Farewell to Kangaroo Island
We said goodbye to all the wallabies, seals, penguins, koalas, birds and kangaroos we had met for a week on this island of dreams. We walked one last time on our beach at Penneshaw, where we met a naked horse carrying a tiny dog on its back. A young girl told us they were Diesel and Matchbox, and they like to walk on the beach by themselves while she is in school. They even sometimes go to the beach on their own. The dog climbs on the horse's back using a shed she has in her backyard. And they also swim together.
We crossed again the narrow channel back to the Fleurieu peninsula dock to pick up our "useless" camper on the other side, and headed for Adelaide to deliver the truck back. The rental company attendant was quite puzzled to see that we never slept in the camper, and that none of the utensils were even unwrapped. We explained: too hot, too tired, too lazy. He still did not quite understand why we did not rent a normal car instead. Us neither. We spent one evening in charming and flowery Adelaide, eating sushi on the Promenade, and flew to Sydney the next morning.
After a month in Australia, we were anxious to discover the city. The first thing my daughter needed to do was to check if there was really such an address as 42 Wallaby Way, where adorable Nemo was first trapped in a large aquarium in a dentist office. And while there is no such an address on the other side of Sydney Harbor, the panoramic view from there is quite similar to the one you see in the 2003 Pixar animated movie "Finding Nemo' - she was upset, a little.
The 300 neighborhoods of Sydney are linked by quick little ferries at Circular Quay, travelling at fast speed to service all the commuters. Just like New Yorkers use the subway and bus network, the ferries of Sydney are linking everybody to every place. You just get a ticket and commute to your workplace or back home in a boat. It's very charming. Efficient and cheap too.
We stayed in a lovely Victorian B&B (Russell House) in the Rocks area of Sydney; we had great views and proximity to many places we wanted to visit by foot. The place was just like home, with a family feel, chintz rooms and tea all day, with scones this time. The two house shepherds, retired from a cattle farm, were the most welcoming and nuzzling dogs I had ever met.
The list of our essential things to do in Sydney started with climbing the bridge - the famed and tall Sydney Harbor Bridge. This is not just a little flight of stairs you climb on your own desire and at you own pace. No, this is quite an adventure. The four-hour long experience is a must-do while in Sydney, even more so for me than the visit of the amazing Sydney Opera, which was very nice to see from up-close, but the wild shell-like architecture was almost more beautiful from afar than from near.
We were lucky to get tickets for the bridge for the very same day, as most of the time, there is a wait list for the popular attraction. First there is a briefing, with videos. Then you are given a locker and a flight suit in grey, royal blue and black with a harness around the waist. Nothing is allowed on the climb, so the suits have no pockets. Any little thing falling would most likely hit somebody below in a boat on the head. No cameras are permitted.
The bridge was built in 1932; it sits at 440 feet above sea level, and is closed when high winds or electrical storms are present. Pregnant women, children and unfit people are not permitted to do the hike. Everybody must pass a breath test, as no alcohol in the system is tolerated. Sneakers only are allowed. And a disclaimer release must be signed. The zip line is safety against high winds, and to prevent jumpers to do so. Our group of ten was then tethered to the zip line that runs the entire length of the BridgeClimb. Some struggled to climb the high metal steps.
When we reached the apex and stopped for the mandatory pictures, group and solos, we heard my daughter's name in the wind. On the other side of the span, the descending one, two girls form her high school class were there waving frantically, on their way down. What are the odds that thousands of miles away from Florida, they would meet on top of the most beautiful bridge in the most amazing city in the world? My daughter is famous.
To be continued.