On a sweltering hot day Karen and decided to get up close and personal with the Opera house and Botanical Gardens. Packing a light picnic lunch we wandered off to find a nice place to sit and eat. From a distance the Opera house is iconic and does make you stop and look. Up close it looks a bit grubby and the concrete surroundings do make the area a little sterile, but once you round the corner and enter in to the garden things begin to change. They are a great place to wander and we meandered through aimlessly, eventually ending up wandering along the path on the waters edge to Miss Macquarie’s Chair. When we reached the point we got a great view back to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. To top it all off a big sailing ship was in the harbour making for another of those Kodak moments. We climbed up the hill to top and ran into a bus full of American Tourists. We beat a retreat worthy of the British Army at Dunkirk under the onslaught of the mountains of brightly clothed loudspeakers, and headed back into the centre of the park. We found a spot under a huge tree and tucked into our picnic with a view across the harbour. We got to watch a wedding reception underway below us, one of five we came across that day. A bit of further exploration found a path charting some of the aboriginal history over the last two hundred years. Reading about Benelong, the early explorers and some of the early civil liberties history. Coming from Africa and England our history lessons tend to be along the lines of: “Here’s lots of stuff about the Zulus, the Indians, the Europeans and the Americans, they whopped our behinds a few times. There’s also these guys on an island on the opposite of the world, they didn’t, so forget about them”. It was an interesting few minutes on my part. The gardens are a nice way to get away from ‘Sydney the city’ without much effort. Although I think that to do it on a weekend in summer might be a bit different. A quick swing back past on of the most recognisable buildings in the world and it was back onto the double decker train (which I love) back home.