Wednesday, 29th March

It was our last time of waking up on the train. I have to admit to a bit of a slow start!  Out of the window it was still very rural through a heavy mist.  Difficult to think we will be in Sydney in a few hours!

By the time we arrived in the dining car for breakfast, the sun had come through and over breakfast we had a glorious view of the Blue Mountains – and I had left my camera in the cabin, so sadly no photos!  It was a great sight.  The Blue Mountains as the are called – I think they are more like big hills really – get their blue tinge from the way the light hits the air over the eucalyptus forest. We were so lucky that the mist had gone.  It was a fantastic ending tothe scenic kaleidoscope that has marked our journey.  

The kitchen had excelled itself again and supplied perfectLy poached eggs and smoked salmon.  

Time was running out on the train, it was as though the sand was running faster through the egg timer.  We returned to our cabin to pack and then sat in the lounge car with our new friends chatting.  We had now reached the outskirts of Sydney and the views were of the buildings of a modern metropolis.  The train continued its relentless journey.  Eating up the final miles.  It has been amazing.  Yet another journey of a lifetime!  We are so lucky.  

The train was too long for the platform, and High Five was in the second section and taken into the second platform.  People were queuing to get off as we moved down the corridor in the opposite direction to collect our bags.  On the platform our bags had been decanted from the luggage car and we picked them up, said a fond farewell to Aileen and Mick who have been the icing on the cake of this section of the 2017 Australian expedition, and the train journey was over.    We hope to meet up with them again  before we leave Australia.  They have invited us to their home (about 4 hours south of Sydney) next week.  We will try to make it happen.  Goodbyes and they were gone and we clamboured into the taxi, heading to the the last,  but not least, final phase of this Australian adventure.  

Sydney is in a bit of a pickle!  Some years ago they removed the tram system that operated in the city.  They are currently putting in a tram system………..  we sat and watched the taxi clock tick over the dollars as we sat unable to do anything to change the situation.  It was a beautiful day and quite hot.  Circa 30 degrees.  We crossed the harbour bridge eventually and started heading out to Collaroy.  We had a lovely Ecuadorean taxi driver who provided us with a running commentary on his family’s emigration from Ecuador to Australia in the 70’s for the whole journey.    There was time for plenty of detail.  

We started to recognise parts of the journey and identify changes.  We eventually arrived at Tony and Justine’s house, let ourselves in and had a wonderful afternoon sitting on their balcony looking over the ocean,   It was cooler up on the plateau – in fact it was perfect.  Once or twice we saw the little seaplane that we had used to get a sky view of the harbour on our previous visit heading down toward the city.   A pelican flew past and a couple of sea eagles came into sight.  

We had wifi.  I caught up with the blogging.  

At four the girls arrived and gave us a lovely warm welcome.  We were re- introduced ro the cats.  It was as if we had been here last week.  Justine was away for the night but Tony arrived and supper was enjoyed by all.   We were treated to several of Coco’s dance routines before the girls went to bed and we sat and yarned with Tony over adventures in Westerm Australia.  Perth is Tony’s home town. Great stuff.  

The only cloud (literally!) on the horizon is the weather.  It looks like wall to wall rain for the next week. 

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