Flying home today!

It’s Jan 26 and we fly home today! Sydney-Vancouver-Toronto. 16 hour time difference and magically we arrive on the same day we depart.

The last two days of the trip have been lovely in Sydney. In our first 3 days here at the beginning of the trip, we really felt we got a feel for theî city, and so these past days we were able to hit some of the places we missed the first time. When we arrived at our hotel, George swore he could hear singing and by golly he was right. As part of the Sydney Festival there was an outdoor opera being performed ajt the Botanical Gardens which is directly beside our hotel. How fabulous of them to serenade us upon our arrival. We spent a good part of yesterday walking through the extensive gardens and marvelling at all the colours and tropical plants. We headed over to the Queen Victoria imagebuilding walking through Hyde Park which is the main setting for the Sydney Festival full of all kinds of street performers. The Queen Victoria Building itself is a grand structure now filled with 4 floors of shopping arcades ojf the type you would see in London. An absolutely beautiful building built in 1898 with gorgeous glass, domed ceiling, etc.

Last night was our second night in the iconic Sydney Opera House as we attended an Opera’s Biggest Hits concert with a hilarious host/pianist who accompanied our 4 soloists and took us on a humourous guide to the opera, giving explanations of all the operas we were listening to. Opera for dummies! Followed by our last evening having dinner at an outdoor restaurant at the Harbour. One last time to enjoy the sunset in the warmth of Sydney.

I wish I could think of something pithy to summarize our experiences on the cruise and touring Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns. The whole trip was full of magical, pinch me moments, from flying in over Sydney Harbour and seeing the bridge for the first time (no we didn’t climb it) to the gorgeous mountain tops and fiords of NZ. We hand fed kangaroos and wallabys, laughed at the snarling, OCD Tasmanian devils as they raced around their enclosures, and thundered through mountain gorges on power boats. The bubbling hot pools and geysers of Rotorua were amazing to behold (not so pleasant smelling, though come to think of it the adorable baby koala we got to hold was a little unpleasant smelling as well). Our Barrier Reef and Rainforest trips in the northeast corner of the country were both experiences we will never forget. Worth the trip to the rather hot and humid city of Cairns, the gem of North Queensland.

We can’t believe we were fortunate enough to make this trip. It was very memorable in terms of the wonderful people we met and the amazing places we visited. We will be visiting Cape Cod on July 4 to reunite with two lovely couples we met on the cruise.

Today will be a very long travel day (violins please). Lots of time to bundle up for our late night arrival in the Great White North. Looking forward to seeing family (especially my 96 year-old mum, whom I left hanging by a thread 1 month ago, but she soldiers
on) and friends. See you soon!

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