Sunday, September 9 (Sept. 8 in USA)
I got up earlier than Bill to take a walk on Manly Beach. Not getting my usual exercise is making me restless. Despite the weather being a bit iffy, I took off for a walk beside Manly Beach. There is a path all the way up to a lookout on the rocks above Manly. Surfers and brave kayakers in wet suits and early morning joggers took a chance on the weather and were rewarded for their efforts. (insert picture later)
As the clouds began to roll in, I decided that it was time to turn back. Shortly before reaching Manly Lodge the rain began to get serious. Luckily we had a dryer in the lodge, so I was able to dry my clothes before leaving for the bus terminal and our 22-hour bus ride to Adelaide.
Since we had several hours before our bus left for Adelaide, we spent some time having coffee and people-watching at the ferry terminal. APEC was still a factor as we reached Sydney, so we didn’t spend too much time around the Opera House and ferry terminal, but headed up toward the Rocks (the area where the first convicts and guards first landed) to wander a bit. The original settlement, destroyed many years ago, has now become a trendy place to shop and eat. We found a delightful restaurant, Pony, where we sampled grilled bread with eggplant spread, spiced olives (for Bill) freshly roasted almonds, and a delicious pumpkin and basil frittata.
Finally, it was time to work our way to the bus station, by way of the local train (Sydney’s answer to MARTA). We had to walk several extra blocks to the train station because of security. At one point, we could not even cross the street until a gate was opened to let us through the fenced-off street. Guards were everywhere! After some anxious moments, we were able to board the train for a five-minute ride Central Station. The bus station is not quite as bad as most in the US. But, we did see our share of homeless folks before boarding our bus. Thank goodness it was not very crowded, so later in the evening Bill and I had two seats each to spread out and try to sleep.
After leaving Sydney around 4:00 PM, we stopped at the airport to pick up some more passengers. A young man on the bus (in a long black coat-get the picture?) got off, had words with the bus driver and got back on. In no time, four security guys called him off the bus for a “chat”. He was much subdued when he got back on the bus. About 8:00 we stopped in Canberra for a shared dinner (consisting of 1/2 chicken, tomato, and avocado sandwich) with Bill. Not much to choose from in a bus station! We changed drivers here and were off again about 8:45 PM. Sometime in the night we stopped for another short break before having breakfast around 6:30 AM at a truck stop. I ordered poached eggs and a scone with jelly. Well, what I got was two poached eggs on toast and two open-faced biscuits with jam and heavy cream! Did the best I could with that meal before we were on the bus again.
Our route took us mainly along the Stuart Highway and into the Barossa Valley, home of many Australian vineyards, including Penfolds, whose wines we have sampled in the US. After stopping at one more gourmet truck stop restaurant for lunch, we arrived in Adelaide around 3:00 PM. Thank goodness the Adelaide Youth Hostel was only a block away. I will save the rest for yet another post, and insert some pictures later. Bill wanted me to experience this type of travel, so I did. But, now I am ready for a bit more luxury!