The second stage was to drop small dog off with friends in Aranda who are going to look after her. This is such a great offer (it absolves us of the guilt that would come if she was in kennels for the 3 weeks) that I hope the small beast recognises this. Of course this is traded off, psychologically, by the potential fear that she will not recognise the alternative and we will have generous friends terrorised by a small pooch for 3 weeks. [Note from the future: all went well, to the extent that I think we are now seen by the small dog as far inferior hosts.]
Having done that we headed off to Sydney. That was basically a drive: the interesting item was how readily the car (a Toyota Camry) changed down to 3rd gear when it met a small hill. This must do bad things for economy, although my subsequent calculations were that it still achieved at least the same mileage as our Subaru.
Having then booked into the hotel at Sydney Airport we used our status as officially old people in NSW by getting cheap train tickets - although the 'airport line" charges more than others - and heading off to (more or less) the CBD. The action there was:
Art Gallery of NSW (Ikats of Central Asia; excellent indigenous art);
Botanic Gardens (many brilliant flower beds; a tree “waratah”; hundreds, if not thousands, of fruit bats); and lots of birds harassing visitors!
Chinatown for a nice meal. The menu price was $18 but we got a special deal of $16. We thought: everywhere in Dixon St was offering the same deal.
But it was a very nice way to start the trip!