Opera, dahling, opera!
Sydney Travel Blog› entry 11 of 34 › view all entries
August 14th, 2009 – by: Documama
It's all about the Opera House today. Yes, that probably means more pictures too. :) Is it possible to have too many pictures of the Opera House? We'll find out, I suspect.
We slept in a bit and then strolled over to the Opera House. Up and down and up and down steps and we got signed up for our tour. There were about 20 people in our group and our tour guide was quite smiley and friendly. We used headphones to make sure we heard her. We used those at the Colisseum in Rome and found them incredibly useful.
The story of the construction of the Opera House is pretty interesting. It took years and heaps of money ("heaps" is a common Oz phrase) more than anticipated, of course, but it really is a cool building. There are so many interesting considerations to the actual use of the building and to its beautiful location.
As I've said before, my dad went to Sydney on R&R from Vietnam in 1969. He really loved the Opera House but it wasn't finished till the early 70s. I asked during the tour guide what he would have seen. In 1969 the outside shells were complete so he would have been able to appreciate the outside view but not the insides. These are times I wish he were still living so I could share these experiences with him. He would have enjoyed it. I still have the stuffed koala he brought back for us.
After the Opera House tour, I admitted that I was "full" of people contact. I hadn't had more than 10 minutes to myself in 6 days, which is a looooong time for me. So I begged off the group activities.
Fortunately, Jeff, Kitty, and Rich all understand this and were not offended.
It was a beeeeeeyoooootiful day. Clear blue skies, warm sun, light breezes. Probably 80 but with breezes making it feel more like 70. The Opera House sticks out into the harbor on a spit of land. There are several parallel spits next to it, with a walking path along the water. This is also the north end of the Botanical Gardens. I decided it was a 'walkies' day.
The path and grounds were full of kids and families and tons of people (mostly guys) out for what looked like a lunch-time run.
Australia has some interesting geology, including some funny rock formations. At one end of one of the jutties of land is a set of steps cut into the stone with a little seat cut in above them. It's called "Mrs. Macquaries Chair". She was the wife of one of the early governors (?) of Australia who was a major influence on turning Australia from a rugged outpost to a thriving community with a future. Apparently, they are well-remembered and loved.
The Botanical Gardens continue on into The Domain, another open grassy, tree-filled area.
I came across a couple of playing fields where there was a soccer game going on and an Aussie Rules football game. I sat and watched the football game, trying to remember the rules as laid out by our friend Geoffrey. I remembered some of them but the game surged and paused at strange times.
On the other hand, I got to watch a lot of cute guys in shorts run around and get sweaty. It hardly matters if I understand the rules. :)
Once I reached the other side of the Domain, I crossed the street into Hyde Park. There are lots of Hyde Parks in they world, including the neighborhood on the south side of Chicago where I once lived (oh, yeah, and Barack Obama too).
Aside: Sydney is an accessible city. By that I mean there are lots of green spaces, wide sidewalks, a limited amount of towering high rises, a moderate amount of bustle (maybe even a little hustle) and lots of places to eat. :) In feel, it reminds me of DC much more than it reminds me of Chicago or NYC. [End of aside]
Hyde Park put me close to the Sydney Tower, the tall building with an observation deck that all cities with high rises need to have, apparently. I'd gotten a pass for it as part of my aquarium ticket, so off I strode.
It is like most observation towers everywhere -- tall.
You can also do a thing where you go outside the tower and stand on a plexiglass viewing platform, while attached to the building. I passed on that experience.
I like these kind of towers but, really, it's usually a 10-minute thing for me. And it was and I did and then I went back to the hotel. :)
Light dinner and then back to the Opera House!
No, not for more photos. We had tickets to a concert. Hayden and Bruckner (sp?). Rich, as the resident musician, chose the concert as the best option for us, though he was concerned that Bruckner is not as universally loved as Hayden.
Apparently Bruckner is very Wagnerian and my German ancestry just showed right through! Maybe I should go listen to some Wagner?
The concert wasn't real late but Kitty and Jeff were definitely struggling to stay awake, so we strolled back along the water to the hotel. We said our good-byes to Rich, who was leaving for Melbourne the next morning. And then we tumbled into our little beds and achieved unconsciousness at astonishing speed.
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