Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

St Stephens Day

On St Stephens Day Ciaran & I headed into the Botanic Gardens for a walk & a picnic.
It was such a beautiful day and we really wanted to see the classic view of the Opera House & Harbour Bridge which you get from the botanic.
The botanic isn't like the one in Dublin and we haven't suddenly developed a love of botany it's really just a park where people come to sunbathe on a hot day when they don't fancy getting covered in sand at the beach. There's millions of huge fruit bats hanging from the trees which Ciaran was fascinated with, I was more interested in staying in the shade because I felt like I was going to melt!

We walked through the botanic to Mrs Macquaries Chair which is the area where you get the classic harbour views, then had a picnic from the Christmas day leftovers - it was a gorgeous afternoon.

The girls had a slightly different day at the races in Randwick which resulted in Kelley dressing up like a Christmas tree and dancing around the street outside the apartment - hilarious!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

I was so excited on Christmas day that when I woke up at 5.30am I just couldn't get back to sleep. I found myself in the kitchen at 6am baking soda bread(!) with Christmas songs playing on my ipod. Managed to finally get Ciaran and the girls up at about 8 o'clock which meant we could open our pressies - at last! The girls hadn't got home till about 5am so they weren't too impressed with being woken up but they soon got into the swing of things when they remembered there were presents to be opened! The 5 of us in the house got each other a small pressie which meant that there was loads of unwrapping to do - hurrah!

Myself and Ciaran then headed into Hyde Park Barracks for the Christmas mass which was shown live on RTE. There were thousands of Irish backpackers there trying to squeeze in. The church had asked everyone to wear their GAA county jersey so it looked really cool. Everyone was trying to get their face on TV for the folks back home. I think we were spotted once or twice but with me being surrounded by 6 ft men it was a bit difficult. The helpful text from my mam telling me 'I can only see the top of your head, get up on Ciarans shoulders' made sure I was aware of my vertical challenge.... Everyone was waving like lunatics trying to get on the camera and at one point there was even a mexican wave going round although I'm fairly sure they didn't show that on TV!

After mass we took a walk through Hyde Park with Garry & Clare then it was time to head back to get ready for the beach. Bondi beach was absoloutely mobbed. There was a great atmosphere with everyone wearing their santa hats and red bikinis (not the boys!), even the lifeguards were looking a little bit festive. The weather was beautiful and the waves were great so we spent a good few hours down there in and out of the sea.

That evening we had Garry, Clare, Nicola & Lawrence over for a bbq. We made way too much food but it's not Christmas if you don't stuff yourself! We even had a go at throwing a shrimp on the barbie. Then it was back into the apartment for Christmas night drinks and a marathon game of poker.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve we went out on a Sydney harbour cruise a.k.a booze cruise...

There was about 10 of us in our gang and probably another couple of hundred on our boat with 5 more boats packed full of backpackers.
It was really great craic on board and a brilliant way to spend Christmas Eve with loads of people dressed up in Santa suits and Christmas hats.
After the boat docked we headed down to the local pub which was crammed full of people singing all the old Christmas songs, then it was off home to wait for Santa!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

December in Sydney

December in Sydney was a good month despite the sometimes miserable weather. Ok, not miserable compared to home but miserable compared to our expectations of December weather in Oz!

Just like last year it's been hard to get into the Christmas spirit here in the sunshine. The shops aren't decorated and there's no Christmas jingles being played - it's the opposite to home! But our apartment is decorated like santa's grotto with a fantastic real Christmas tree and tonnes of fairy lights.

We spent a few Saturday's exploring different parts of the city; Glebe, Newtown, Watsons Bay & out to Manly to meet some friends from the coast which was really great and of course there's been plenty of nights out...

There's some great markets in Glebe and Newtown is a really funky little area with cool cafe's. I love getting the ferry to Watsons Bay, passing by multi million dollar mansions that have places to moor their yachts right outside their door... Manly is a bustling little village with a really good beach, we had a lovely lunch there with Holland & Bex.