Friday, May 11, 2012

Leaves are turning but it’s MAY!

  Some San Francisco photos

Pam hanging on the cable car like a tourist!

Randy on the cable car like a resident!
We have fond memories of doing what nobody can do any more: help turn the cable car on the turntable! What fun that was.

Pam and the GoCar we plan on renting in Barcelona (aka Barthalona)

We got to Sydney with minimal jet lag (Randy) and not-so-minimal jet lag (Pam). (Jet lag: Otherwise known as circadian desynchronosis—sounds much better, doesn’t it?) Anyway, we made it but had to wait for our hotel room so decided to go to Greg’s house by train, thus killing the proverbial two birds with one stone. We now know all we need to know to get around Sydney by train. Hope we don’t have to use the buses ‘cause we haven’t mastered those yet!

Ian brought us an Australian phone and after several missteps we have succeeded in 1) activating it, 2) actually making a call, and 3) both sending and receiving a text message. We have yet to succeed, however in making even one call on our international phone.

After all our angst over the train, we had more angst over our rental car and driving in downtown Sydney. Well, Randy drove; I had the angst, we both kept saying, “Drive LEFT!!!” and we made it in one piece to the Blue Mountains, one of the prettiest areas of Australia that we’ve seen. The views of the Jamison Valley and the Three Sisters were helped immensely by some of the best weather they’ve had here in a while. Most of the general stores have umbrellas for sale outside on the sidewalk; that should tell us something about the USUAL weather here!

I've never seen a Guinness with a picture in the foam!
One of the goals I set for myself—Goals! Doesn’t that sound lofty?—is to try a new beer in every town. The problem is that it’s awfully hard to take a picture of draft beer. Oh, what a problem! Today it was Coopers Pale Ale that I tried at a neat little bar, the Old City Bank. Randy couldn’t resist a Guinness, not exactly either new or Australian!

Our hotel in Katoomba is the Carrington, an old, old hotel right in the middle of town. It was built in 1880 but extensively remodeled so everything looks old-fashioned but functions as brand new. Even the tiny elevator! Inside, you think you’re in the late 19th century, but it works like the newest high-rise elevator.
Pam and her ever-present camera on our "deck" at the Carrington (we do have to share with the other rooms)
Champagne on our anniversary eve.
Now, THAT'S a pool table!

The view from the "deck" in the front of the Carrington
We did the real touristy stuff yesterday (11th) and today: we went to Scenic World and rode the Railway, the “steepest railroad in the world” (Guinness says so!) at a maximum of 52 degrees; the Cableway; the Skyway (they’re really big on “ways”) and walked the—guess!—the Walkway. So beautiful! The eucalypts may be spewing their “blue” vapor (hence, the “Blue” mountains) but the views were spectacular. And on one of our walks we got to see a pair of Australian King parrots! Not that they are uncommon, but it’s fun to be able to get close to such a beautiful bird. Can you guess that I love scarlet?

Male Australian King parrot; the female was similar except for a green head. Her belly was scarlet, as is his.

One of our hikes

I don't know what this bird is, but it's very common and lots of white when it flies

I just couldn't resist this!
Oh, yes, it’s almost autumn here so the trees are turning colors spectacularly. And some have dropped their leaves completely already!

It’s our anniversary today and we’ll have a wonderful dinner here at the Carrington. They’ve even left a bottle of champagne in our room for us. So nice!


  1. Happy Anniversary Pam and Randy - see you in a few days on the paddle boat :)

    1. Steve & Donna, you are TOO funny! We can hardly wait to meet you! We are going to laugh ourselves silly for the next 3 months if the roll call is any indication.
      PS You knock on the door of Capri at 2am, we open if you have Bombay gin with you. We are not above being bribed.

  2. Happy Anniversary ...... my parents had their honeymoon at the carrington ( I think I told you that before ) in the old days alot of people caught the train up to katoomba and honeymooned there... Now if you drive a little further along to blackheath you will come accross the beautiful Hydro Masgestic...with it's sordid past... known to be a haven for business men and their secretaries LOL.... go in have a coffee ... the views into the Jamison valley are fabulous...

    Look forward to seeing you tuesday....

  3. We're looking forward to Tuesday as well! What a wonderful idea about Blackheath, we'll do that tomorrow. I'm really interested in the "sordid past"!

  4. Helen-Gran - Oz-GirlMay 12, 2012 at 4:19 AM

    Great photos - glad you are enjoying yourselves. The black bird is the Currawong - raucous call with an evil eye & murderous disposition towards the young of other birds. Similar to the Magpie (with a beautiful song). The differences are: currawongs have a black beak, magpies have a grey/white beak; also the magpie wears a "white scarf" around its neck. When driving, chant to yourself "driver to the centre of the road" - really only a problem when you turn a corner! I don't think the refurbished "Hydro" is open for coffee yet, but still worth a look at its wonderful position.

  5. Sounds like you're having a wonderful time! Ken really likes your "goal" and says he like Coopers when he tried it. Maybe you'll have to bring back a bottle of each and you and Ken can have a tasting when you're back in Sacramento. :-) I Love you both! Happy Anniversary!