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Sydney area and Blue Mountains

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 10 April 2012 | Views [400]

My time in Sydney was a time I will never forget mainly because I was able to stay with friends of my neighbor and friend Kesa from home.  Her friend Yael and Yael's husband David and their children invited me to stay in their home in Maroubra (Sydney suburb)for five nights and were the most gracious hosts a total stranger could ever expect. Their hospitality made me feel like I'd known them for a long time. It also gave me time to really relax and recharge myself for the next stretches of my travels. Yael and David took the time to ensure I knew where to go and how to get there.  David also lended me his bicycle so I could give the legs a couple of workouts. First time in the saddle on the road since last November sure felt good.  I spent time down at the Maroubra beach and spent over four hours Saturday at Covelli Beach enjoying the sun, ocean water, lunch and conversation.  Later that day, David and I biked over two hours through the eastern 'burbs, breifly stopping at Bondi Beach, a very popular and well known Australian beach, and riding to Watson's Bay, which offered a great view of Sydney Harbor as we crested a hill.  The ride was one I'll never forget as it offered many good hills, views, beaches and the thrill of urban riding.  

The following day I took the ferry across the harbor to Manly Beach, another one of those very popular AU beach's.  Two other friend's of Kesa who I met the night before, Wayne and Mac came along as my guides.  Wayne took the time to show me some of the older historical buildings in the Sydney downtown area including St. Mary's Church. Manly Beach was very nice and the weather was perfect again. I took a short swim in the cove adjacent to the Beach as the beach was closed to swimming due to strong rip tides.Somehow I managed to be in Sydney during five straight days of great weather. Maybe it was the luck of the Irish, who knows...

The next day I took a two hour train ride to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.  They are named for the bluish haze that results from the eucalyptus tree oil vapors mixing with dust particles and the air.  At certain times of the day the bluish color creates quite a look with the green forest on the horizon.  I hiked around the rain forest in the Jameson Valley for a few hours enjoying the giant rain forest trees and other plant species in the lush forest floor.  No lack of moisture here. The cliffs of the sandstone colored mountains in the horizon were striking. Three small spires called the Three Sisters reminded me a little of the colorful hoodoos in Bryce Canyon Nat. Park in Utah, worn down over thousands of years.

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