Turn on the radio to check the time and hear a news item - the Sydney Tall Ship Festival is being held in partnership with the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review, which will commemorate the first sailing of the Australian Navy into Sydney 100 years ago.
Sixteen tall ships and forty visiting warships will join the Australian Navy "to participate in this historic event". Wow. I like sailors as much as the next girl and this really sounds like a spectacular sight. And historic. And it starts in four days. And Prince Harry will be there.
And yes - it is daylight saving
|War ships and tall ships|
29 September: 7:30 am - Check out flights to Sydney and lastminute.com for hotels. Book same. Spend a ridiculous amount of time reading restaurant reviews.
2 October 6.40 am - Fly out and greet Sydney in all its stunning glory - perfect weather. Although we've been to Sydney before we decide to take a tour. An enterprising young couple started I'm Free Tours in 1999 to share their Sydney with others. No charge but they ask you to tip at the end of the tour. I've done a bunch of walking tours around the world and this would have to be one of the best. Three hours and it covers the bits you generally walk right past without knowing their significance or point of history/interest. Justine is lively, funny and wry. I hope others tip her as much as we do, if not more. Highly recommended even if you've been to Sydney many times before.
|Billy Kwong - photo from website|
3 October 11.00am - We vacate our spot on the grass, just along from the Opera House, to huddle under a tree with people smarter than us who brought coats and umbrellas. So much for my vision of 16 proud ships gliding up the glistening harbour, sails full and billowing set against the blue sky. Instead they arrive in dribs and drabs, few with sails up let alone billowing and we dodge the showers and find shelter in a pub that serves what is immediately my new favourite drink: Espresso Martinis! 60mls espresso, 30 ml vodka, 30 ml tequila.
3 October 6.00pm - Cocktails on the 47th floor of the Australia Square building, which is round. And the bar revolves. Paradoxically while watching the sun go down I drink a Breakfast Martini (my next new favourite drink). Bombay Sapphire gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and a touch of kumquat marmalade. Not sure of the quantities, but I plan to experiment with my home made lime marmalade, the kumquat being a tad sweet for my palate but delicious all the same.
3 October 7.00pm - Meet friends at the new 'go to' restaurant Mr Wong , an impressively large restaurant found down a dark alley.
4 October 12 noon - Board the Soren Larsen, for our pre-booked lunch time cruise to watch some of the international fleet arrive. Spend a lazy and wonderful three hours 'at sea' in the harbour, limited sails aloft, checking out the various Navy vessels arriving or at anchor, and drinking too much ordinary bubbly.
5 October 10.00am
A beautiful day after the rain. We make our way with hundreds of thousands (literally) of others down to the harbour to find a spot to watch the point of the exercise, the International Fleet Review; the Governor General and Prince Harry park up aboard a vessel in the middle of the harbour and all the Navy vessels cruise by, along with formation fly pasts by naval and military aircraft.
Impressive, but I hope there's no invasion anywhere else in Australia - the whole Defence Force seems to be here.
5 October 2.00pm - The forecourt of the Sydney Opera House has reached capacity crowds already. The light-show and fireworks don't start for another five and a half hours. Queue for ages to get a ferry across to Balmain. Friend of a friend lives down by the water and it will be a lot less crowded we hope.
5 October 7.30pm - Half an hour of fairly spectacular fireworks set off from several barges and some of the fleet ships stretching for a couple of kms along the Harbour. While we enjoy the display, we are in no position to see the light-show playing out on the Opera House exterior and on the south side of the Bridge pylons. We watch it on TV later, and are pleased we didn't join the crush downtown.
Apparently the clocks go forward tonight. Wait a minute, didn't we do that last weekend? Yes, Australia put their clocks forward a weeks after us.
6 October 9.30 am - Fly out. Is it really daylight saving again?