Thursday, September 16

See the sights, eat the animals

We have no planned activities in Sydney, other than wandering around, shopping, and seeing whatever we want to do.

That is, other than dinner at the AMP Tower.  We ate there in 2001, but it was the buffet restaurant, not the "a la carte" restaurant, which was closed that day.

We have reservations at 6:00 for all three of us to dine at the "top of the southern hemisphere" at the Sydney Tower Restaurant.  Mmm...

Today was a busy day.  We were up to get on the CityRail train to Central station, from there to pick up a scheduled train to Katoomba, on the Blue Mountains line.  This is a suburban rail system similar to Metro-North in the New York area.  Our trip is about 2 hours and will take us to "Australia's Grand Canyon".

The trip was nice, and we took a short cab ride to one of the two end-points of the canyon.  Here is one of the most famous rock formations, known as the "Three Sisters".  Local Aboriginal myth is that these are 3 sisters that were turned to stone because they wanted to marry people from another tribe.  You can see the canyon in the distance.  It's smaller than the U.S. canyon, but has many of the same features, and it is filled with trees and shrubs.  The river doesn't flow much through here because it was dammed to provide Sydney's water supply.

The Three Sisters in more detail.

There is a cliff-side walk from here to another destination about 2 miles away.  I got Mom to walk it with me, and we captured some lovely scenes along the way.

Once on the other side, we took a very steep railway down to the valley floor.  It's an old coal train that's been reused for passenger service.  Mom was very scared once it started down its 52 degree incline, but she held on and enjoyed it.

From there, there's a 300m walk through an interpretive exhibit about coal mining and local plants.  After that, you get to a skyrail cable car to go back up to the top.  Mom did this well too.

Then it was back to Sydney, where we had dinner on top of the AMP tower in Sydney.  It's very tall. 

Dinner was good, though expensive, because of the view. Mom and Jen both had veal with roasted red pepper sauce and mashed potatoes, with tomato basil mozzarella soup.  I had the game dinner, with crocodile, emu and kangaroo.  The croc had a consistency like chicken but tasted different, though hard to tell what it really tasted like since it was in a black pepper cream sauce.  The emu was in a sweetish barbecue-style sauce, and the kangaroo was in a red pepper gravy.  Mmm... 

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