We are now close to exchanging the enclosed city streets of Sydney for the wide open spaces and mountainous views of South Island, New Zealand. In fact, I have just now completed on-line check-in for the next leg of our journey on to Christchurch.
The weather has taken a bit of a turn for the worst here today and rather than the fantastic clear blue skies we have enjoyed for ten days it has closed in and the tops of the city skyscrapers across the Harbour are enveloped in thick cloud. Its still 75 degrees out there, mind you, so I think we'll cope.
So, Sydney - It is an amazing city full of vibrant people, all of whom appear to be extremely rich and in a desperate hurry to get somewhere. Everyone here is fit as a fiddle and many are squeezed into colourful lycra either running or cycling here and there to maintain their fitness. I commented a while ago that I hadn't seen any Sydney resident carrying a few extra pounds and I still don't think I have - they do seem to be almost fanatical about it! If you do happen to see an overweight individual around here it's going to be a tourist for certain.
We rode a ferry along Parramatta River a few days back and the number of amazing millionaire riverside homes was beyond count. It does seem to be a large portion of their raison d'etre here to make money. I'm not necessarily suggesting that this is a bad thing but does the pursuit of money equate to the pursuit of happiness? And perhaps you do need to have a modicum of wealth here as everything is so expensive. For example, the wi-fi. I saw an billboard ad for a very modest wi-fi speed the other day costing the customer a minimum of $1900 over a two year committed period. 4G here is faster than wi-fi! Of course, I have no hesitation at all in adding that Sydney-siders are the most friendly, generous and helpful set of people I have ever met in my life! Everyone I have interacted with here has gone out of their way to help without a moments hesitation.
And dogs - there is a distinct lack of them. Okay, I've seen a few now since I first noticed it but the ones I have seen are all of the small lapdog variety and there is a complete lack of larger dogs. Maybe thats a good thing, I dunno.
Mr Fitbit tells me we have walked over 60 miles in the last 10 days and with spending some $60 each on the brilliant Opal card transport system (are you listening Manchesters new 'Get Me There' card?) as well I think it's fair to say we have got around a bit whilst here! Safe to say that I love this city and I shall miss it badly when we depart.
Three photos to end with:
1. Both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House in the same photo - as seen from Mrs McQuarries Chair, just a half mile walk around the harbour.
2. The crowds of people in and around Circular Quay, which is the main hub of tourist activity in Sydney.
3. Another dawn shot with the Harbour Bridge top right. I've jumped out of bed every morning (well, the mornings I've been awake) at 6.15am to see if a good dawn light was developing, and on several days it was, but it has never been quite as good as that first dawn.