Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Tasmanian Devils (2010)

Rediscovering Sydney

I was delighted to find that I slept solidly all night and woke up at close to a sensible time for getting up. It looked as though jet-lag was going to be minimal, and I attributed this to the relatively unusual late evening arrival of the Emirates flight into Sydney. Once up and about, I went down to the hotel lobby and had an enjoyable buffet breakfast in the relatively quiet restaurant. I went outside for five minutes just to gauge the temperature, which seemed quite mild for the time of year in the southern hemisphere. I then returned to my room, quickly re-packed, checked out and retraced the previous evening's steps to Mascot station, where I caught a train all the way to Circular Quay.

I knew that the InterContinental was only a couple of blocks from Circular Quay and that it was mostly uphill, but I'd underestimated just how steeply uphill it would appear to be with a loaded suitcase in tow. Despite the exertions involved, I soon reached my objective and was pleased to find that my room was ready. Better still, I was being upgraded to one of the Executive Floors and given club access - excellent! I quickly settled into my latest accommodation, adjusted my clothing to suit the increasingly pleasant conditions outside, and headed back out to re-familiarise myself with one of the world's most exciting and visually interesting cities.

I began by walking round to the waterside area known as The Rocks, in which I had based myself during my last visit in 2004. I got some good views of the Harbour Bridge and eventually found myself outside an establishment that I first discovered in 1993 and patronised again in 2004: the Löwenbräu Keller. Unable to resist, I treated myself to a somewhat surreal and authentically German lunch experience of goulash soup followed by Frankfurters with potato salad and mustard, all washed down, naturally, with a generous serving of Munich's finest! It was an odd culinary introduction to Sydney, but I just couldn't let the opportunity pass me by.

In due course, I set off back around Circular Quay and walked the short distance to Bennelong Point, site of of the other of Sydney's instantly recognisable landmarks, the Opera House. After taking the obligatory photos, I continued into the Botanic Gardens and eventually round to Mrs Macquarie's Point, as the late autumn sun showed signs of weakening and slipping inexorably towards the horizon. It was an easy stroll back to the superbly located InterContinental, however.

After freshening up, I sampled cocktail hour in the lounge. This took place in near darkness so that those lucky enough to have secured prime window seats could view the Opera House and Harbour Bridge by night. Feeling a little full from lunch and the more recent nibbles and canapés in the lounge, I decided to skip dinner and simply pop out again for a pack of sandwiches. I really didn't feel like another full meal.

Thursday 20 May

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