A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

End of the Road

Canberra and Sydney and Home


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Australia has long roads, little traffic and terrible drivers. Cruising the tank up the Hume Highway to Canberra we experienced all three. Quiet at the best of times, Australia's purpose-built capital was deserted for the Christmas break.
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On New Year's Eve we headed up to Sydney where we were staying with yet another of Mum's cousins, Martha. In the afternoon I was reunited with Jenny, who I first met on my second day in St Petersburg and was a fellow train passenger/geek. We had a prime spot on Observatory Hill and spent a great few hours in the sun playing highly competitive Uno and Snap before the main event. Photos can't possibly do justice to the fireworks, which were utterly spectacular and strangely moving. So long 2013, you've been pretty bloody incredible.
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New Years Day at Bondi beach is something of a cliché but had to be done. I heard a dozen different languages and saw many a pasty Brit brave the thin ozone layer.
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In the evening we met Mum's fifth and final cousin Kate and next morning all took the ferry up through the harbour to Manly.
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In the evening we had dinner with some of Dad's schoolmates from his time in Colombo. Given how many we've met over the years, I'm convinced Dad was in a class of at least 100. On our penultimate day we had lunch at Kate's home, on one of Sydney's many picturesque inlets.
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The Parents had an earlier flight so I headed in to the centre of Sydney to squeeze the last from the trip. My last day in the Southern Hemisphere certainly made it very difficult to leave- 30 degrees, blue skies, liquid nitrogen ice cream and lunch with Jenny at Darling Harbour.
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Two China Southern flights (not as horrific as I'd been led to believe) and 30 hours later I landed in cold, grey miserable Heathrow, only made bearable by Lucien and Caroline meeting me at the gate with a bag of salt and vinegar crisps and taking me home, where Dad had already made a curry.

And there you have it, 140 days after I left I was back in Blighty. Ending with a pithy summary of my trip would seem banal, so I'll leave you with the skywriting we saw over Bondi as I ponder what the rest of my year will bring.
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Posted by arianemeena 13:06 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Christmas and Cricket

Melbourne and Anglesea


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We were met at Melbourne Airport by Mum's half-brother Bryan, who we first met 17 years ago after he tracked down Gran Gran, his birth mother. In the time since we've seen lots of him and his wife Lynn and had long planned to visit him in Australia.

On Christmas Eve (not that it felt like it in the glorious sunshine) Bryan took us on a tour of the city, starting with the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower to orientate ourselves.
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After a stroll along south bank we took the free old tram from Flinders Street Station and saw Federation Square (complete with hundreds of Christmas trees) and Parliament House before lunch at Docklands.
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We drove around park of the Formula 1 track before heading to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where we found a slightly beleaguered England team practising in the nets.
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Christmas Day was spent at Lynn's sister's house and we were made to feel so welcome by her family. It was great to finally meet Bryan's children, Phil and Elise, as well as Lynn's, Brooke and Adam.

We'd booked our tickets to the Boxing Day test in July, when it had seemed like an excellent idea... Despite Australia regaining the Ashes in Perth , it was still incredible to be at the MCG with 91091 others (a world record test match attendance) and the beer and sunshine certainly helped our mood.
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Bryan has a lovely beach house west of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road, the perfect place to relax (i.e. drink and barbecue, although only after it had been constructed by Dad, Phil and Bryan) for a few days before heading up the East Coast.
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Posted by arianemeena 23:51 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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