SYDNEY \ BLUE MOUNTAINS - Saturday 30th December - Tuesday 9th January (Days 64-74)
NEW YEARS EVE - WEDDING DAY
After the one hour flight from Melbourne to Sydney Gill and I set off to see our Celebrant Wendy Bull to finalise some details of our wedding the next day.
I woke up early on the morning of our wedding to hear a knocking at the apartment door we were sharing for 7 nights with Jim and Karl, to find Jim at the front door wearing only his briefs and t-shirt. It appeared that sometime during the night he had been attempting to find the bathroom and found himself on the fire escape not knowing quite how he had got there or what our apartment number was! He guessed correctly which one it was and had been knocking on and off between kips on the floor for a number of hours!! Looking worse for wear he jumped back into bed for the 20 minutes before we had to leave for the wedding.
We all took a taxi at 8am to Kirribilli to find a number of people in the park next to the harbour already in situ for the evenings fireworks, which we had been warned about by our celebrant Wendy. The rain from the previous evening stayed away and the sun shone. The attendees were Wendy the Celebrant, her husband Philip (the first backup witness), Steve the photographer (the second backup witness), Jim & Karl the offical witnesses, and Gill and myself. The location was perfect with the Opera House and harbour bridge providing a great backdrop for the wedding to begin at 9am. Wendy did point out that this would be the quickest wedding she had done due to our minimalmist approach in choosing our wedding vows, and so it proved. Within a few brief minutes with a ring and a kiss we were married!!!
Steve the photographer then took Gill and I off for more photos then we all made our way to a nearby cafe for a wedding breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee courtesy of Wendy! We finished it off with a stroll back over the harbour bridge. We both thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Unfortunately we have no photos yet as they weren't ready before we left Sydney so we are having them posted to us in the UK. You'll all just have to wait!
It wasn't until later in the afternoon that we received confirmation that my cousin Paul had come up trumps on the evenings entertainment. Fortunately he had been invited to watch the Sydney New Years Eve fireworks at a party at an old friends pad and had been working through the day to ensure that Jim, Karl, Gill and myself could all get an invite. We had been assured that this was THE fireworks party to get an invite to in Sydney, possibly THE party in the whole of Australia!! (surely he was exaggerating?). We arrived at the event to discover that the apartment was a $4 million pad on Point Piper with absolutely the best views possible of all the fireworks in Sydney!!!!!! The whole evening was amazing, the fireworks didn't disappoint-see photos. A great way to end our wedding day!!
NEW YEARS DAY
Getting up late we all headed for a spectacular 2/3 hour stroll, in lovely sunshine, from Coogee Beach along the coastal path to the famous Bondi beach.
On the 2nd Jim, Karl and myself made our way to watch the first day of the 5th Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), England batting again first and making a better fist of it than the first day at the MCG. Fortunately we didn't have tickets for the second and third days to watch England throw away a good start and let the Aussies back into the match, Warne this time with the bat making the difference. We did though all have tickets for day 4, and with Flintoff and Pieterson at the crease I headed off to the ground with some anticipation on my own. Karl and Jim had again been sinking beers at their Sydney pub of choice, the Admiral Nelson in the Rocks. As a result they got up a bit late and in the process saved themselves a walk to the ground because before they managed to leave the apartment England had managed to completely collapse!! (Unfortunately for Karl drinking also cost him his day trip to the Blue Mountains which he missed as he didn't hear his alarm!).
During the rest of the week we all managed to hit many other touristy spots (boy oh boy did we do alot in our 7 days in Sydney!!!) like a ferry trip to Manly, and the Sydney Aquarium. Gill and I also managed to see my other relatives for a drink at the Opera bar; Kathy, Peter, Michael, Paul and Taline.
On Saturday it was time for our sad farewells to our holiday companions/wedding witnesses of the previous two weeks, Jim and Karl. Karl jetted off on his marathon flight(s) to the east coast of the USA, Jim set off for a couple of nights in Manly before heading home via Hong Kong, and Gill and myself set off for a two night stay in the Blue Mountains. We booked a lovely B&B, think white picket fences, flowers, and four poster bed, in Katoomba. We set off for a spectacular bush walk in the Blue Mountains on the Sunday morning. I think I forgot to mention to Gill that she would have to descend 800 steps and ascend 1000 steps during the 4 hour walk. At the end of it I had to practically carry her back to the B&B! (Her knee joints are still playing up-Jan 13th)
We returned to Sydney on Monday 8th January for our last 2 nights in Oz. We spent most of the time packing up all Gill's holiday purchases (all 17 kilos worth!) and send them back by sea mail to the UK! This considerably lightened our load for our trip around New Zealand. We visited my relative Kathy for a BBQ on our last evening. We were both very sad to be leaving Oz after an amazing two and a half months. Our highlights? For me (other than the wedding of course!); the trip around Kakadu; sailing around the Whitsundays; ALL of the stunning Tasmania; and watching the New Years Eve fireworks in Sydney. For Gill - too many to mention!!