Proof we were in Sydney: Lance and Blair in front of the Opera House. A young woman was kind enough to photograph us here; I stood on the ledge above Sydney Harbour and leaped. Lance wasn't quite so free-spirited, though I'm sure the photo might've been better had a gust of wind blown me back into the water. . .
Wednesday, April 22: So, folks back home are asking, you go to Australia and spend two weeks looking at trains and visiting dispatching offices.
Really? How about the tourist shit that you're supposed to do when you travel to the other side of the world?
Okay, here it is. But this is all that there is, so you damn well better enjoy it:
My sister Julie, the world traveler, insisted that I ante up the $189 and climb across the top of the landmark Sydney Harbour Bridge. But: you aren't allowed to bring a camera with you, because you might drop it on a motorist below (and besides, that way they can sell you a photo as well). Not being the type to splurge on such experiences (and being cheap to boot), I stayed on the ground and let other celebrities like Miss Universe, Keith Urban and the Guy from Harry Potter have my place in line. The view IS spectacular, though. . .
So, instead of climbing the bridge, Lance took me to the Lord Nelson Brewery and Hotel in the Rocks district of Sydney, north of the Harbour bridge. The place claims to be the oldest continually licensed hotel in town, dating from 1831, and has some acclaim for its microbrews.
About a block away is this view of Darling Harbour, which 20 years ago was Sydney's main waterfront docks and rail-yard area. Now it's filled with pricey condos and tourist attractions. Too bad the rail yards aren't still there. . .
Anyways, we beat the lunch rush, since they didn't serve before 1115. The Lord Nelson looks like what you'd imagine a Pub should look like, all dark, comforting, polished wood, etc. ..
Lance and his wife Emily visited the Nelson a couple years earlier after seeing it featured on a cable TV food show, highlighting its pub specialty, a blob of mashed potatoes topped with a meat pie and gravy and capped with a scoop of "mushy peas." Well, okay. I like all those elements individually, so armed with a beer to wash it down, I face the specialty of the house. . .
. . which was actually quite tasty. The pie was nice and flakey, and peas had just the right texture. Here's the "bon appetit' photo shoot portrait of the concoction. . .
After that, it was time to walk it off, with a three-mile stroll under the bridge, past Circular Quay, out to the Opera House, and back to the car. Here's the sail-like sections of the Opera House roof. Constructed in 1973, it has been named a "World Heritage Site" by the United Nations as one of the world's most recognizable stuctures.
By now, it was getting on to 130pm, and we had an appointment with Bob Stack at Sydney Central at 2pm, so we had to get movin. . .