French-speaking ahoy. Today’s been a very good one. I had to swap rooms this morning, theoretically into the 10-bed I’d originally booked into as it was cheaper. Only I’m in a 6-bed instead, which is strange. It’s more cramped than the 8-bed I just left, but who cares? It’s clean and comfy.
Breakfast was a $6 eat-all-you-can continental affair downstairs, so I wolfed through some Coco-Pops and raisin toast smothered in jam while talking to a girl from England on a gap year before she start on a Events Management degree. Smart cookie – she’s timed things so that her placement year will be 2010 so someone with her skills will be ripe for the picking for the Olympics!
Next up was a quick walk down to Dymocks, the bookstore. I’d spoken to a nice lady on reception last week about scrounging a free European road atlas for the 1000 Mile Walk, and as I was staying less than five minute’s trudge from their head offices, thought I may as well make an appearance.
I was greeted by a nice lady called Janet O’Hanlon who’s PA for one of the big cheeses in Marketing (if I picked things up right). They’d basically decided “hey, why not? He’s not asking for much and it’s a good cause”.
It took a bit of a trawl, but another the nearby branches had the exact tome I was after and it was handed to me gratis for which I am hugely grateful. Anyone in Australia – buy all your books from Dymocks because the rule!
Back at the hostel I popped online briefly and tried to book cheap advance tickets for the Opera House walking tour tomorrow. Unfortunately, their web page was chuffed so I might be skipping the tour again. I’m not paying $26 to walk round a theatre!
Then I caught up with Delphine and Sophie. Sophie’s parents and another random Belgian (Jerome – hi!) are visiting, and I spent the afternoon with them. We bought an all-day monorail pass and circled the small area it covers twice before getting off at Darling Harbour to walk around the Maritime Museum. All very pleasant – it’s a decent way to spend an hour or two.
Somehow, Sophie located a box of treasure in one of the exhibits which contained a note to inform the staff at reception. This netted the whole group of us free tickets (worth $18 a pop) to walk around the submarine and ship they have moored up outside. Bonus!
On the way back, the heavens opened again and we got drenched. All in good fun, though. I wonder if Australia would refund the cost of my visit because it rained?
Sophie’s parents located a nice pub restaurant near their hotel and we went there for dinner. Mixed grill, $12.95. Bargain. And it was nice!
We finished with a couple of beers and wandered “home” in the comparitive warmth and delightful lack of rain.