We woke up and headed into the Executive Club for a free breakfast. They had vegetarian fried rice which was a weird choice, I thought, but it was tasty. Also cereals, breads, parfaits, fresh fruit, pastries, fried eggs, sausages, and some juices. It was a nice spread. We filled up there and then headed out into the Royal Botanic Gardens. We enjoyed the sunny weather and walking all up and down through the vast lush gardens. Down near the end was a great view of the opera house and bridge. After a couple of hours of enjoying the scenery and the birds we looped back around past the opera house to the quay in search of lunch. We ended up at a little deli counter where we got schnitzel, falafel, and a vanilla slice. I’d read all about vanilla slices before coming, but didn’t know quite what it was. It looks like a piece of cake sort of. This one wasn’t very good, but I’d imagine they’re quite tasty when freshly made. It was sort of a crust with a thick vanilla custard on top, and then another thinner crust and a layer of sugary frosting, almost like a huge napoleon.
We ate our sandwiches on a bench in a park right opposite the quay. From this spot we could see a bus stop where every few minutes a big city bus would come by that said Free Shuttle. That was a good thing to find because it really is free and it goes right from the quay to the front door of our hotel! We hopped on that and rode back to the Sheraton. Now that the St. Patrick’s stuff had been almost completely cleaned up from Hyde Park we took the time to walk in and around the area. There are a lot of statues and memorials, most of them honoring war veterans and a few honoring early founders. There were a lot of neat birds, fountains, and across the street were a church and a couple museums. It really reminded me of Boston here, and not just the fact that its a harbor city. There was even a reflecting pool across from a church, a lot of the old stone architecture next to modern high rises, and a beautiful green space in the middle of the city with a lot of people using it. We saw a group of people in bartending school learning how to do cool bottle flips and tricks in the grass. We had some time to relax back in the room, and peek at the rooftop pool before heading out to the rugby match.
The trains to get there were pretty easy to figure out and we arrived to the Olympic park about an hour before game time. They had another rugby match of younger players going on so we watched that first. Before the trip we had checked to see who the home team was and made sure to buy seats in their cheering section. We stopped in the gift shop at the stadium and I bought a little bear wearing the home team jersey so I could cheer properly for them and have a little memento of the experience. The home team is named the Rabbitohs and their mascot is a funny looking rabbit. I wished my toy was a rabbit, but instead it’s a bear wearing a rabbit jersey so I kept calling him RabbitBear. We grabbed some typical stadium food and settled into our seats. Rugby has a running clock of 2 forty minute halves so it’s a pretty short event. It was an intense game that was close right at the end and we had to sometimes google specific rulings to understand what was happening, but we had a great time. And the Rabbitohs won in their first home game of the season! Definitely a fun way to end the day.