And so, after two jam-packed days, my time in the Sydney CBD was effectively over. Well, apart from one more afternoon/evening a couple of days later, but we’ll get to that…
The morning of the 3rd of April Gordon and I packed our stuff back into our bags, checked out of the Pensione Hotel and headed off for the train station, bound for Chipping Norton, a suburb about 45 minutes west of the Sydney CBD. Before we went to the station, we grabbed a really nice breakfast in a cafe I can’t seem to find on Google Maps (I remember it being near the hotel, on the other side of the street, but bugger me if I can’t find it), then after a bit of a faff getting tickets and trying to figure out what platform we needed to be on, we jumped on one of Sydney’s fascinating double-decker trains headed for Warwick Farm, the nearest stop to Chipping Norton.
By this point I was glad to have stopped walking for a while – after all the bouncing around the Sydney tourist hotspots over the previous couple of days, my feet were blistered to buggery and my lower back was getting sore. My plan was to basically veg out at Sandra’s (my mum’s cousin) house for a couple of days before heading back into the city to climb the Harbour Bridge and meet my old mucker Jonny, who’d moved to Sydney a couple of years prior.
We got to Sandra and Richard’s house just before lunchtime, we decanted our stuff and I sat with my sore feet in Sandra’s pool, cooling off my blisters and enjoying the breezy Sydney sunshine.
After a spot of lunch, Richard offered to take me and Gordon out to Denham Court, a very nice neighbourhood in Sydney, to see the house he’d been working on for a number of years, in its nearly-finished state. It was a helluva place, a proper lottery-winners modern mansion, with a fair sized plot of land – Richard’s plan was to have some of his horses stabled there. It was a lovely house, and really cool to get inside a place like that, the sort of property I probably wouldn’t find myself getting to nosey about in, generally speaking.
That evening, still nursing my sore feet, scuffed head (from the Manly Barstool Incident, as detailed in the previous entry) and increasingly sore back, we headed off to a rather large RSL club in a nearby suburb for dinner. This place was pretty crazy, with multiple bar/restaurant areas and a large underground car park. Some of these clubs are closer to a Vegas casino than a ‘working men’s club’. Food was decent – I had Chicken parm, but I was still feeling a bit ropey and tired, so we didn’t stay for a huge amount of time. I crashed early-ish that night, as I had a reason to be up reasonably early the next morning.
Yep, it was Monday morning, April the 4th, and due to the gigantic time difference to the USA, I was watching Wrestlemania 32 live on the WWE Network while having my breakfast, which was an unusual experience to say the least. Usually when I’ve watched Mania live in the past, I’ve had to stay up until daft o’clock in the morning to do it. The show itself…not bad. The main event was utterly forgettable though. Women’s match and the Intercontinental Title ladder match were bangers though.
The rest of that day was pretty uneventful. We went over to a wee shop area nearby for…something I don’t remember, and I got Gordon’s boarding passes for his flight back to Perth printed off, as he was flying home that evening, due to starting back at work the next day. I think I just spent most of that day just taking it easy and watching stuff on the WWE Network or Youtube, or editing photos on my laptop. I needed to R&R, as my back was pretty much at its sorest at this point, and I had the Bridge Climb the next day.
Tuesday morning rolled around after an early night, and Sandra dropped me off at Warwick Farm station and I choo-chooed back into the CBD, getting off at Circular Quay. I gingerly walked into The Rocks and headed for the Bridgeclimb Centre on Cumberland St. By this point, thankfully, my back was feeling a fair bit better (although I doubt sitting on the bed watching Wrestlemania on my laptop did me any favours). I bought a water and at my appointed time, joined the party for the climb.
When doing a Bridge Climb one has to wear a rather unattractive jumpsuit (well, unattractive on me, anyway. Not a great look for a dude with a bit of a gut) and a belt that basically doubled as a safety harness. There’s a safety rail that you’re attached to via a cable that runs the entire bridge climb route, from the climb centre, all the way up to the centre of the arch and back down again. Our guide on the climb was a rather pleasant English fellow whose name escapes me at the moment. He reminded me of a less campy version of Richard O’Brien, or a bit like that Simon Miller dude from WhatCulture, but with a goatee.
At various points, we stopped to do pictures (I stumped up for an additional photo package, seeing as one isn’t allowed to take a camera on the climb), and we did a group shot on the arch near the top. During the climb, our guide was pointing out various interesting bits and bobs visible from the bridge, talked about the history of the bridge and whatnot. He did a fine job with his spiel and did a good job making sure everyone in the party was doing OK (I’d mentioned my back pain thing and he asked at a few points how I was doing) and made sure we were made aware of the water fountains that are dotted along the climb route, which I was very thankful for. It was a pretty nice day, and I was pretty sweaty by the end of the climb.
The sight of the Sydney harbour from the apex of the bridge was pretty breathtaking, and I really wished I could’ve taken my camera up to get some nice shots of the cityscape. I guess I’ll have to settle for the shots of me with the city in the background. Some of the photos are attached to this post – the one of me doing the Randy Orton pose in front of the Australian flag makes me chuckle.
Once we descended back to the Bridgeclimb centre, I picked up the USB stick with my photos, changed back into my clothes and headed out into the Rocks to meet my pal Jonny Wilson at the Mercantile, where I’d been a few days previously with my uncle, drinking far-too-cold Guinness. I met Jonny when I produced the band he was in, The Mocha Nights, back in 2005, and this was the first time I’d seen him in a few years.
I sat in the Mercantile nursing a schooner and after a short wait, Jonny rocked up. We had a beer and a catch-up there before we headed off the Glenmore, a Scottish pub with a swanky rooftop bar, also in The Rocks. We ordered food, and after a while shooting the shit and slurping frothies, a friend of Jonny turned up, an American dude who worked as a lawyer (totally blanked on his name now. Oops. Ah well, it was 6 months ago). More beers ensued, plenty of good banter, and eventually we sauntered back towards Circular Quay for me to get the train back to Warwick Farm in a warm alcoholic glow.
The next day was a quiet one – got my dirty clothes washed and packed up my bags for heading home that evening, which I did. Oh, and Sandra and I went out to a big shopping mall, got some lunch and I got a haircut. Exciting stuff.
The flight back to Perth was uneventful bar the person in the seat next to me – an absolutely SMOKING hot woman who looked like former WWE Diva AJ Lee. I saw her at the baggage carousel after we landed winching some dude, so probably just as well I didn’t try to chat her up. I did talk to her a wee bit though, she told me she worked at a bank in Fremantle and she shared some of her Pringles with me. Nice lassie. her boyfriend is clearly a jammy bastard. 😉
I made it back to Yokine in a taxi, let myself in and went to bed. And thus ended my second excursion.
Join me next time when I’ll be detailing my last ‘holiday within a holiday’ – a weekend at Ledge Point.