So we were able to escape the craziness that was Cairns, and flew down to Sydney. Our airline gave us a fright, saying we were not booked onto the flight we had switched on to that morning. That was not a nice surprise, but we were able to talk to the girl from the morning and she made everything alright. Virgin Blue, not planning to fly with you again if I can help it. We did get upgraded, which was exciting! But this just meant slightly more leg room, not even behind a curtain or anything. Not worth the hour of thinking we had to stay in Cairns!
Anyways, on arriving in Sydney, we had no plans, nothing booked at all. There had been no internet in Cairns, and phones were hit and miss too. We talked about flying to Melbourne, as we already had plenty of time scheduled for Sydney but that was still going to be pricey enough, plus a bit of a hassle to get flights so we decided to drop it. Since we flew in late, we ended up getting kicked out of the airport before we had a game plan, and ended up wandering over to a nearby hotel, which had the highest dollar per crap value we hit on our whole trip. We had stayed in hostels that were way nicer than this place. Thankfully, it was near a McDonald's so we headed over there for dinner and some internet time.
We decided to head out east of Sydney to the Blue mountains area. The Dutch boys during the cyclone had told us not to miss them, it was a cheap ($10!) train ride away, and was supposed to be a bit cooler than Sydney, which was finishing out their heat wave. Plan made!
In the morning we had a very expensive breakfast of Krispy Kreme donuts: the original donut was only one worth getting, but man is that donut good. The worker actually gave us a free one, hot of the grill (?), which was heavenly. But wait, I wouldn't know as I only got one bite, turned around and it was gone. Thanks babe, glad we SHARE everything! (Funny fact: I told Andrew I was going to write about this injustice in my diary and I did. Will not forget that one.)
Anyways, we got on the train (air conditioned, thank goodness) and slowly headed out to Katoomba. Those trains do not go fast. But we got to go on a train ride, even though I don't think it's quite what Andrew expected.
Katoomba was nice, small and lowkey. The mountains are not exactly mountains, more like being at the top of a valley, but beautiful none the less. Their main attraction is the Three Sisters formation, which honestly was nothing all that special. We were both kind of drained, from the cyclone and all the flying, so might not have appreciated it fully either. A nice swim and a long nap in the sun perked us up though.
Sunday morning we went to a wee Baptist church. This was a congregation of about 40 people, and the average age was probably 75. We weren't quite sure what to expect, but they really made us feel welcome and at home. Everyone had stories to tell about Canada, and we had a lot of fun hearing about their past travels; it seemed everyone had been somewhere exciting! A highlight was getting invited for lunch by one of the couples. With a little hesititation in our hearts we said yes, but had a very nice time. They took us to see some of the Katoomba sights, made wonderful sandwiches for lunch (so many condiments, we had not had that much choice in a very long time), and even drove us out to the start of a hike after lunch. Thank you again!
Monday we made a last minute decision to stay one more night. It was kind of drizzly and cool out, which was actually really nice. It was also Super Bowl