The trouble with an 11.30 pm flight is the risk of hanging around all day doing nothing - so we tried to fill it as much as possible and not think about the hideousness of the return journey until we absolutely had to. And that's also the joy of Airbnb - our lovely host didn't mind what time we left - he didn't have anyone coming in straight away, so we did our day, went back and had a shower and got our act together and didn't leave until 7 pm. Try doing that at a hotel....
So our first stop was a tour of City Hall. A wonderful building, with a very knowledgeable guide, who was retired but had worked there in various capacities (administrative and political) since the 1970s. It gave it an interesting spin when he'd known the various people we just saw as bronze busts. Very interesting architecturally as well. We did the tour with two other Australians and a Colombian.
So many weddings! On a Wednesday in January, there were at least two dozen that we saw, having photos on the scenic steps. We felt very underdressed compared to the wedding guests in their finests.
After the tour we walked (miles) to Japantown to check out some manga for number two son. We went to the most amazing bookshop that he would have loved! Of course his parents just stare at each blankly and wonder what the hell we should get out of this vast acreage of very specific Japanese things. Japantown was actually really cool - we hadn't seen it mentioned much on the tourist circuit but there were heaps of shops which lots of really (weird) Japanese stuff in it. We had a good old poke around. And of course an excellent lunch.
Then we walked (miles) to see the Haas-Lilienthal House, which is a late Victorian house that has remained largely unchanged internally until it was given to the City in the 1970s for a museum. It's only open one Wednesday a month, so we thought that was enough of a coincidence for us to want to see it! We had actually booked an architecture tour the day before but the guy got sick and had to cancel, so we felt we were owed a bit of architectural grandeur.
It was great - another amazingly knowledgeable guide - but it just seems weird to me that you can inherit a house that your mother decorated and furnished and live there for 80 years WITHOUT CHANGING ANYTHING. And they were wealthy people, who raised children there, and moved in society, and travelled ... did they never just think it was ugly or old fashioned? Did they never go to other people's houses and like what they saw? My mother had green and blue mottled carpet with an orange and yellow upholstered lounge suite when I was growing up in the 1970s. No-one would keep that.
We walked back (miles) with coffee stops and staring at more houses, and hills, and views, before reluctantly going back to the apartment, packing up, and preparing for our final drive out to the airport. Which was a bit traumatic (accident stopped traffic, and we took the wrong turnoff to the airport) but we had left hours too early, so even with all that we arrived in plenty of time to sit on hard plastic chairs and stare at each other before boarding. And another 20 hours of air travel ghastliness before back home again. I was pleased to see my bed, but not pleased to be home. We could have done a few more weeks. It was a great holiday.