My artistic masterpiece. Sydney harbor bridge and Opera House at night from a ferry.
Today we played the role of pure tourists, which isn't always bad. We made no attempt to do what the locals do,
eat where the locals eat, see what the locals see. We were tourists, plain and simple… but we
loved every minute of it.
After a wonderful continental breakfast, we hiked twenty
minutes to the nearest metro station and journeyed into downtown Sydney. The city’s subway trains are double decked
and clean, and they run on time and often.
We had no trouble whatsoever in winding our way through the northern
suburbs and across the Harbour Bridge to plop down in the middle of beautiful,
amazing, and enchanting Sydney.
We roamed down a few streets and wound our way to the Sydney Tower,
which is over 250 meters (more than 800 feet) tall and looms large over
The Sydney Sky Tower. 250 meters high and a great view.
The view from the tower’s observation deck is
breathtaking (save for the last of the summer smog that lingered to the west of
downtown) and provides an excellent orientation to the city’s geography and
points of interest.
After a brief stop at the tower, we headed to the city’s two
most famous landmarks: Harbour
Bridge and the Opera
House. While both sites are known the
world over, nothing takes the place of seeing them with your own eyeballs…
especially on a clear, sunny, and crisp day like today. We walked along Circular Quay (pronounced
“key”) and, like so many other tourists, snapped dozens of pixilated memories
of the bridge, the harbor, and the Opera House.
We decided to take a tour of the Opera House, which was well worth the
nominal fee and the hour’s sacrifice.
The world famous Opera House
Our tour guide, Sally, was extraordinarily dynamic and engaging.
She interacted with the whole group, asking
from whence we came and giving us hints about what to see in the rest of Sydney
She even offered us an opportunity to sing in
one of the Opera House’s five theatres, and I resisted the urge to stand up and
belt out something.
The Opera House is a marvel of architecture and
engineering. Everyone instantly
recognizes the tiled façade that mimics the waves of the sea. But inside those tiles is tons of poured
concrete that forms inner shells. Those
inner shells are augmented by Australia
eucalyptus and birch woods to form the world-famous arenas for music, dance,
and drama. The opera theatre is
relatively small (1,500 seating) but symphony hall, with its impressive organ
of 10,000 pipes, seats 2,700.
Another great shot of the Opera House.
regret is that nothing was playing in either of the two larger venues.
Otherwise, I would have gobbled up a ticket
to hear or see something performed.
Sometimes the landmark places everyone goes in a famous city (e.g., the Eiffel Tower
, and the Old
) transcend “tourist trap” and are
really something special.
Such is the
case with the Opera House.
From there, we caught the ferry to Manly Beach. (No, there is not a Womanly Beach.
Chris on the ferry to Manly. He sure looks cold!
Manly Beach is about seven miles north of Sydney
and immediately north of Sydney
’s outlet to the Pacific Ocean
am not exactly sure how to describe it other than to liken it to a beach town
somewhere on the eastern seaboard of the States.
There was no boardwalk, but the shops and
eateries were there… just on the main street of the township.
The attraction, though, wasn’t Manly itself;
it was the (chilly) ride on the harbor.
The vistas (particularly on our return to Circular Quay in Sydney
) were postcards
from every angle.
Rather than write more
about it, I will let the attached pictures speak for themselves.
Needless to say, though, if you are in Sydney
, do not spend
needless dollars on a cruise around the harbor.
Such a wonderful and pretty harbor. And a great day for sailing.
Take the USD$3 ferry ride and enjoy the spectacular view.
We concluded our day by whisking out to the site of the 2000
Olympic Games. Sydney
was smart. Almost every single venue –
and the Olympic Village – was located in this massive park area west of
downtown. All of the biggies were there
– the stadium for the ceremonies and track and field, the aquatic center,
gymnastics, basketball… and lots of the less known sports, too, such as field
hockey, judo, and archery. While we
weren’t able to go into any of the venues themselves (without paying a handsome
visitation fee), we were able to appreciate their beauty and architecture… and
see what they did right.
We caught another ferry back to downtown. Sydney
is pretty by day but dazzling by night.
The lights were twinkling and aglow, and we observed it all from the
deck of our ferry. We decided to stay
downtown for dinner and ate in an old area of town known as the Rocks. Quaint and eclectic, it provided the perfect
place to converse and reminiscence on a great day.
Tomorrow, we’ll awake and spend another day in Sydney!
Let us hear from you!