Monday, 8 December 2008

Busselton- WA Ironman


Day 1- arrived in Perth and drove to Busselton on Thursday. Checked into Martin Fields bed & breakfast and then went to WA ironman registration. Upon enterting Busselton, the support for the race was amazing; signs and posts everywhere for the race. Homes resemble that of American homes and feel just at home. In the evening, we hit the nearby beach and dinner was downtown at Thai restaurant. Thai dinner wasn’t great.

Day 2- Had coffee in town and toured downtown area. Went to movie Australia to relax. The movie was good and made us think about what life was like during WWII in Australia- plot and story a bit predicable, good acting and it was a great way to relax. Dinner on beach at the Goose; Jack had awesome pasta dish that Angie couldn’t stop eyeing and Angie had shrimp curry. Angie enjoyed shrimp as living landlocked never much ate it so good experience. We did spot a dolphin on beach near shore!
Day 3- Casual day of getting ready for race day and Jack staying off feet. Angie went to beach while Jack got bike set up, as Angie doesn’t like to be around during moments that could cause any stress- especially during pre-race. Beach was so beautiful and peaceful! We dropped off bike and checked in for race and had fantastic takeout pizza from Genas.
Day 4- WA Ironman, woke at 4AM early breakfast and to race site. Anxious sleep but slept ok. Morning was very brisk! Angie was cheerleader and Jack competed with time of 9:45! HOT day with multiple applications of sunscreen. Home for rest for Jack after race while Angie blogged and loaded photos and then back to race site to gather gear and for dinner. Dinner once again from Genas as it was so good the night prior.
Day 5- Angie washed clothes and first time hanging them outside on clothes line to dry! We drove to Margaret River to explore a bit. Stopped at cheese factory first then into town for lunch; really enjoyed the peppercorn cheese and the sweet chili cheese. Afterwards, we went to Cape Lavender which had the best lavender fields and view. We both sampled some fantastic wine and became a fan of lavender beer and bought some for post-race party this evening. Then we headed to Knotting Hill vineyard and more wine tasting for Angie as Jack observed due to driving! To WA ironman village for post party.
Off to Perth Tuesday morning and flying to New Zealand!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Sydney-The Rocks, Darling Harbour, City Centre & the Beaches

We are staying next to Hyde Park in the CBD and overlook the city of Sydney, with the harbour out one window and the Olympic park and football stadium out another window. It is beautiful with lush green grass and little gardens and small restaurants here and there. The red berry trees amongst the giant oak, palm and fig trees make for a wonderful contrast. We alternate having our morning breakfast in one of the restaurants off the park. For a city of 3-4 million, Sydney is quiet and peaceful. No one rams into us on the streets and people smile here! In fact, just today whilst at Starbucks Jack said, “This is my favorite Starbucks ever, because they are so friendly and smile!”

Day One:
Darling Harbor- One of the focal points of Sydney. It contains a mixture of shops, cafes, museums and open spaces with activities.
The Taronga Zoo- We took the ferry to the zoo. The zoo is elevated on land along the waterfront and offers awesome vantage points to the Sydney harbor. Some of the animals we saw were: bears, crocodiles, elephants, gorillas, monkeys, seals, lions, but no koalas.
Sydney Harbor Bridge- People can be seen hiking the Harbor Bridge to the top of the arch. From below the ferry, the people look like miniature birds.
The Opera House- It is easily viewed from just about any place on the harbor. It sits near the City Harbor Bridge. Depending on how the sun hits its roof, it looks either white or aluminum.
Jack got hit by a car whilst jogging. Thank goodness he was only bruised and not badly injured. Lessons learned were to pay particular attention to traffic and be extra alert when jogging in a foreign city after 36+ hours of no sleep!

When the sun goes down the wind picks up and it gets brisk.

Day Two:
The Rocks- This is the old part of Sydney and is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle. It has cobbled stone streets and old buildings with lots of shops and galleries.
Manly Beach- known as one of Sydney’s top beaches, we spent a few hours at the beach. It was nice and relaxing to watch the surfers and swimmers. With no beach towels, we laid down in the sand and let it consume us making a perfect lounge chair that supported our bods. The waves looked to be little waves that were near the beach, but many surfers tackled them and we saw several who were able to get up and ride them in.
Lessons learned: it pays to have help applying sunscreen to avoid the streaking look, from here forth joint effort. Not a good idea to wear flip flops for lots of walking- Angie encountered severe blisters on the bottom of feet!
Favorite snack: Toasted banana bread
Worst food yet: Chinese broccoli- doesn’t resemble broccoli at all!

Day Three:
Leisure Centre- Swimming in a 50 meter pool! What a way to begin the day.
Sydney Botanical Gardens- Very cool and an amazing diversity of trees, shrubs, etc. It sits off the peninsula overlooking the harbor.
Sydney Opera House- An iconic landmark, the photographs can make it look different, the colors of the roof titles change depending on the roof.
Queen Victoria Building- An amazing shopping centre with upscale shopping. It had some fantastic Christmas decorations including a tree that spanned the three floors decorated completely with crystal ornaments. It had this awesome clock inside it. Sydney is getting better by the day...

Day Four:
After a great breakfast, we took the metro to Circular Quay where we took a ferry to Watson’s Bay. We did a 2 hour hike along the ridge overlooking the cliffs and a narrow inlet where there were loads of swimmers and people playing in clear calm water and we watched with a bit of jealousy from a great bridge that spanned it all. Beautiful morning. Nice to see the rock formations and the waves. Viewed the Dunbar anchor from the lost ship that crashed and sank there long ago.
Bondi Beach- Awesome swimming pool on side of beach with fresh water and the waves of the ocean splashing into pool.
Dinner was the best yet (for Angie anyways) with a fantastic risotto with pumpkin and sweet potato.

Off early in the morning to Perth.