Almost got lost straight away. I know there are steps down to the Spit somewhere, and the back streets behind Seaforth feel right, but pavements disappear very quickly and it looks like I have to walk through someone's garden almost. But I press on, and no-one stops me, and hey - there's the staircase. These are even steeper and made of more metal than I remember. I'm not a big fan.
Across the Spit Bridge, circle around under it to cross the road away from the Mosman parkrun venue, past the cafe and expensive boat sales place and then back up hill, winding around Parrawi road rather than staying on the main drag.
There's stairs and corridors in all kinds of directions, but I'm going to go as straight as I can.
What with all the descending, there's soon some water in view.
Doesn't take long for me to actually reach water level. If I'm heading to the bridge, this is bad, but look just there on the right: that's a public ferry stop!
The steps start off pretty ordinary, with the greenery only slightly getting in the way. But very shortly the steps become just rocks, and the plants completely dominate. Some of it is a bit treacherous, slippery, steep, and I have to hold onto a tree or clamber a bit to maintain my footing.
I get back down to sea level and feel a bit, hmm, is getting back up going to be so easy? My ankle has nearly turned over a couple of times and I'm amused by the potential idiocy of spraining it and getting stuck.
The final path out really does seem impenetrable, but there's an alternate and whew, I'm back from my intrepid side trip and back onto the path.
As far as I know I'm now walking to Cremorne Point ferry stop, so I'm confused as to how I'm ascending again. A few more people start to appear within the reserve and then, oh! Water, the CBD, and that bridge thing again.
It's down beneath me, but beforehand there's time to walk up to the point itself. There's more dogs not on leashes, a playground, and a decent place to sit and contemplate. Oh, and some Irish obelisk.
At the ferry stop there's an 8 minute wait until the next boat to Circular Quay. I tap in, and stop my watching recording my walk. It's been about 9km, it hasn't been flat, and I'm pretty drenched in sweat under my coat.
Oh boy, they have a lot of spirts here. Bottom shelf mostly gin, middle shelf mostly whisky, top shelf their own stuff.
Here's my boilermaker ingredients: a 54.8% whisky paired with a 10% imperial stout. Unsurprisingly, this was extravagantly nice.
The back of the seating area is full of actual barrels ready to be shipped.
I take my time, what with having barely eaten, expended a lot of calories, and the strength of the drinks (not to mention the price). Me and the barman chat every so often, and I scan all the bottles for things I recognise. It seems weird to spot Lamb's Rum amongst all the good stuff. Likewise Campari.
Some ingredients of the cocktails on the menu look interesting. I've made a note to buy some smoked lemonade to take back to Seaforth, and also look up what "bartenders' rinse" is. But of more importance is to decide what's next: a flight of Australian gins, or an Archie Rose flight? Considering where I am I opt for the latter, but also I need food. There are sharing platters on the menu, nothing for solo drinking champions, so I ask the new barman just how much food there is on the meat and cheese platter. Will I be able to finish it by myself? I believe in you, he says. C'mon then, meat and cheese me up.
Holy shit. That is a lot of food. I've got loads of bread, two weak chillis, some brie, some cheddar, some pesto and olives and hummus and a ton of prosciutto, salami, and ... cold roast beef? Weird, but I'll give it a go. It's nice, not amazing - I'm not much of a beef fan - but it definitely fills a hole. I eat a load before starting on the spirits, then tuck into the vodka then the gin, and finish the food before the last two drinks.
The drinks, in order, are vodka, gin, distillers' strength gin, and white rye spirit. Drinking the last involves using a dropper to apply just the right amount of water to unleash the taste. Seriously? OK look, if that's how you're telling me to do it then I'll play ball, but this kinda shit needs to be stopped. Just give me a glass of water next time, y'hear?
I enquire about the lemonade. While they do sell it as a mixer, they don't have bottles they can sell. However, they do have a business card for the place which makes and sells it in the city. And then, on the verge of leaving, I'm convinced to have a beer because, not written in the menu, they also have a rotating selection of craft beers. I get a wattleseed lager from the Mismatch brewery, which is not the greatest beer I've ever had but I'm the first ever check-in for it on untappd which pleases me greatly. It was already on the app, but zero check-ins. Added by the brewery?
Anyway. Hmm. Bit drunk by now. Not hugely, but a bit. I pay my tab, adding a bottle of their gin at the last moment. After a brief tussle with locks on the loo door I'm ready to retrace my steps to Circular Quay, only briefly waylaid by a roaming Ibis.
Down to the platform, wait for the train, get off at Circular Quay. I'd debated with Helen what route to take back and she voted bus, but it was only 15 minutes until the Manly Ferry so what the hell, I'll get a boat.
Turns out the sun is setting over Sydney and things are quite pretty, again. Even the brutality of Circular Quay station as the boat pulls away.