....Having woken up bleary eyed, team Allitt went to the Harbour and ate pancakes for breakfast(we haven't been keeping up with the healthy life style) then jumped on the ferry to Circular Quay.
On the ferry we played our first game of Top Trumps of the day. The children have become grand masters in the art of Top Trumps, soundly beating both parents, although I do suspect a little cheating goes on.
As I suffered another defeat, this time to Lady Martha the ferry turned a corner and in front of us was the iconic structure of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Although I had seen it before, it was breath-taking. Then a minute later, the Opera House came into view, what an amazing building and completely bonkers, David Bailey (Mrs Allitt) was snapping away on her camera.
We climbed the fifty steps to the entrance of the Opera House and it's more impressive close up, I am amazed it was allowed to be built (Although the architect Utzon, was forced to resign before it was finished and hounded out of the country by politicians).
The afternoon saw us off to Coogee by bus. We arrived and I was, underwhelmed. It was shabby in comparison to the Quays/ Darling Harbour, there was little going on and the beach seemed small.
I was disappointed and felt a little silly about how I had built up Coogee in my mind. Even the famous Coogee Bay Hotel, which had seen many legendary escapades by myself and Rik, seemed a bit old worldy and out of step with the rest of Sydney.
We sat on the steps of the esplanade and although overcast and cool, the kids went in the sea.
But as the afternoon went on and it got busier and backpackers ran into the sea (then out again), it occurred to me that it was a Tuesday afternoon in winter and the tide was in (so not at it's best).
Later Max and I retired to the pub (Coogee Bay Hotel) to have a beer/lemonade and play Top Trumps whilst the girls went window shopping.
Towards the end of the afternoon, I took a walk up the Coogee Bay Road by myself to look at where I used to live. There were busy cafes and shops but unlike Darling Harbour, everything seemed laid back, chic and all the people in the cafes looked interesting.
It then dawned on me that Coogee Bay is the alternative to the new polished sophisticated Sydney. The Rough Guide describes Coogee as having a feeling of San Francisco about it and it has. I realised this was the Australia I knew and loved.