Nelson was fantastic, I lost weight, got fit and made new friends and I shall return for a few days visit later in the year but meanwhile the homeowner returned on 4th August and I flew up to Auckland to spend a week visiting old friends. It was good to see them and to catch up with all their news but it was COLD and I was glad to get back to Cronulla on the 12th.
Yesterday I took the train into the city and then a ferry out to Birkenhead Point, an old factory building that has been redeveloped into a designer outlet centre whose floors offer tremendous views. It was a perfect day to be on the water and, as always, a great opportunity to get different views of the City.
After NOT spending too much money (hooray) I caught a bus back to the CBD and paid a visit to the iconic Queen Victoria Building (known affectionately by Sydneysiders as the QVB) and was stunned by it's beautiful architecture. Designed as a marketplace and built as a monument to that famous lady it was erected at a time when Sydney was in the throes of severe austerity and the aim of such an ornate building was partly to provide work for an unemployed labour force of artisans. The building fills an entire city block and provides four floors of truly opulent shopping. Almost every exclusive designer you could think of has an outlet here and although the price tags might be off the scale for many of us it's ground floor leads straight into a labyrinth of other (more financially accessible) malls in which it would be easy to get lost.
The train journey back to Cronulla was eventful as half way here we all had to disembark due to a power cut that took out a large area. Apparently a truck had crashed into a pylon at around 10am and the power was not restored until mid afternoon. The trains out of the city were not stopped and passengers were not advised that their journey would be curtailed so the result was that hundreds of us were standing around outside Sutherland Station waiting for promised buses that did not arrive. Eventually we were advised that the trains were running again and the first one out was rammed. Hey ho, if I had been at home, as originally planned, I would have been without power for six hours so at least I got to drink some coffee.
T&B are off to spend a weekend of mountain biking and caving so I will be walking Cronulla and preparing for tomorrow when I go back to Eastwood for a ten day house sit. It will be good to see Viv and Cris again and to have the company of the lovely Josie while they are away and I expect to have plenty of relaxation and nothing more taxing than 'which book should I read next'.