1 PICTURE ALBUM
Sunday, February 1
Paula: The disappointment from yesterday was compensated
with an absolutely perfect day today in Sydney. Immediately after breakfast
we headed to Circular Quay, Sydney's most well-known area with a lovely harborside
and views of the Harbor Bridge and the famous Sydney Opera House. The cloudless,
blue sky made the Opera House and its unusual design even more
striking. We admired the groups scaling the Harbor Bridge (you can walk along
the top of bridge for only $150/person) but were very content to have our
feet firmly planted on the ground.
We also enjoyed walking though a craft open air market in an area called
The Rocks. This was the site of the first European settlement and holds many
historical cobblestone streets and colonial homes. After the market, we walked
to the other side of the harbor to get a close look at the Opera House. We
also checked on performances
available during our time here and at the kids' request will see another Shakespeare
play on Tuesday evening. We were a bit disappointed to find that the seats
for the current opera started at $300/ticket! The kids were more interested
in the Shakespearian performance, so that's what we settled on. We have read
that the design of the Opera House was quite controversial but to us it was
a masterpiece. The roof line appears like sails or shells and in fact fit
geometrically into a sphere.
The Opera House lies on the eastern tip of the harbor and the beautiful botanical
gardens extend from the Opera House south along the coastline. The gardens
were lovely and provided lots of space for resting and enjoying the view.
To our surprise we also wandered into an area where thousands of Flying Foxes
(fruit bats) were residing high in the trees. We learned from one of the naturalists
that this bat camp was
actually doing significant damage to the trees. We saw several of the bats
fly and their wing span was a yard or more. The gardens were also home to
a variety of birds, many of which we have ever seen before.
After taking in the gardens, we decided to take a hike or as they say in
Australia, a "walkabout" along the coastline just south of the city's
center. The walk began at the well known Bondi Beach and followed the coast
for over 4 miles to Coogee Beach. Both beaches were spectacular and crowded
with Aussies enjoying their weekend. Bondi Beach was a wide and very long
sand beach. Despite the size, it was crowded with people on the sand and in
the water. The waves were large enough to entertain both boogie boarders and
surfers. The water and sand is clean and refreshing. We spent quite a bit
of time here before continuing the walk. The coastline was on rocky cliffs
in spots but gave way to five or six other beaches along our trek. At some
of these beaches, swimming was not advisable but
despite this there were swimmers and surfers enjoying the waves. In one area,
an underwater nature trail has been established for snorkelers and divers.
We also saw lawn bowling clubs and lots of beach volleyball. Each beach was
clean and well supervised by lifeguards. There were facilities, snack bars
and even grassy park space at each beach which made picnicking easy. Several
beaches also had salt water pools right along the beach front.
It seems that Sydney takes recreational space quite seriously and has provided
wonderful areas, readily accessible to those looking to enjoy the outdoors.
We have been very impressed by Sydney and look forward to several more days
exploring here before heading back to Cairns on Wednesday.
Katie's Kwick Kwacks: Sydney's Harbor Bridge. Today we saw and learned
a little about Sydney's famous Harbor Bridge. Here are some of my impressions
In the heart of Sydney is an enormous bridge known worldwide. This bridge,
located in Port Jackson, is a breathtaking sight. The beautiful Harbor Bridge
is commonly known as "The Coat Hanger," for its unusual shape. It
has an amazing round top and hundreds of steel pillars hanging down from its
enormous upper arches. We learned that the bridge was completed in 1932, and
was for a long period of time the longest single span arched bridge in the
world. It connects the heart of Sydney to the northern part of the city and
provides pectacular views from the harbor. We could see the Opera House along
with other beautiful buildings looking out to the bridge. We even saw some
guided groups walking on top of the bridge, connected to it by a harness.
We decided this was a little too much for us, but all agreed that it would
be a pretty amazing experience. So, there's a little information on the Harbor
Bridge, and my next Quack will be about the Opera House.
David's Daily Dump: Impressions of Sydney. Our time here in Sydney
has been absolutely wonderful, and has put Sydney on top of my all-time favorite
cities list. It is beautiful, bustling, hip, and as New Zealanders put it,
"magic." It is a great walking city, with lots of open gardens,
boardwalks and pedestrian zones. I loved seeing the harbors, Bondi beach,
Circular Quay, and most of all the Opera House. The Opera House looked so
cool jetting out into the harbor welcoming ships to Sydney. I am also enjoying
the hot weather here, but feel a bit guilty hanging out on the beaches while
my friends and family are bearing below freezing weather in Boston. NOT!!!!
I love having two summers in a year! Anyway, Sydney has been my favorite city
that we have visited so far. The rest of our family admits that if they had
to live in a big city, this would be a great one.