A Travellerspoint blog

Trip to the Top of the World

to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge

semi-overcast

Annie:

We don't have that many pictures for this post because for safety reasons, sob, we weren't allowed to bring any cameras to the top of the bridge. We went on the discovery tour instead of the regular bridge tour, so instead of traveling to the top on the top beam, we traveled in the middle beam, learning about the architecture of the bridge. it was really cool and the only time that i felt like i might die was when we were on the bridge and it was overland, because if you have any chance of falling off, which you don't, you would splat. We learned about this one guy who fell off the bridge when he was working and we somehow managed to cover his eyes and ears as he fell and he survived. the impact with the water was enough that it split his boots and the soles of his boots had to be surgically removed, shudder. We had to wear:
jumpsuits
radios
headsets
balloon pants(heat pants)
belt
bags holding a rainjacket and a windbreaker
slider that held you on to a safety wire that didn't end from start to finish, the way that you would have to get out of the slider would be to take off your belt
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it was so much fun!!!

Word of the Day: choccies= chocolate candies(yum!!!)
p.s. it would really help for people to comment on our blog!

Auntie:

Mike J, aka MJ, was the perfect guide to lead our band of climbers up the bridge. From start to finish the Bridge Climb was a totally organized and very professional operation. We suited up, had our belts attached, and then all the other gear was clipped onto the belt (safety for the cars below). The adults were breathanalyzed and we all went through a metal detector. We then went through a practice run of stairs, ramps and walkways to get a sense of what we would encounter on the bridge itself. And then we were fit with radios that sat on our temples rather than in our ears (health and hygiene concerns.

The climb uses a number of the existing maintenance walkways and stairs with a couple of section purpose built for the climb. BridgeClimb leases the use of the Bridge from the NSW State Government and returns millions each year as it is one of the most popular attractions. We had people from Queensland, India, Boston and Charlotte NC on our tour. When we met maintenance workers they were polite but one could see they were less than than thrilled to have groups of neophytes clambering over their bridge; and I can well understand that territorial feeling.

WOTD: Lollies= hard candies, see www.sticky.com.au for an example. Shop in the Rocks so of course we have been there!

Posted by AnneAuntie 13:20 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (3)

Taronga Zoo Tour

an animal tour around the zoo

sunny 66 °F

Annie:
This zoo is AWESOME. The koalas are so cute, and so are the kangaroos. We also saw the worlds largest breed of pigeon.
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this is the zoo that we went to
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This is the largest pigeon in the world, no joke!
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We weren't allowed to touch the koalas but we were allowed to get as close as we could to them.
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There was an enclosed area in the back where a female kangaroo, a quokka(a type of wallaby), a wallaby, and an emu. We were allowed to feed them fresh blossoms and pet them, the kangaroo was so sweet, you could put the blossoms in your hand and she would take them out and eat them. The quokka was so cute because it would hop around behind us after we fed it blossoms.
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The females can be out in an area that isn't barred between the people and the animals, but the males have to be because they start to fight
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Echidna
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They have a couple of 10 month old, pure blooded dingos
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We also got to feed the ringtailed possum. It was so sweet and it acted pretty well, because it got up even though it was sound asleep.
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black swan
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tree kangaroo
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swamp wallaby
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We took the zoo tram down, and the ferry back to the mainland. the ferry got stopped when a sea cow(mantee) swam in front of it! I loved the fact that we got to pet all of these animals, and i think that it is totally bonza(awesome).

Word of the day:wombat=a simple minded person

Auntie:

Our Zoo guides, Cookie and Donna, were definitely dinky di. The tour literature promised that we would touch and feed the animals and get behind the scenes at the zoo. Cookie and Donna saw that the tour deliver on that promise and more. We went into the animal cages and through all those "staff only" doors; what a treat. But the biggest treat was listening to Cookie talk about the animals with honest affection and knowledge. She radiated the good health and enthuiasm so characteristic of older Australian women who have lived their lives in this wonderous country.

The setting for the zoo, high on a hill overlooking the harbour and the Sydney skyline, was spectacular. Despite it being the middle of winter, the day was blue sky sunny with just a hint of a passing cloud. Bonza!

W.O.T.D.: Dinky Di= the real thing, genuine

Posted by AnneAuntie 12:34 Archived in Australia Tagged animal Comments (2)

Bonza Bikes

wheeling around Sydney

sunny 66 °F

Annie:
the Bonza Bike tour was absolutely, positively AWESOME. We biked all around Sydney, about 10 miles and learned stuff about the buildings, the parks, and even some of the people who live here.
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the largest church in Sydney.
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Luna Park, an amusement park
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The Sydney Harbor Bridge. we are climbing to the top of it on Friday(it is over 600 feet above the water)!!!
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The CBD, the area that we biked around in.
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One of the streets in Sydney
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The Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House at sunset.
we also went to the observatory that night. It was its 150th anniversary and we got to look at the worlds closest star (4.5 lightyears away) through this big telescope.
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Word of the Day: Wombat=someone who eats roots and twigs

Auntie:

G'Day mate! First day and we are off to an action packed start. Highlight of the day was our Bonza Bike Tours guide, Dominic Santangelo. He is a second generation Italian Ozzie bloke (Australian male) who had an irreverant attitude and plenty of yarns (stories) to amuse and charm the shelias(females).

With Mongoose mountain bikes under us we were off; up hill and down, around a bend or two and through the crowds of Chinatown seeing the sights of Sydney. My favourite mantra came to me often,"I have arrived, I am home." Jetlag was held in abeyance by all the fresh air and pedal power.

After a quick hamburger and chips (french fries) dinner we went uphill again to the Sydney Observatory to view the night sky. There we met up with Jeff (another second generation Italian Ozzie) who yabbered on about stardust and galaxies. When the dome of the Observatory slowly creaked open it revealed a sky filled with passing clouds. No Southern Cross viewing this evening.

By nine at night we were stuffed (dead tired).

W.O.T.D.: G'Day=Greeting, Hello

Posted by AnneAuntie 23:22 Archived in Australia Tagged bicycle Comments (0)

The Day that we LOST.....

the day in the air that never came

semi-overcast -54 °F

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The plane ride from Portland to San Francisco was long. The plane ride from San Francisco to Australia, even longer.
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. In that long period of time, we literally lost the 17th, it never came.
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The plane itself was amazing. We got a three course dinner, a personal movie screen where you could watch a selection of movies, and even high-tec seats that you could adjust so that it felt as if it were a bed.

word of the day: bluey= a red-head(wierd, right!)

AUNTIE:

The sun had set as we took off from San Francisco. We spent the next 14 hours vainly chasing it across the night sky until we finally caught up with the sun in Sydney. Somewhere during that time the 17th came and went underneath us. The moon, however, was our constant companion.

WOTD: Right by the night = everything will be ok, no worries.

Posted by AnneAuntie 08:52 Archived in Australia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Prologue

Before the Plane

sunny 58 °F

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The day has finally come when we will see this image out the window. The window of a plane that is! At 7:44 pm tonight, we leave for San Francisco, and at 10:47, we leave to Oz (AUSTRALIA)!

Word of the day (we will each have one every day)
Annie: Barbie= the barbecue (not to be confused with Ken's girlfriend)

Auntie:

Weeks of planning and arranging planes, and rooms and tours and events have all come down to today and finally the planning will stop and the trip will begin. Thank heavens!

This trip started out many years ago when, after pleading she wanted to come with me on my next trip, I promised my niece that when she was older she could travel with me to faraway places. Annie immediately wanted a numerical quantification to the term "older" and so we set an age at which she would be deemed to be older. And more importantly she had her Mother agreed to the trip at that age. And then the years passed. Annie did not forget the promise and as the proper age approached the talk turned to where it was she wanted to go on her "birthday" trip. Lots of options were tried on and discarded until she finally settled on Australia where I had lived for a number of years.

This trip is the fulfillment of that promise made many, many years ago. And as all adults come to know, a lot more than just your age can change over the years. But a promise is a promise, or so I learned from my Father. So off we go. Each day we will, to the best of our abilities, try to record our thoughts. A section labeled Annie, written by Annie and a section labeled Auntie written by myself, the older member of this traveling pair. We hope you enjoy our musings and welcome your comments.

W.O.T.D.: Hoo roo= goodby, see you later (Hoo roo Portland and Mount Hood!)

Posted by AnneAuntie 02:49 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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