Have I ever enjoyed the weather on Christmas Eve so much? I doubt it. Sunny and clear, in the high 70s and with a light breeze — it could not have been more perfect.
I started the day with a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden. The lush expanse of green lawns and colourful flower beds were so summery and lovely.
On the surface it looked any other garden, but the birds were all wrong. Well, not “wrong”, but exotic. For example, these long-legged and long-billed birds were everywhere . . .
. . . and this little guy was the closest thing I saw to a pigeon.
Ever a sucker for a water feature, this pool and fountain looked lovely and peaceful.
Then I learned that below the still surface lurked duck-eating freshwater eels!
The gardens cover an expanse of waterfront with stunning views of Sydney Harbour’s most famous landmarks, the opera house and bridge. I called Justin and gave him a tour as I walked along the promenade.
The opera house is really quite remarkable. It’s not quite in the tier of buildings that exceed all expectations (like the Hagia Sophia or the Taj Mahal), but it certainly has a striking profile and that magical quality of shifting with every change in perspective, do you never quite feel like you’ve figured it out.
As much as I enjoyed the man-made landmarks, I also kept coming back to the flowers. It was as though my winter-bound brain couldn’t get over the fact that here I was suddenly back to summer.
And let’s be honest, the flowers and the architecture are a winning combination.
I contemplated just staying there all day, but I was starting to feel a bit peckish, so I walked to the other side of Circular Quay where the Museum of Modern Art offered a shady spot for lunch with a view.
After that I headed out to Surrey Hills to pick up the keys to the flat where Amanda and I will be staying the rest of the week. In particular, I wanted to make sure to stock up on some basic food supplies in case all the restaurants were closed on Christmas Day.
But one that business was taken care of, I ordered an Uber and went to the beach! Not to swim or sunbathe, but to do a 6 km hike down the coast from Bondi to Coogee. I figured it was the sort of “nature-y” thing Amanda wouldn’t mind my doing without her.
I started at Bondi, with its massive expanse of white sand and sunbathers . . .
. . . which quickly gave way to rugged coastline . . .
. . . with a series of cliffs and inlets running southward . . .
. . . along the way I enjoyed seeing the crowds of happy people in the beach. Some had even brought along their Christmas trees and Santa hats for their Christmas Eve swim!
By the time I got to Coogee it was about 6:30pm. The sun was getting lower and I figured it was time to head back to the hotel for a Christmas Eve dinner and bed.
Merry Christmas Eve!