We are here and it feels good to be back. The flight went smoothly–I even managed to catch several hours of sleep (Roy wasn’t quite so lucky) and we got to Auckland ahead of schedule.
After an nice break with a strong ‘flat white’ at the airport, we were ready for the second leg of the trip, which again got us to our destination half an hour ahead of schedule. In Sydney the luggage was delivered promptly, customs a minor matter, the airport familiar, SIM cards easily arranged, and transit a breeze. An hour and a half after the plane had touched down we were at our hostel and ready to roll.
Arriving early did mean we couldn’t check-in yet, but fortunately we could drop off our luggage. Then we went for walk, heading uptown through Hyde Park, the Botanic Gardens, to the Sydney Opera. The streets and sights felt familiar.
What distinguishes places more than their sights and architecture, I think, are the feel and smell of the air. We stopped for lunch at a cafe near Hyde Park and sat outside. Being in the low/mid twenties, the air was comfortably warm, and the wind energized the air and stirred the scent of the gum trees. When I closed my eyes for a moment I thought: if I had been dropped here blindfolded, I would still recognize the place as Sydney, simply by the feel and smell of the air and the sound of the birds. Despite having having seen many exotic birds when here last year, I am still amazed to see cockatoos and parrots fly around like ‘normal’ birds and look forward to seeing more.
The plan for tomorrow is to head to Manly–perhaps do the coastal walk, then a dip in the ocean and some beach time. In the evening dinner with friends is on the agenda.