A walk-and-go cruise in Australia and New Zealand (2) - Sydney Harbor

    Although Australia has lifted the COVID19 entry restrictions, the cruise company Holland has very strict epidemic prevention measures. Not only does it require all vaccinations against COVID19, but it must also have a negative test for COVI19 within 24 hours before boarding. It also requires everyone on board to wear a mask unless they are eating. From the United States to Australia, there were huge crowds of people along the way, and most of them did not wear masks. It is almost impossible not to be exposed to COVID on the road. How to do it? Only strengthen my own immunity. I take two capsules of Airborne every morning to keep myself in good shape while traveling without getting cold, overworked, or rained. Keep the temperature in hotel rooms or ship cabins above 21C or 70F, wear masks in closed spaces and avoid close contact with other people for a long time. And after returning to the United States, take a good rest for a few days. It seems that these measures are very effective, and the whole journey feels good and energetic.

    Due to jet lag, I went to bed early and woke up earlier. The hotel has a buffet breakfast, which is very convenient, simple and affordable, and coffee and juice are all available. I also really like the hot soup there.

    Sydney, Australia's largest city, is also a cosmopolitan, diverse and prosperous city. Sydney has a population of approximately 5.5 million people and English is the official language, although many other languages ​​can be heard from around the world. Sydney is located on the east coast of Australia and is the capital of New South Wales. The urban area of ​​Sydney is located on the south bank of Sydney Harbour, surrounded by mountains and ocean, with picturesque scenery. Sydney has a rich cultural background and history, including Aboriginal Australian culture and European colonial history. The Sydney Opera House, Harbor Bridge and Sydney Tower are iconic buildings and attractions that attract many tourists. Sydney has a mild climate with four distinct seasons. It is hot and humid in the Australian summer (December to February). Sydney has two international cruise terminals, one at Circular Quay and the other at White Bay. I called to inquire about the cruise company and learned that it was Circular Quay. Because in the end which terminal may change at any time, just like the boarding gate of the plane often changes. I want to go to Circular Quay to confirm it first, so as not to panic temporarily.

    Circular Quay is in the Rocks (The Rocks NSW), a historic masonry neighborhood of sand-paved alleys, dead-ends and courtyards in the heart of Sydney, on the edge of Sydney Harbour. The history of this area can be Dating back to Sydney's early settlements, it is home to many cultural and historical attractions. There are many museums, galleries, boutiques, pubs and small shops in The Rocks, making it an ideal place for visitors to learn about Sydney's early history and culture. People can enjoy food and entertainment here. I bought a stuffed koala bear with a baby koala on its right shoulder at the gift shop in The Rocks for our cute little granddaughter.

    I took the train from Central Station (Central) to Circular Quay for three stops. When I got off the train, I saw the international cruise terminal. A cruise ship had just arrived, and people were dragging their luggage off the ship and walking towards the station. I went to the cruise terminal and asked a staff member what ship was on Saturday. She was very enthusiastic to find it for me, and then told me that it was MAJESTIC PRINCESS, and said with a smile that whoever has the largest ship would berth at Circular Quay, because the cruise ship departing from White Bay must pass under the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It seems that our Holland ship was smaller, so it's a pity that a good place was given to the big ship PRINCESS. I found out later that everything was the best arrangement. The cruise ship passing under the Sydney Harbor Bridge is a picturesque and fascinating scenery. All the tourists on the ship rushed to the deck, waved and cheered with the Harbor Bridge and the pedestrians on the bridge, and there was joy.

    Image by Alistair McLellan from Pixabay

    The Sydney Harbor Bridge is an iconic bridge and one of the main attractions in central Sydney. Completed in 1932, it connects Sydney's city center to the northern suburbs across Sydney Harbour. Visitors can walk, cycle or drive across the bridge and enjoy stunning views of Sydney's seascape and skyline from the bridge.

    Image by Squirrel_photos from Pixabay

    This time I wanted to walk on the bridge, and when I got to the rock area, the bridge was right in front of me. Just can't see the elevator on the bridge. There happened to be a British couple who also wanted to go on the bridge, so we walked together and quickly found the elevator to get on the bridge. From the bridge, we could see the International Cruise Terminal and the Sydney Opera House.

    Image by Pascal Beckmann from Pixabay

    The Harbor Bridge is the only bridge that can be climbed. From a distance, I saw many people slowly moving up the bridge ridge. At high altitude, the sea breeze must be howling. The people climbing are really brave and full of adventurous spirit. Of course, a glimpse of the peerless beauty will make them unforgettable for life.

    It's a pity that when we walked on the bridge, the weather gradually became gloomy, and it was going to rain heavily. Everyone was rushing back. A mother was playing and running with a little boy, so cute.

    After getting off the bridge, I went to the Mercantile Hotel for lunch. It was my favorite fish and chips. At this time, it was raining heavily. I was secretly glad that I did not encounter such heavy rain on the Harbor Bridge.

    After lunch, it rained and the sky cleared. I immediately started walking along the sea to the opera house. The Sydney Opera House is one of Australia's iconic buildings and one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It sits on the edge of Sydney Harbor, and has a distinctive sail-shaped roof design. People can enjoy world-class performances here, including opera, ballet, concerts and plays. In addition, the ground floor of the opera house is a rest area and restaurant, surrounded by many beautiful parks and restaurants, it is an ideal place to relax and enjoy cultural activities.

    Image by reinhardcwieland from Pixabay

    Looking towards the International Cruise Terminal on the way to the Opera House, it was very beautiful.

    Image by Tobi from Pixabay

    Sydney has countless fun places, Bondi Beach, Hyde Park, Sydney Tower, Wollongong, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, Darling Harbor, Taronga Zoo, Jenolan Caves, Nan Tien Temple, Centennial Park, Queen Victoria Building, Chinese Garden and Chinatown, Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Harbor National Park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, University of Sydney, Sydney St. Andrew's Cathedral, Circular Quay, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Museum, St. St. Mary's Cathedral, Mrs. Macaulay Seat, Sydney Wildlife World, Wollongong City Gallery, Rose Bay, Sydney Observatory, Three Sisters. So many interesting places, where should we go tomorrow? I'm still a kid at heart, going to Taronga Zoo tomorrow.


    A Walk-And-Go Cruise in Australia and New Zealand (1)

    When I'm craving an unforgettable sea adventure, an Australia and New Zealand cruise is an excellent choice. It's home to stunning coastlines, spectacular mountains and one of the world's most beautiful cities, Sydney. December to February is summer in Australia. The weather is sunny and warm during this time. In late January 2023, from Minnesota, the world of ice and snow fairy tales in winter, to Australia and New Zealand, which are full of beautiful sunshine in summer, it is so attractive to take a walk-and-go cruise!

    A goddess who just went to college at the age of 87 said a famous saying: "We don't stop playing because we are old, but we grow old because we stop playing." I very much agree. I also like the ideal life represented by the famous online sentence "Poetry and the Distance". My poem is a poem from the Tang Dynasty, "If you are happy in life, you must enjoy it to the fullest, don't let the golden cup be empty to the moon", and the distance is of course Australia and New Zealand half a world away.

    I'll do it right away and check it out online. Soon found out that Norwegian has a 12-day Spirit cruise. Isn't this the last time I took it on a pre-pandemic Mediterranean and Middle East cruise? Great cruise! If you depart from Mingzhou on February 5, you will arrive in Sydney just in time for the departure on February 8. It was the end of January at that time, that's all, I was going to buy a boat ticket and air ticket the next day. Unexpectedly, when I bought the ticket, I found that the price of the ticket increased by 117% in one day. I thought to myself that the stock market has not risen so fast, and air tickets are already expensive, so how can I bear the price increase? Thinking about it later, looking at other cruises, Holland America Line's Noordam has an almost identical itinerary, 14 days. The ship sailed on February 11 and disembarked on February 25. The time was just right, and it was Noordam. After I bought the ticket, I checked it out. It turns out that the US passport requires a visa for Australia and New Zealand, which is very easy. These are two mobile apps. After downloading from the App store, I enter my personal information, take a photo, and receive the visa within a few minutes after paying the money.

    After packing my luggage, I booked a hotel. I knew that Sydney’s public transportation system is very convenient, so I found the hotel Mercure Sydney near the Central Railway Station. I arrived in Sydney three days in advance, not only can I play first, but also I am not afraid that the delay of the plane will affect the departure of the cruise. Departed on February 6th, after a transit in Houston and a 22-hour flight, one day was lost when crossing the international date line, and it was early morning on February 8th when we arrived at Sydney Airport. Australia no longer checks for COVID, so customs clearance is simple and easy. After picking up the luggage, follow the Trains sign and soon come to the subway station.

    I was told that US credit cards can be used to board the subway directly. It is extremely convenient to use, just press the credit card to enter the station, find the railway line of The central railway station, and you will arrive after a few stops. Press the credit card again to get out of the station, turn left at the gate of the train station, and you can see my hotel not far away. I arrived at the hotel at 9 am, too early to check in. After I left my luggage at the hotel, I walked to the Sydney China Town Hotel not far away and ordered Shanghai Xiaolongbao.

    Image by KANGHEE HAN from Pixabay

    After eating, walk towards the port and watch the street view of Sydney. The streets are full of people, healthy, beautiful and friendly, and prosperous. Soon I saw the Circular Quay elevated train station, facing the harbor. As soon as I arrived, I saw a lot of people going in at the opposite ferry terminal. It turned out to be a port cruise ferry. I was on board right away as soon as I pressed my credit card. It is unbelievable that the most famous Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House are right in front of you.

    Image by falco from Pixabay

    Image by Design n Print from Pixabay

    I disembarked at Barangaroo. Barangaroo is a coastal area on the west side of Sydney Harbour, which was once a port used for shipping and industry. Over time, the area has been redeveloped into a mixed-use urban area, including high-end residences, offices, shopping malls, restaurants, parks, and a cultural center. I disembarked here. I bought a cup of ShareTea pearl milk tea and sipped it under the shade of the trees by the sea, watching the happy crowd coming and going by the sea.

    The goal of the Barangaroo project is to create a sustainable urban community that promotes economic development, cultural exchange and environmental protection. The project redesigns the entire area with multiple buildings and public spaces, including the following main components:

    Barangaroo Central: This area is a cultural hub, including multiple theatres, museums and cultural centers, and the new campus of the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

    Barangaroo South: This area mainly consists of commercial buildings and high-end residences. One of the most famous buildings is the International Finance Center Sydney Tower, the second tallest building in Sydney with a height of 271 meters.

    Barangaroo Reserve: This area is a public park covering about 6 hectares and is one of the largest parks in downtown Sydney. Its design is inspired by the traditional culture of Sydney's Aboriginal people, including native vegetation, rock and water features, and a 360-degree view of the skyline.

    Barangaroo is a vibrant and lively area, with many well-decorated restaurants and a new and tidy cityscape. This attracts all kinds of people, from business people to culture lovers, from locals to tourists. Its future remains vibrant and will be a vital part of the Sydney metropolitan area.

    I took the city loop train back to the hotel from the WYNYARD subway station here. Today is Chinese food day, I brought a Hainanese chicken rice back to the hotel for dinner. Mercure Sydney gave me a room on the top floor with a wide view, clean and bright. The first day in Sydney passed happily.


    Letters to Juliet - A Fifty-Year-Old Letter to Finding True Love

    "Letters to Juliet" is an American romantic film released in 2010, directed by Gary Winick, and the cast includes Amanda Seyfried, Juliet Binoche, Christopher April and others. Set in Verona, the film tells the story of an American girl, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), who finds true love in Italy.

    Sophie and her fiancé Victor (Gael García Bernal) came to Verona for a trip. She found a group of women in an attraction called "Juliet's House" replying to the love letters written by tourists to "Juliet". She joined them , to help an English lady, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), find her young Italian holiday lover, Lorenzo (Franco Nero), a young Italian who has been separated for years. While Sophie helps Claire find her lover, she also finds her true love.

    With the romantic streets, architecture and food of Verona as the background, the film presents Italian culture and romantic atmosphere. The storyline is full of warmth and emotion, with romantic love, friendship and family emotions, it is a movie full of sensibility and positive energy.

    Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay


    Home Oven Slow Roasted Whole Ribeye Steak

    I went to Portland, Oregon for fun in 2016, and then I rented a car for a self-driving tour. I went to Butte, Montana via Pocatello, Idaho in the evening , hurriedly found a local restaurant to buy a steak and went to the hotel for dinner. Unexpectedly, the steak was grilled very delicious. Maybe it was because I was hungry at the time, and the taste was unforgettable for a long time. This year, I passed through Butte, Montana again. Unfortunately, I have forgotten which steak restaurant it is, what a pity.

    Try grilling yourself a whole (4lb-10lb) rib eye steak recently, about 1lb per diner, here's how:

    1. Buy ribeye roast at Costco, a large steak

    2. 6 hours before entering the oven, place the steak on a baking tray with a tin foil pad, sprinkle a little salt, black pepper, and 2 kinds of chopped spices Rosemary and Thyme on the outside of the steak. Use kitchen cotton to tie the whole steak into a circle, put the long-rooted spices at the bottom, cover with plastic film and put it in the refrigerator

    3. Take it out of the refrigerator 2 hours before baking, remove the plastic film
    4. Preheat oven to 500°F
    5. Bake for 15 minutes at 500°F to brown the skin
    6. Cool down to 325°F
    7. 13 minutes per pound of steak, or 52 minutes for a 4 pound steak at 325°F
    8. Continue grilling for an additional hour or so at 325°F so a 4 lb steak would be a maximum of 1 hour and 52 minutes
    9. Test the internal temperature several times with a digital thermometer to determine doneness
    10. Rare (Very Rare 125°F – 130°F ), Medium Rare (Medium Rare 130°-140°F) or Well-done (Well-Done 160°F+)
    11. Take it out of the oven and wrap it in tin foil to cool for 20 minutes. At this time, guests can drink and chat
    12. Cut and serve!

    When it comes to steak, don't forget the Horseradish and Au Jus.

    Image by Larry White from Pixabay

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