Australia, Sydney, Vacations

Sydney: A Different Sort of Hike (Day Six)

It looked like we were going to have rain for the next day or two, which was actually OK with me. Even though the river cruise didn’t involve any walking, I’d more than made up for it all the days previously, and I felt like I was fighting something off and had a bit of a sore throat. I decided to rest and have an easy morning, then do the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, which was labelled as ‘easy’, during the forecasted break between rain showers in the afternoon. Relaxing felt so good! My body most certainly needed it. I eventually downloaded my route to my phone, just in case I lost my signal, and ventured out to find the bus I would need. Remember how before I said I actually had a good sense of direction in Australia? Well, my jet lag seemed to be gone, and thus I was back to don’t-know-where-she’s-going Neeners. Ah well, it was good while it lasted. I wandered around for a bit and eventually found the bus stop. Again, the buses do not have the stops listed anywhere on them. Thank goodness for smart phones.

The bus ride was uneventful, except for the stop where the driver turned off the bus and left. For a hot second I didn’t know what was going on. Strike? Why is everyone still on the bus? Last stop? Bus-napping? Yes, my mind can come up with a lot of different bad scenarios in a hot second. Turns out it was simply two drivers switching buses. Not sure why they switched, but the new driver was easier on the brakes so it was all good to me. The ride continued without issue.

I got off at my stop and saw this sign:
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No problem, but I remember thinking, “OK, this obviously is going to involve some stairs.” I was right.

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I made it to the beginning of the path and walked down several sets of uneven stone stairs to get to the main path.

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Here’s a little video of a short part of the walk.

img_20180627_1329056012044845151189379.jpgThe bad part was it had rained earlier and was a little slippery. I didn’t see a single other person walking this path once I got to the stairs and because it had stopped raining it was actually steaming a little and was slightly spooky.  I tried to take a video of it…

I kept plugging along and took a video before the first stop.

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img_20180627_1332502662038916611636834.jpgAnd I got to the first official stop.

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I kept wondering how anyone was gonna find me if I hurt myself…and wondering if there were brown snakes there. Ha. There were tons of brown branches, so everything could have been one. At one point, after the beach, I couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to go as the smooth path seemed to end. I referred to the map I found and headed upstairs again. Holy moley my heart was going nutso from those stairs. I think because of the uneven and slippery-ness of them it made it more challenging than the steps on the way from Coogee to Bondi. I made it up to a main road and civilization, but according to the map I had to get up to the main road above that. There was a narrow set of stairs that was between two properties that I would not have found if I didn’t have the map. I sort of felt like I was trespassing. I walked along the upper main road, huffing and puffing. I followed the map and eventually came to a big forest/park that didn’t appear to allow vehicles. Walking along, all of the sudden I came upon a pretty large black bird, who was joined by a few more. I scanned my failing memory to determine if these were the ones who might try to ‘get rid of’ me. Nope. I kept following the map directions, down more stairs again to finally get to the beach:

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It didn’t appear there were any shark nets up, even though I thought the beach was called shark beach/bay. Huh. I sat down and started eating the lunch I had brought. I saw a couple of other people on this beach, so that was nice. While enjoying my lunch, one of the black birds came over to me.

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As we were in Australia, I thought he’d understand English and my ‘bad boy!’. Nope. He also wouldn’t be shoo’ed off or intimidated when I stood up. He kept creeping closer and closer. These birds here just don’t give a you-know-what. I decided it was time to go. I was eventually making my way uphill to get to the main road where the bus stop was. As I got closer to the top of the hill I saw the bus stop across the street and down the block a bit, at the stop. I kicked it into the highest gear I could (probably only second when you consider I was going uphill), and ran to the bus hoping he would stop and wait for me. He did, thank goodness. I’ve definitely seen drivers back home ignore people running after the bus, so I really appreciated him stopping for the winded old lady. When I got to the bus, I panted, “Tha…nks. Wh..ew!” He gave me a little smirk and nod. I haven’t seen many fat people in Sydney; probably from the hills and steps.

It was about an hour’s ride back to the hotel, and a few stops in a woman with a Spanish accent got my attention and asked me where her bus stop was. Me! This actually happens to me a lot whether I’m traveling or even back home. As established, I’m not the best person in the world to ask for directions. I responded, “Sorry, I’m not from around here.” Then I checked my phone and saw my stop was actually one after the one she’d asked about. I let her know and would tell her when it was her stop. I told her it was a lot of stops. “Big City!”, she exclaimed.

We went a few more stops, and once again the driver left the bus. This time he didn’t bother to shut the bus off. I can’t see something like this happening at home. Anyway, the new driver got on and was very friendly and started announcing the stops. “Oooh, we have a tour guide!”, joked one local. Everyone giggled, but the Spanish woman and I were very happy about this and our moods improved dramatically. It wasn’t like we were grumpy or anything, we just didn’t want to take any chance of missing our stops. We enjoyed the rest of the ride, including laughing together when an old woman in a walker got off the bus and refused to let a man help her off the bus at her stop. It was actually pretty funny. Eventually the Spanish woman’s stop came up and we grinned at each other and said goodbye. Sometimes it’s like you form a little tourist team on the bus.

I successfully made it back to the hotel, and soon Sal was back from work. We decided to go to dim sum again, to the same place as the first night in Sydney, Work in Progress. It wasn’t just the jet lag from the first day: the food was still really delicious! And again, we forgot to take pics. Just trust me and check that place out.

We decided that night we were going to find the real The Baxter Inn bar that we tried finding the first night and ended up at the Barbershop bar. It was basically hidden, but the big man standing outside the non-descript door gave it away.

mvimg_20180627_2013081955292428892555197.jpgAs soon as we walked downstairs into the bar I knew I’d love it. Great swing music and cool vibe; there were people of all ages there with one thing in common: an affection for well made cocktails.
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img_20180627_1858123552996334618480863.jpgThe young barman asked for our order and I asked him if he’d ever made a Final Ward before. He hadn’t. This is not the first place I’ve been to that didn’t know what it was, but as it’s a simple substitution of the more commonly known Last Word, it’s usually not a problem. And I’m not going to lie – it gives me a tiny thrill to teach these guys who make fancy cocktails how to make a new one. He carefully made our cocktails, and my Final Ward was absolutely delicious. I gave him props. He claimed it was easy, but the last one I’d had back home they had somehow managed to mess up, so I appreciated the deliciousness on his first try.

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mvimg_20180627_1922228538441318742151769.jpgWe really enjoyed our time there chatting with the bartender. We talked about NYC and the local cocktail scene in Sydney. We loved it there and will hopefully go back again the next time we are in Sydney (in a few weeks).

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