The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Sunday surprise
Today was a gorgeous day. The kind of day that you wish could last forever: bright, warm, not too hot or cold, with a lovely breeze and low humidity. There were a few clouds in the sky, but nothing threatening. It was a great day to be out and about in Sydney.

For two days, my husband told me that he was taking me somewhere today, that it was a surprise, and that I would love it.

"It has to do with something you love," he said. That could cover many things: antique hunting? A classic car show? Were we going to pick out a dog or cat to rescue from the local animal shelter? Or maybe we were going to an art gallery or museum. The possibilities were endless.

We got into old Hildegaard the Beamer and drove to the railway station, so I figured it had to be something in town. There were heaps of people on the platform and on the train. Maybe a special event was going on in town? I wasn't to know because Dan was not saying anything.

We got down to Circular Quay, and got tickets for the ferry. We were going somewhere on the ferry! Taronga Zoo? Watson's Bay to have lunch at Doyle's famous seafood restaurant?

It was glorious to be out on the water. Little kids were learning how to steer their sailboats in the little harbours along the waterway. They bobbed about like scraps of paper on the wind. Small tourist ships went chugging by with party revellers on board. Everyone seemed to be out on the water today. The sun bounced happily off the waves and the wind blew through my hair as I peered out the window of the Rivercat. About 20 minutes later, we docked at Drummoyne, and I reluctantly disembarked. I loved being out in the harbour on such a fantastic day, but Dan was eager to show me his surprise.

We walked for another 20 minutes, to get to Birkenhead Point. The walk in itself was fantastic. We strolled past large mansions, home to doctors and wealthy businessmen. One such place had been christened "Joie de Vivre." I couldn't have agreed more. Some of the homes looked like small chateaus with stained glass windows and some were patterned after Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. It was an architectural walk of delights.

We finally got to our destination: the Birkenhead Point shopping centre. The centre is a series of old warehouses that have been converted into shops. The brick alleys have been preserved, and three masts stand as a testament to the fact it was once an active port. And then I saw the large banner stretched across the walkway: Mudgee Wine Tasting.

I'm not a wine snob by any means, but I enjoy wine tastings, usually because we come home with a new favorite that we want to enjoy. We eagerly walked out onto the pier where the wine tasting was taking place and stopped in our tracks. The cost to taste wine for the two of us: $30. To taste. Wine. That we may or may not like.

I looked at Dan and Dan looked at me. His heart sank. He hadn't realised the cost involved, and it had taken us over an hour and a half to get out there, via car, train, ferry, and foot.

"I messed up again," he dolefully admitted to no one in particular. I could just imagine his disappointment since he had built up this surprise for so long.

"No," I said. "It was worth it, just to get out on the ferry and see these homes and stroll around on such a fantastic day. And you know how I love to explore places that I've never been to before." It had been fun being totally spontaneous, even though it's not what Dan had planned.

We rode the ferry back to King Street Wharf where we snacked on edamame and sweet potato kusabi at a Japanese style noodle house. And on the way home, I bought a cask of rosé, so we got to enjoy some wine after all. Today was, really, a nice surprise.
posted by Melanie O. at 6:27 PM -
  • At 3:01 AM, Blogger chimera said…

    sounds like a beautiful day, how thoughtful of Dan. and you did have wine in the end !

  • At 3:24 PM, Blogger KGB Files said…


    I thought when I left Sydney that I would be happy to see the back of it forever. Now, I'm not so sure. Great post, and so captures the Sydney I love. Looking forward to getting back there next year. (BTW, also love the banner photo!)

  • At 7:25 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Hi Kat! Miss seeing you around here. Hope that life's treating you well (sounds like you're having quite an adventure!)

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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