....So starts the first of my long winded e-mails on this fantastic month long journey. I will be briefer than usual with this one as I am writing it from my Blackberry and we've only been here a day & a half.
Let's start with my current spot...it's 4pm and I'm sipping a glass of red wine from the Barossa Valley (south Australia) at the boutique Establishment hotel. Very stark decor with a huge marble slab bar and 70's ball of bulb chandeliers with a pressed tin ceiling. Tres chic. It's raining a bit (like SD rain) and I've been walking for hours so I deemed the stop well deserved!
Now to recap...we left LA Monday night after a nice visit to the old "hood" of Venice/Santa Monica. Even did a drive by past 107 Brooks, Torrey & my old house. Our plane was one of those 747's with a second floor, which is where we sat. So cool! I was even invited into the cockpit (on the 2nd floor too) and got to sit in the pilots seat. I requested no "Sully" landings...they graciously complied. After a nice 10 hour nap in my fully reclining bed and 2 movies (I recommend "Nick & Norah's...T, you will like the tunes), we arrived Wednesday am in Sydney.
We walked about yesterday hitting The Rocks area (where we had a fantastic lunch...and a local IPA...John Squires Lainger...not too hoppy). Bob tried it & is still convinced all beer tastes the same. He is now intrigued by the topic of "hops"! We walked thru Hyde Park and saw an exhibit on the Hulks prisons where they held convicts in ship hulks. Having been here before, we didn't revisit some of the main sites (opera house, Bondi, zoo, etc) but did walk past most.
This city is like Singapore blended with San Francisco. The nice weather, great architecture, distinct neighborhoods, hilly landscape, and supreme blend of cultures. And did I already mention all of the hot guys?! My mom and I are ogling all of them! New York what? He he...jk. The people here are so nice as well.
Last night we ate at Altitude...a restaurant on the top of our hotel...google it (shangri-la hotel, altitude resto). Panoramic views from the 30 something floor. The view was amazing and the food too.
Today we went to Paddington, an area with charming galleries, shops & antique stores. We tootled around for a while, had a quaint lunch and then my parents went back to the hotel to rest. I walked back enjoying the different neighborhoods and shops along the way.
Tonight we have dinner with a family friend and then a friend from USC will be joining us for drinks (Goody, V). Tomorrow we head to the ship which pulled in this morning. It certainly is larger than others we've been on! We set sail tomorrow evening for Melbourne. I'm not sure yet how we'll be impacted by the fires. It's quite tragic here with the dryness and vast amount of bush land. Almost 300 people have died already. They didn't have an emergency response system or forced evacuations like we do. Hopefully they get it under control soon. Ok...my thumbs are about to fall off and I'd like to enjoy my wine. I hope you all are well and I'll be in touch with new stories shortly.