After a long but uneventful series of flights, we eventually landed in Sydney just after the 5am airport curfew. We settled into our hotel and rested before heading out to try and stay awake until the evening and beat the jet lag. The weather in Sydney was strangely not unlike that we had left at home. Our hotel was on the edge of Darling Harbour and fairly quiet as there was nothing on at the nearby conference centre. We walked across Pyrmont Bridge which crosses Cockle Bay and was the one of the first electrically operated swing bridges, opening in 1902 and replacing an earlier wooden bridge. It now carries pedestrians and cyclists and only opens occasionally on weekends and public holidays for demonstrations and occasionally to allow ships to pass.
After a coffee in a busy cafe we then walked along the edge of the bay, discovering the Chinese Garden of Remembrance which is an oasis among the skyscrapers and concrete of the freeways.
It then got windier and wetter, so giving into our fatigue it was time for an early night after a quick meal. The following morning the sun had appeared and before meeting a friend we walked into town and visited the Queen Victoria Building, an upmarket shopping arcade in a restored 19th century building.
Sitting having a drink in the upstairs tea room, we could have been in any of the arcades in a British city. Even the china was Royal Albert. I have felt that I have not quite left the northwest yet, having seen Liverpool and Everton FC shirts within a few hours of arriving, breakfast with St Helens playing Wigan Warriors at rugby on the TV and passing a group of guys in the street with Warrington Wolves jackets and backpacks. We met up with our friend and walked towards the end of the harbour where an abandoned dock has been turned into Barangaroo Reserve, a waterside park with views over to the Harbour Bridge.
Nearby a casino is being built and has to be circumnavigated to reach the waterside again. There are numerous cafes, bars and restaurants along here which made lunch easy to find. Our last evening before hitting the road was spent with friends in the city who treated us to a wonderful meal at their home. We hope to repay their hospitality in the UK next summer.