On Friday we travelled south to The Highlands Lake House, on Shale Lane, just outside Mittagong / Bowral.
We stopped for breakfast at Mittagong, then visited Aldi to purchase some groceries – bacon for Sunday, salt for margaritas – before driving to the Lake House to meet the others preparing the barn and the lakeside area for the wedding.
While Mike’s mum Bea baked several wedding cakes in the Lake House, many others took on several jobs outside and in the barn area – setting up outdoor lights for the evening, preparing the wedding arch, creating signage, moving fire pits and generally looking busy.
By 5pm I was worn out and feeling slightly unwell. Soon after Louise presented Rachel with her hen party messages from those in the UK who couldn’t attend the wedding, I crashed out in bed.
The others went to Bowral for dinner. On their return they partied for hours.
On the Wednesday we had a family outing to Taronga Zoo, Mosman. Once again Gr. and family set off early. We went round to Rachel and Mike’s and got a lift with Bea and Alfie, arriving at the North entrance a couple of hours later.
We did eventually meet up with the Cowes for a late lunch, then visited the Chimps, Tigers, Giant Tortoises and the free flight bird show, before catching the ferry back to Circular Quay then tram and bus home.
Dinner was a chicken pasta dish at Rachel and Mikes.
In 2020 we walked with Mike and Rachel from Coogee to Bondi beach. This year we did the reverse journey. Before arriving at Bondi beach we stopped at Bondi junction to buy a few essentials:
Another SIM card
A picnic lunch from Kibbutz Bondi
Some fruit for our picnic lunch
Jeremy Clarkson’s second book on Diddly Squat
When we arrived at Coogee we got straight on the next bus to Maroubra. Just as it left the bus stop we spotted Louise waving to us from the bar opposite. We’d followed in their footsteps but alway at least an hour behind.
We arrived in Sydney around 7:10 am and after waiting at the wrong carousel for our luggage for around 10 minutes cleared customs and went to buy an Aussie SIM card. Graeme, Louise, Ava and Isla appeared a few minutes later having already met up with Rachel, Mike and Alfie. We loaded up the cars and were whisked away to New Orleans Crescent for a refreshing shower and change of clothes.
We then set out for a walk to Maroubra beach and the mandatory paddle. Isla wasn’t quite prepared for the power of the sea and had an early dip. For the next couple of hours, while her dress dried, she wore Graeme’s spare top.
After a coffee we headed back to Rachel and Mike’s then on to our Airbnb on Marine Parade, overlooking the Mahon Pool
That evening, we all headed to The Bay Hotel, for a couple of drinks and something to eat.
The next morning, after a swim and breakfast, Susan wanted to check out Marks and Spencer in the shopping mall in Orchard Road. But we found it didn’t open until 10, so headed of to Little India first.
Having done the full tour of temples in 2009 we only visited one of them before catching the MRT back to Chinatown for another lunch at the Maxwell Food Centre.
Later back at M&S Susan decided not to purchase what she was looking for.
After a rest back at the hotel we set off for Raffles, to sample the Singapore Sling that we’d skipped on our previous visit.
The place had undergone a major refit in recent years. It no longer looked dismal and cold. We queued for a while but eventually were led to the 3rd floor Long Bar where we ate monkey nuts and chatted to an Aussie while waiting for our drinks.
Having decided that one Singapore Sling was enough we set off to Satay by the Bay again. As we exited the Gardens by the Bay MRT station (on the TEC – brown line) we noticed the moon above the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Venus just behind the moon. The photo doesn’t do it justice.
After the equivalent of a full English breakfast at the YWCA we headed to the Singapore Botanical gardens with the intent in visiting the National Orchid Garden. It transpired that in order to get the concession rate for over 60’s we needed to show proof of age. I had neither my passport nor driving license, nor photos of them in my phone. Susan was able to prove her age; and I was let off.
The ticket seller had also suggested I could show my Covid vaccine certificate. Having already received our tickets, at the super discount rate of $3 rather than $15, I found the certificate and went back to the counter to confirm my old fogeyness. Later that day I photographed both my passport and driving licence for future occasions.
We left the botanical gardens by the south entrance and found an MRT station called Napier on the Thomson-East Coast line. This brown line wasn’t on the map I’d picked up in the airport. Lucky for us it took us directly to Maxwell, right next to the Maxwell Food Centre, where we intended to have lunch.
That evening we headed to the Observation Deck at the Marina Bay Sands, then after sunset headed to Satay by the Bay, where we had Satay and a beer.
After landing early at Singapore Airport, Changi, our taxi driver whisked us to the YWCA, Fort Canning. From there we headed to the MRT at Dhoby Ghaut to travel to the Gardens by the Bay.
These gardens, and the massive Marina Bay Hotel, hadn’t been built when we first visited Singapore in 2009. We wandered idly trying to find somewhere to drink.
We didn’t quite make it to Satay by the Bay, so after photographing a couple of transformers, we returned to Dhoby Ghaut and had a pint at the nearest pub to the hotel, the Tap @ 9 Penang, which I’d reccied earlier.