Assisted by the street directory we managed to get our luggage to my uncle’s place and the camper van to Apollo (the place we hired it from). Unfortunately we managed to get one of those rare specimens at Apollo; the unfriendly Australian. Tips about camper vans: fill it up before you return the van, because they charge 4 times the local price per litre (Tim went to another petrol station and returned the van a bit later). Don’t be nice and try to prepare the chemical toilet for them; everything has to be completely empty. Make sure you don’t stand sloped when you empty the grey water, because if something is left in the tank you have to empty it in a bucket and dispose of it elsewhere.
We took the train to Circular Quay because we wanted to take the ferry to Manly one last time, as a goodbye to Sydney. It was late by then, so we sailed away in twilight, seeing the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge getting dark and then being lighted in the dark night. Sydney changed from huge modern skyscrapers in daylight to a vast darkness with a million lights. No pictures unfortunately: a moving boat is not the best place to take pictures of dark places.
In Manly we took a cab to my uncles house, and went out to an Italian restaurant. My niece came after dinner with her bloke and daughter, which was really nice. We have corresponded with very irregular intervals since I was 12 and she has been to the Netherlands a few times, so it was really nice to see her here again. Her daughter and our boys got on like a house on fire (literally, lots of screaming and running away), so they had a great (but late) evening too.
This morning we woke with the rising of the sun, as usual this holiday. We sorted out our luggage and packed everything as efficient as possible. We had to buy two new bags en route to carry the new buys to replace our missing luggage, and they are totally filled. Lost luggage will do that to you, but how we will get everything home is something I hardly dare to think about. We already had a hard time getting all bags from Haarlem to Schiphol and we now have a lot more to carry. The cab we took yesterday was a little van, and the bloke promised to be here at one to transport us to the airport, so that should be doable, and in the Netherlands we might commit some taxi-taking too.
I’ll try to find the time for a concluding post with our observations and tips for other Australian tourists; the conclusion about our holiday is clear enough. We had a whale of a time and would love to visit again!