Such Happiness In Thought Happens

March 30, 2008

Long weekend in Sydney

Filed under: Home Stuff — Duane @ 9:10 pm

A few weeks ago Agnes and I had a discussion about what to do for my birthday and whether we wanted to go away for it. At the time that wasn’t possible bar the two days of the weekend. Then a class in Emerald was cancelled and suddenly 4 days was possible. So I thought to surprise Agnes and see if she was able to have the Thursday/Friday off as well. And that is how we got to be in Sydney this weekend. Flights were not expensive as I used some Frequent Flyer Points, just had to pay for taxes. Instead of a hotel, we are staying at a self-contained apartment that caters for business travellers, that is in Darlinghurst and we are not far from an inner city train station.

Rain in Brisbane, wadda know? Because of the rain we left early to make sure we avoided the dickheads that usually come out of the woodwork when we get rain. Flight was a bit elayed for no reason that we knew. No dramas with the flight, get into Sydney ok, and then to catch a train to the city. We were advised by the train lady that we should get a TravelPass so that we could use the one set of tickets for all modes of public transport (train, bus and ferry) over our weekend. So that was easily arranged. No dramas with the train either, the only problem we had was when we arrived at Museum station – stairs, and lots of them, and no escalators or lifts to be found. The one bag we took was not too heavy so this was not really an option.

Found the place we were staying alright, but the combination I was given didn’t seem to work. That’s right there was no key for the place – just a keypad system to enter the place. Eventually I found out that I had the wrong code, I had transposed two of the numbers. We were staying in a Sydney “tennant house” ( I think that is what they are called) – main door upstairs, but another section of the house under. We were staying in the section underneath. Nice place – bedroom immediately to the left as you came in, next the bathroom, and then the open-planned living area – lounge and kitchen. There were patio doors to an outside patio, which I of course had problems opening.

After settling in, we ventured out to find a supermarket for some basics – bread, butter, drinks, etc. That was the only drawback to where we were staying – no minbar, water or any refreshments. So we walked back up Liverpool St and on the way stopped at a little cafe. Friendly staff, gave us a map of inner city Sydney and another patron advised us to go to Taronga Zoo and this was backed up by the barista. We found the IGA and picked up the supplies we wanted. Later we had dinner at Tre Scalini, a little Italian place up the street. It wasn’y bad, quite wholesome, but that was it – nothing overly exciting in flavours. We then settled in the for evening and made plans for the next day.

Up relatively early, breakfasted and walking to the train station by 8am, we headed to Circular Quay to catch the ferry over to Taronga Zoo. That was to be our first port of call for the day, and depending upon how the day went maybe our only port of call. Ferry trip took roughly 15 minutes and we had our first close up glimpse of the Opera House. As Agnes put it – “Smaller in person than what I expected”. Thankfully there was a bus we could take up to the top to the entrance. We had assumed that if we got there when it opened there would not be many people there. We hadn’t taken into account tours. There was at least three school groups, as well as two Asian tour groups. Apparently it was common for Friday to be busy with tours. So while we got off to a start with the groups, soon we were on our own and occassionally with others as we wandered around the zoo. No fixed plan, just see what we felt like.

The main thing I thought about the zoo was that there must have been a sign I missed that said “Don’t kill any spiders!” Everywhere you looked there were Orb and Garden spiders and their webs everywhere. At one point webs spanned one side of the path to the other above our heads. I thought it was amazing no boys had taken a stick to them. The place was green and the animals were interesting – a saw a lot more animals that I did not know the name of than I anticipated. I found out on Sunday that we saw a rare treat. One of our last animal stops for the day was past an animal called a Binturong – something like a cross between a bear and a cat. What was special was the young cubs had only ventured out this week, and we saw them on Friday.

We finished up at the zoo around 2ish and headed back to Sydney. I thought Agnes was holding up ok, considering all the walking and the grief her hips and been giving her. We had not had lunch by this point, only a snack earlier in the day. So we had lunch at a 24 hour place opposite the ferries. Stayed there for a bit and then planned our next move. I had heard of a game store and book store on the one street and wanted to go check em out. Agnes was game, so we caught a train to the next station and walked down York St. By the end of our visits Agnes was exhausted. She hadn’t told me that she wouldn’t have minded skipping the stores and going back to the room. But she indulged me and paid the price for it. We tried getting a taxi (I know we wouldn’t have had much luck, but we tried anyway), but had to resort to a train. After getting back, Agnes crashed in bed and slept for a bit. Got some fast food from Oxford St as Agnes was not in the mood for walking anywhere.

We slept in late this morning, but Agnes did not have much sleep the night before. Apparently Darlinghurst is a bit of a nightspot, and our bedroom was on one of the streets that people like to walk down. She did rest, and we left after 10 to grab some breakfast at the cafe we had a look at Thursday arvo. Refreshed with food in our belly, we walked to Pitt St (only 3 sets of lights from Oxford/Liverpool St) and went to another game store we were told about. Purchased a few things there, and then headed back to the bookstore from the day before. We did this deliberately as Agnes had not had a chance to look around the day before, I had to return a book due to some cut pages, and there was this gorgeous building we wanted to check out – the Queen Victoria Building. If you ever get the chance you have to check out this building. We walked past it on Friday and wanted to check it out, so that is what we did. I believe Agnes will be posting some pics from inside the building that she took. Unfortunately as we left by the underground train, we didn’t get a chance to take pics of the outside.

The Queen Victoria Building is huge – something like 7 levels, and extremely long. It dates back to 1898, and saw renovations in 1986. We had lunch there, and then wandered the levels checking out the scenery. Even the entrances to the toilets were something to see. I was envious at first of the Ladies toilet. A mask in the glass wall, and sliding doors. Little did I know that the Mens also had a sliding door. We didn’t get to check out the Tea Room on the top floor, but that is definitely on the cards for next time.
Ladies take note – There is a Handbag display for the month of April – “Handbags through the Ages”. One handbag we saw in one store was shaped like a train. While we windowed shopped, we did not intend to purchase anything due to the cost.

We were not sure what to do next. It was getting on about 2/3 by this time, so we headed back to Circular Quay to see what we felt like doing. Agnes was in better shape than yesterday as we had been taking it easy. In the end we decided to take the ferry around to Darling Harbour and see what we felt like there. What we felt like ended up being the Aquarium. At first I was not impressed by what I saw, I thought Underwater World on the Sunshine Coast was better. But after awhile, I realised there was something to the way it was laid out. Unfortunately yet again there were a lot of tourists also around. We didn’t take any real photos as they were through glass. I did feel sorry for the one saltwater croc they had on display – not a lot of room for it.

After this, back on the ferry to Circular Quay, and then a train back home. Was quite a nice day in all, we saw a fair bit more of Sydney city and some of the sights. We had dinner in this evening as we didnt feel like eating out. During Earth Hour we watched TV, as we couldn’t read with the lights out.

Last day of our holidays. As the flight was at noon, there wasn’t really time to do anything, especially as Agnes slept late. So cleaned up, caught the train to the airport. Nothing special at the airport or on the flight, it was roughly on time. Then home to do some housework and get ready for work tomorrow.

We had a good time in Sydney – we had a chance to relax, chat and indulge each other, something we have not had much chance to do in the last six months. We decided that even after the bubs are born we need to take time to talk, get away and have some time to ourselves, something we can do as I know my parents wouldn’t mind looking after the twins once in awhile so we have a day to ourselves. I didn’t really get a time to sit down and think about things as we were too busy, or I was catching up on reading new Forgotten Realms novels I picked up. But the thinking I did do made me realise that as long as Agnes and I communicate we will survive anything. We have been together for nearly nine years now; doesn’t sound a lot compared to other couples, but then again it seems to be a long time compared to some we know; and accomplished a lot in that time. Now we are getting ready for our next part of the journey – children, something we are both terrified about, and optimistic at the same time.

And tomorrow is my birthday! Happy 33 to me!


  1. Happy (belated) Birthday, Duane! I’ve no idea why I can never remember exactly when your birthday is, but I thought it was about now. 🙂 Sounds like you had a pretty good time! Hope we can catch up soon…

    Comment by Lara — March 31, 2008 @ 7:55 am

  2. Bah, it’s not quite belated yet! 😀
    I thought it was yesterday…

    Comment by Lara — March 31, 2008 @ 7:56 am

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