I'd emailed with Bonza Bike Tours the day before to see if they had any tours with availability for us to join on. Mike, the owner, had previously worked with David in Paris for the Fat Tire Bike Tours there. Mike and Patrick came back promptly to say that we could join their Classic Tour free of charge at 10:30. we gladly took them up on their generous offer! I was excited to be getting back on a bike and see another Bike Tour Company in action from the other side as a participant.
The tour was very good! We were a group of about 15 and with it being hectic because of Fleet Review, two guides (Matt & Adam) were put on the tour
After our bike tour we randomly ran in to Nani, Uli's wife from the PC12 that we last saw in Cairns, on the street! We heard that they had a great time in Fiji. The rest of the group that flew there individually were hit with big fees upon landing, as Fiji doesn't differentiate for small planes smaller than a 737. Given the great time we were having in Australia, expensive as it is, I'm glad we saved lots of money by not flying to Fiji
For Saturday we had two big agenda items: Manly Beach and the Fleet Review fireworks. Matt had told us that Manly Beach was having a jazz festival, so that was an added bonus for us. Even better, the ferry out to the beach would put us past all the Fleet Review action! We weren't the only ones with that idea as the line for the ferry was huge and it took a couple ferries before we could. Get on board. What could have been chaotic and cause for aggravation was very civilized though as everyone as enjoying the great weather and the festivities.
The ferry trip was great. The harbor s abuzz with activity and we were in the thick of it. At one point the ferry even had to slow and then halt as the boat carrying Prince Harry passed in front
Manly Beach and the jazz festival were equally fun. There were numerous stages set up and between the people watching and live music it made for an entertaining vibe. The beach itself was also very pretty and nicely packed but not overly so with surfers ands volleyball players surrounding the sunbathers. We did a bit of swimming (quite cold!) and then enjoyed the sun before grabbing a late lunch. It was a great beach half day. O the ferry ride back - also packed - the Navy helicopters were putting on quite a show. With the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House providing such a unique backdrop, it was a really memorable event. On the one hand it would have been nice to enjoy Sydney when it wasn't so teeming with people. On the other hand the Fleet Review was providing quite a spectacle.
We decided to picnic for the fireworks even though that would put in the fray with the masses
Following the fireworks the spectacle for us continued. The downtown streets were filled with literally millions of spectators. The streets had been blocked off and the organization enviably perfect. Everyone was calm and just enjoying themselves as we joined the throngs shuffling down the blocks. Where were my stereotypical drunken Australian lads in thongs and singlets? ;-). I was relieved and impressed to have my preconceived notions not be correct. To all my Australian buddies, I stand humbly corrected ;-)
On the bike and on the water
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia