By Peg Prendeville

Our trip to Australia is almost over and we will be home this week. It has been a great adventure from northern Australia where the temperature was 36 daily in Darwin to the centre in Uluru where it was a pleasant 24 to the south west and Sydney where it is still very pleasant at 21. We have seen the many trees in the northern territory and the dried scrub red earth of the centre and the richer green land  and lovely Blue Mountains in New South Wales. The huge busy city of Sydney is a major contrast to the laid back city of Darwin and it is hard to imagine we are in the  same country.

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, where we got to see sunrise and sunset was most interesting especially when we  learned the geology and history of the place which is estimated to be 500 million years old. We got to walk around some of the base which has a circumference of 10k and appreciate the spiritual significance of the place for the Aborigine people for whom it means so much.

And then we arrive in Sydney and lights and traffic and busy people and it is  like landing in a different planet. I prefer the quiet solitude so am glad that it is soon time to return to the peace of West Limerick. But I loved walking around the Opera House and driving over Sydney Harbour Bridge and spending a lovely sunny morning in Bondi Beach where many people were bathing and sunbathing in the Sydney winter. The beaches are lovely both in Darwin and Sydney but are not safe to swim in in Darwin due to sharks and crocodiles. However they seem to be quite safe in Sydney.

Everybody is friendly in shops and public places and we have seen no sign of hassle of any kind which is comforting. There was a huge blackout in Sydney on Friday night which shut down tunnels for traffic as well as thousands of homes but we avoided it where we were staying. We were lucky to be in Sydney for The festival of light, which lit up the city centre creating a New Year atmosphere.
All in all we have had a wonderful holiday thanks to our son Sean and his fiancee Bernie as well as to our family at home who kept the show going while we were away. Even the turf got footed! Life is good.