On The Rocks...Just How I Like It!

Checked in to my favorite Holiday Inn, showered, fed and rested; I met my brother and sister-in-law in the lobby Friday afternoon!
My husband chose this hotel in 2002 for it's rooftop pool, perfect bridge view and proximity to Circular Quay ferries and trains. It was important to come back and I wasn't disappointed. It's in Old Sydney, right down at the rocky water edge; with narrow streets and cobbled footpaths that date back to the 1780s. It's continually rennovated and upgraded with modern rooms, electrical adapters available at the front desk and a staff happy to meet all your needs.

When I noticed my now sandaled feet were still swollen; Elisha brought a bucket of ice to my room. A server in the dining room and lobby bar with a major in hospitality management; she continued to check on me over the next few days. When I returned to this hotel two weeks later, she greeted me by name and remembered just how I liked my burgers (well done and plain) and drinks (no ice.) I now call her my friend! Duty Manager Chris helped me with the correct ship terminology for this piece.

Much of Coastal Australia has gone to self service; even at the white table cloth level. Place your order at the counter, pay and wait for your buzzer to go off. This I didn't like at first, but you get used to it and the food is always good. Luckily, my favorite place to eat is exactly the same and still has table service; Caminetto's Italian Restaurant. Tucked into the sandstone walls behind the hotel, it's mostly outdoor tables with candlight and evening breezes. It's where Jim and I first felt the charm of this historical part of the city, where we found a wine we loved and drank for years after. Tonight it's the first place we headed to toast my arrival.

In between ancient timbered doorways are steep little stairs that lead to who knows where...take the steps and have a look! You'll find cruise ships in the harbor, musicians, street markets, pubs and cafes the size of a closet! Can you see the berthed Radiance of the Seas if you peek through this passage?

Queen Mary 2 was in port the evening we walked the Quay. Holy Huge seeing her up close! Moored between the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House, it's size dwarfed these two Sydney icons! At 9:00 PM the horn sounded, fireworks lit the sky and she was underway to open seas again. There's a precise timetable for these vessels; sometimes two and three are in port at once. If there's no room nor enough depth to dock, passengers are tendered ashore to spend the day.

 Next we were off to another familiar place in the Rocks; the old Orient Hotel Bar. American girl that I am, I ordered a Margarita on the rocks, no salt...and sat outside enjoying my family time. First time in six years we've seen each other.

These are the steps I've always longed to sit on again. The same angled spot where Jim and I spent our last night in Oz. The Opera House over his shoulder, the Bridge over mine. We held hands on the other side of the world and realized how far we'd come in life.

The next day we all ferried to Watson Bay and my brother and I hiked out to South Head; the gateway to the same Pacific Ocean where I'd wave at sunset from California; wishing him a lovely morning sunrise.
The Rocks section of Sydney is my favorite spot on earth. But Australia is my brother's homeland. I'm here now to be with him and his family and make new memories.