrived in Sac at 10:30am local time on Jan 3rd. Oof! So weird!!!

Themes from this trip: uncertainty of weather, friendliness of folks whom we met in Sydney, and lots of stuff still to experience next time around (Yarra Valley wine country, Blu Bar, O Bar, Doyle’s seafood restaurant, Maritime Museum, another Bridge Climb, Opera House for NYE).


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