Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Arrival in Sydney

Somehow we managed to get up before sunrise today, which was no small feat. We heard that we would be passing through “the heads” into Sydney Harbour about that time. I threw on some clothes and ran up to the upper deck where I was able to catch the gorgeous sunrise. It was such an intense orange; it looked more like a sunset to me. 
The sun was behind the ship, so it was time to head up to the Observation Deck at the front so I could take photos of the approach into Sydney. As the sun rose in the sky it shone on the skyscrapers and was such a beautiful sight. 
The usual pilot escorted us, but also a water canon boat was up at front. The Silver Spirit is just over a year old and this is the very first time she has been to Sydney, so the local media was present, they had helicopters flying over, etc. It was quite the experience. It wasn’t long before the Harbour Bridge and Opera House came into view. 
It was one of the most memorable moments from the trip. I can’t imagine flying into Sydney and missing this type of approach. It’s hard to describe what it felt like to us both. As we came closer I went back to the suite since we had a perfect view right from our room. We made our way under the bridge and on to Darling Harbour where we would dock. On the approach we could see a mass of young girls who were singing "I am Australian" and I have attached a brief clip below:

Once we were docked we knew we had to get things in high gear before disembarking at 10. It’s hard to believe where the time has gone. We had one last breakfast up in Terrazza and had to say many more goodbyes to the staff and other guests. It’s almost like having to say goodbye to family – yes, I know this sounds strange after just one month. We had to wait until our allocated time, so I was able to burn the rest of my internet minutes by talking via Skype to Hunter. That made my day! Our tags were called last and it was the “final final” call for disembarkation. We found our luggage, breezed through customs, and got the car to the hotel. We arrived by 10:30 and were in our suite by 11:00. We have an incredible view of the harbour, though a little too nice as I don’t think we even feel the need to leave since we can see so much from here. 
We are directly behind the Opera House on the Quay and across from The Rocks. After making a few more phone calls (real internet!!) it was time to head out for lunch. We have so many options right at our doorstep, so we opted to go to the Oyster Bar just down the Quay. The weather here, as I have mentioned before, is the craziest I have ever seen. This morning was warm and windy, and then we had solid clouds and very cool, then the sun would come out and burn you and by tonight it was very cool and windy again. Geesh. At lunch we enjoyed the local oysters, a whole bunch of “chips” aka fries, and we tried some local beer. 
Mom had the Pig Fly Pale Ale and it was so good. I tried one from Tasmania that was also enjoyable, but much lighter in taste. On our way back to the hotel we detours to GuyLian which is a gourmet Belgian chocolate café that has desserts that are to die for, or so we’ve heard. We bought a few to take away as well as some muffins for breakfast tomorrow. Since we have this beautiful suite complete with kitchen I decided to head up to the IGA to get some groceries. We’ve stocked up on some fruit, yogurt, juice, cheese, crackers and of course some Tim Tams (no, I still haven’t tried them yet). This was great because we had a light snack along with our cocktail hour about 5 PM. We’re having to wean ourselves off of our ship routine! We have enjoyed watching all of the ferries go in and out of the docks here and the best part is that we have a balcony with table and chairs where we can go to enjoy the view. We had dinner reservations at 8, however, Mom is still really not over this cold and considering the weather and wind, we just stayed in. We are both pretty tired after an early start and a long day. Dinner consisted of a meatball sub from Subway – and I’m not ashamed to say that we really enjoyed it! After dinner we found NCIS on the TV and were so happy to see a US show. It’s been well over a month since we’ve watched anything of that nature. Now we are just looking out at the bridge and ferries and thinking how fortunate we are to be here. 

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