Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Vacation - Day 1 (not including travel) - The Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

We arrived at the Sydney Airport on February 6th.  We Skyped home, got some cash from the cash machine (in case the cab didn't take credit cards) and then headed to the place we were staying (which we acquired through airbnb.com).  Our taxi driver was kind of like one of those frustrating taxi drivers on Amazing Race if you are trying to win the race.  He did not understand English well.  He did have a pen and a card, though, so I could write down the address and he could put it in his GPS.  Unfortunately his GPS did not have our exact street, but he was able to find the neighborhood.  I kept an eye out once we were in the right neighborhood and told him where to turn.  He dropped us off, we went to the door, and some Asian College students opened the door.  We were at the wrong place!

We double checked the address, learned that we were a few houses off, and went to the correct house...or was it.  Dad stayed back a little and I went and rang the door.  It took a few minutes for the person to respond, and the person that opened the door looked nothing like the guy whose place this supposedly was.  I wasn't really sure what to say after showing up at the wrong place a few minutes before, but the guy said, "Are you looking for Max (names changed)".  Relief swept over me - yes, we are.  Come in, he's in the shower right now but will be down in a few minutes.  We put our luggage in a corner and sat down (we could leave our luggage here, but not check in so early).  The roommate came back and asked if we had any questions and we said, "Yes. how is the best way to get to the train station from here?"  He responded that he was actually leaving in five minutes for it, and could give us a ride if we wanted.  We hurriedly looked through our bags for things (a brush, deodorant, some different clothes) but weren't amazingly successful.  He was back quickly saying, "okay.  Let's go."  He introduced us to the salesperson at the station who was very helpful.  We made it to the central station and then stopped for the bathrooms (and I changed my shirt - the shirt I had warn on the long train dirty, had not only been on for almost 2 days straight, but had also been spilled on).  Unfortuately I hadn't been successful at finding my brush or different pants in the time I had.

Looking lovely after 2 days of travel and no time to change!

We headed to the Blue Mountains which are an hour or two from Sydney, bought a ticket for the hop-on, hop-off trolley, and also took several trails at the different stops.  It is a beautiful area.  We saw the 3 sisters,
The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia (near Leura and Katoomba)

 some cascades and falls,
Leura Cascades, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
and the mountains themselves.
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

We ate at Subway for lunch, and at a place that serves breakfast all day at supper.  We also had some shakes there.  I had a strawberry shake, and my dad had a chocolate shake.  They were more like a strawberry milk and a chocolate milk. 

When our train arrived back at the station, we trudged up a hill back to our accommodations.  We still had not met Max, due to some of his friends being in town, and the roommate showed us the room.  I was beginning to wonder if Max really existed :).  There were several other people there that night. It was a bit weird, in my opinion, but when we finally did meet Max, he was very nice, and even drove us to the train station a couple of times on our last day there.

Lessons Learned:

1.  The cabs do take credit cards
2.  Most of the train seats are pretty cool - they can switch directions (see illustration below)

Right-facing seat
The same seat facing left (isn't that cool?)

1 comment:

Beee said...

while not being wildly fun at the time, those mishaps make for better stories in the long run. The train seats remind me of the trainride I took in Alaska. Earl took the same earlier train, but I don't think that he saw them flip the backs, as he got off towards the end of the line to bike back. Thank you for documenting your trip. I did not do as well with mine last August.