After our successful trail-blazing efforts in the Blue Mountains, our marathon dash to Sydney was about to reach its end. We crossed the finish line later that same afternoon -- indeed, if you were to consider the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge as the finish line then we actually crossed it three times!! Yes, in spite of my anally detailed route-mapping to get us to our hotel, we got lost and somehow ended up going BACK over the bridge in the OPPOSITE direction of our hotel with no way to get off the ramp. What’s worse, is that as we were heading up the ramp, we could see the sign for the road we wanted but with no way to get to it!
After getting ourselves back over the bridge for the third time (the novelty was long since worn off by this time I might add), and improvising a turn or two, we finally arrived at our hotel, though our relationship suffered a bit of trauma and I was certain that back in her cave, Cecilia was counting her lucky stars to be leaving us behind in a few short days ;) Meanwhile, our hotel was a fantastic old building in the upscale Kirribili district -- only a stone’s throw from the Prime Minister’s harbour-side summer home, in fact. It was another fantastic find by yours-truly: incredible location, chockers full of old-world character and charm plus a price that we could live with! And lest I forget to mention a free buffet breakfast every morning which was all we needed to sell Dave on the place ;)
Our darling Swede was busting at the seams trying to contain her eagerness to roam the streets of Sydney and absorb some big city culture; so after a quick shower we headed straight back out the door. We trundled down to the harbour ferry dock and upon selling our unborn children to the ferry staff we were on our way across the harbour (this time under
Ahead of us, the Opera House dazzled in the afternoon sunlight. The “tiles” (not sure if that is, in fact, what they are) have a sort-of iridescent quality about them, so to say the Opera House “dazzles” is really not an exaggeration. It truly is a sight to behold. For the next three days I attempted relentlessly to “capture the essence,” as Dave would say, of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge; but the task seemed impossible. You have to be there
to appreciate the artistic and architectural mastery -- not to mention the sheer size
-- of these iconic Sydney landmarks.
Australia’s oldest and largest city was everything we hoped it would be… and then some. It’s huge and monumental, and though somewhat pretentious, it is entirely justified in being so. The stately old buildings command your attention in a way that makes you feel small and insignificant, yet awe-inspired -- like being in the presence of royalty. I guess you could say we liked it there ;)
There wasn’t a great deal of planning and structure involved in our explorations of Sydney (shocking, I know). Mostly we wandered around like your average dumbstruck tourists: through parks and antiquated shopping “malls” such as the Queen Victoria Building and Strand Arcade which transport you to a completely by-gone era. We enjoyed an awesome and inexpensive feast in an underground China-town food fair. Cecilia and I drank lovely over-priced bubbly on the Opera House terrace overlooking the harbour while Dave went off for some guy time with an old buddy from his Contiki tour of Europe. later that evening, Cess and I also had a fabulous dinner of tapas and 2 pitchers of Sangria in his absence ;)
We also took part in a tour of the Opera House, learning everything about its journey from inception to budget-blowing completion. The inside isn’t nearly as exciting as its outside, though we’re told that that was the whole idea. Of course, the way they explain the theory, it’s meant to be artistic or innovative or something. Anyhoo. The concert hall made up for it all anyway. It was magnificent and luxurious as a great concert hall should be, but of course we weren’t allowed to take pictures.
Outside the Opera House on the lower causeway was a fantastic display of red megaphones -- all sorts of them! I think they were meant for kids to play with, but since when would that stop our little trio from partaking?? So we experimented with carrying the sounds of our voices in these wonderful Dr. Seuss-inspired instruments -- the ones that weren’t being hogged
by all the pesky children, that is.
The Sydney Festival was all happening while we were there (good timing on our part! Well, Cecilia’s anyway) so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to take in some live music -- not that the great music diva herself would have had it any other way ;) We chose to see a French band called Java who played at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum in a big outdoor tent. And what a phenomenal time did we have!! Cess and I once again dove head-first into some bubbly… two bottles later, hair was “let-down” and frivolity was indulged in whole-heartedly. The music was… well, and indescribable blend of all sorts of genres, but utterly fantastic, no question about that. They even had an accordion which gave it that quintessential French feeling of joie de vivre, but with a whole lot of pizzazz… that’s right, I said pizzazz.
Moving on… as I was saying, we had a great night. Cecilia found herself a young Frenchman to entertain her, and I found myself a cute Aussie bloke… oh wait, I already had him didn’t I?? Must be the bubbly ;) I also found myself feeling rather drunk (quel surprise) with an insatiable hankering for (God help me) Chicken McNuggets. As it turns out, they taste a lot better when you’re a bit pickled. Anyway, after a midnight stop at Macca’s (that’s Aussie for McDonald’s), we discovered that we had just missed the last ferry for the night, as well as the last metro. Boo hiss! So, suppressing the urge to go for more McNuggets, we made the epic mission to find a bus that would take us back to North Sydney, which we did eventually
find. A solid team effort indeed.
(Note: there are heaps more photos in the album for your viewing enjoyment!!)