Friday 22 October 2010, 11 pm
Sydney: City of Steps
Ok, it’s official – everywhere in Sydney is uphill (George Street manages to be uphill no matter which end you’re walking from, which is quite an achievement), and most of it involves steps. Lots and lots of very steep steps.
Our first expedition this morning was to Wendy’s Garden, which Wombles had heard about and wanted to find. It’s an unofficial public garden that’s kept as a very private secret by the locals. It’s not owned by the council, but was created from railway wasteland by a local woman who converted the land into an amazing terraced garden, which she still works on (we spotted her there today). To get there we took a ferry across the harbour then walked around the waterfront (we saw jellyfish in the water!) past Luna Park (which we thought about visiting, but it was too early so it wasn’t open yet) to Lavender Bay, where we climbed a huge stairway and eventually found a likely-looking path that led to the garden. A lovely place, but because it’s on a steep hillside, exploring it involved even more steps… and it was rapidly developing into a very hot day. My water bottle was empty long before we started the slog up yet another long staircase to the railway station, where we caught a train back (across the Harbour Bridge!) to the central city.
Mini-Wombles wanted to shop, so after an early lunch (and very cold drinks) that’s what we did. Mostly window shopping at first (the offerings in Cartier and Jimmy Choo’s didn’t appeal ;-)), but we still had a fun time wandering around the malls and seeing the odd sights that a big city takes for granted (two people abseiling down a building attracted a small group of spectators, a cenotaph ceremony (in aid of United Nations Day, apparently) none at all). Eventually we found Paddy’s Market, an enormous indoor market full of unfeasibly cheap souvenirs and clothing. Mini-Wombles found a few items different enough to impress her friends at home, I found a cheap hat (after walking in the sun this morning I decided a hat was a necessity for tomorrow’s release walk!) and Wombles found a bigger bag to carry her books, so we declared our shopping trip a success.
By this time (about 3 pm) our feet were suffering, so we retired to our respective hostels to rest them before we had to meet Awaywithfairies to walk to Servalan’s place. As I was walking through my hostel’s foyer, I noticed a few bookcrossing-labelled books on the table. “Aha!” I thought, “Skyring or Bargainqueen must be here!” But the labels, when I checked, showed the books were registered by a Queensland bookcrosser, who (as far as I know) isn’t coming to the convention. So they must have been here for a while.
I was noting down their BCIDs when I sensed a hug about to land. This time it was Skyring and Bargainqueen. They’d only just arrived, and were eager to explore, so I called Wombles, and she and mini-Wombles met us by the statue of Donna, a dog with an unusually strong bladder, and we wandered down to Chinatown. The street where we’d had dinner last night was filled with a street market, with all the attendant clamour and excitement. I think Bargainqueen was impressed with her introduction to Sydney 🙂
(Too tired to continue this now, so I’ll try and finish it over breakfast.)
Friday 22 October 2010, 11 pm