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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Australia - Sydney

Dear Family and Friends,

Today I will share with you some pictures I took during the time we were in Sydney, Australia. 

This first picture is of St. Mary's Cathedral. It is located right in the heart of the city.

It was the first of December when we were in Sydney. This huge Santa, made of completely of crates, was located near the harbor. The sign below says Very Merry Crate-mas.

I took this picture just so I could remember how good the apple cider was in Australia.  It was good in New Zealand too.

This bird is indigenous to Australia. It is an Australian White Ibis. We saw many of them around town.

Hyde Park was right across the street from our condo. It a big, lovely park in the center of the city.

We were strolling through the park and I saw this old Chinese man playing an ancient Chinese instrument for tips.

Here is one more picture of the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge in the background.

This is a photo of the Gap. It is the entrance to Sydney harbor from the open sea. It is, unfortunately, a place where many people have jumped to their death. While researching this, I read that there has been as many as 50 suicides in one year. When we visited there we saw a crisis telephone for anyone that is despondent to pick up the receiver and get help.

This is a picture of the most popular beach in Sydney, Bondi Beach. 

We shared a nice lunch while there at a beach side seafood restaurant.

This fellow is an Indian Myna Bird. We enjoyed watching him play around with his buddies as we ate our lunch.

The last picture I am sharing with you is the monkeys over a pub entrance downtown.

We had a wonderful week. However, to say we were ready to head back home to Ecuador would be an under statement.  

We flew from Sydney to Los Angeles to Atlanta to Quito all in one long, long day.  

We have been back home now for about seven weeks, so as you can guess, it is time to hit the road again. 

We are leaving next week to go visit some friends in Mexico.  I will be taking my laptop along this time and if all goes well, I hope to share about that trip as it happens.

Much love,

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Australia - Blue Mountains National Park

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I took a day trip from Sydney to the Blue Mountains National Park located in New South Wales. We took a train from Sydney to the small town of Katoomba, a two hour train ride. Incredibly, the train only cost about $5.00 Australian.

After we got off the train, we grabbed a bite to eat and then we took a tour bus to the nearby Blue Mountains scenic area.

This is a picture of the famous "Three Sisters" rock formation.

There was a hiking trail that we could take to the waterfall.  We decided to take the trail and see what there was to see.

It took us about an hour to hike the trail.  In the picture below, you can easily see how the mountains got their name.

There were many wild flowers blooming.

Another view from the trail.

About half way through our hike, we found a real nice place to rest and view the scenery.  

We finally made it to Wentworth falls.  

We hopped a tour bus back into town, enjoyed a wonderful apple cider, before catching the train back to Sydney.

Next post, I will share pictures that were made during our time in Sydney.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sydney, Australia - Watson Bay

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I arrived back in Sydney, Australia exactly two weeks after we left.

We got off the ship (this time for good!). Chuck had secured us an apartment for one week in Sydney so that we could enjoy the city before we returned to Ecuador.

There was one spot in Sydney that was high on our list.  That place was Watson's Bay. Gotta go there if it has our name, and besides we heard that was the best place to go for fish and chips.

We went there on the city bus. The bus let us off about two blocks from this beautiful sight.

Watson's Bay is a small area with a nice park. I heard chirping and looked up to see a tree filled with these colorful birds.  They are Lorikeets.  

We hiked a bit to get to this naval site. This is as far as we could go...just to the gate, but that was close enough for Chuck to pose for this picture.

HMAS Watson is a training base controlled by the Royal Australian Navy.

After poking around there we hiked backed down to the city park.  It was there that we found the famous Doyles fish and chips bar. 

Chuck has octopus and chips,

and I had calamari and chips.

We decided to return by the ferry instead of the city bus.  Good for us, we went right past the Sydney Opera House on the way to the central harbor terminal.

Monday, January 23, 2017

New Zealand, Mt. Maunganui

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I walked from the ship, around the mountain (pictured below) and around the town of Mt. Maunganui.  It was about 2.5 - 3 miles all total.  A very pleasant way to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery.

The statue below looks to be an indigenous Maori fishing with a spear. The Maori originated from Polynesia and were the original inhabitants of New Zealand.

There was a nice walkway all around the island.

After  circumnavigating the mountain, we walked through the town. The residents of this place sure have a sense of humor. I really enjoyed the reader board signs they had in front of their businesses.

We had some terrific fish and chips for lunch. It was a fun day.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Akaroa, New Zealand

Dear Family and Friends,

When our ship arrived in Akaroa, we could have taken a tour via bus to go to the Christchurch. We went to Christchurch on a trip to New Zealand about 3 years ago, so we elected to take a tour with a man and a van to see the local sights.

I am so glad we did the local tour. New Zealand is a beautiful country. The most beautiful I have ever experienced. I hope that these pictures will do it justice. 

Here is a picture of Chuck before we started our tour.

The scenery was incredible.

Chuck walking on a secluded beach.

Those white dots in the grass are sheep.

This is my favorite picture. Sheep in the foreground and our ship in the background. 

Incredible day.