plus, the value of a home away from home
03.04.2009 - 03.09.2009 85 °F
Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge (photo 2) from land and by sea.
I had my first real breathtaking “moment” of the trip as I walked up to the Sydney Opera House. The Opera House is one of the places I have seen for years in books, on TV and on postcards. To be on its steps and then inside to learn about its architecture was pretty incredible. I had to just stop, stare and revel in what I was viewing.
A few different views of architect Jorn Utzon's masterpiece. He actually did not finish the project, but much of the design is attributed to him. Google for details on him and the building or ask me in 2010.
A look at the inside of the unique Sydney Opera House roof and walls.
View from inside the Opera House to Sydney Harbour. During intermission of shows people gather here for drinks.
The Opera House is made up of several theaters, but on my visit the actual opera theater was closed for a dress rehearsal. Just my luck. Dave and I did attend a concert in the main concert hall. Sydney Symphony Orchestra conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy led Shostakovich Symphony #10, a rather dark symphony about the life of Stalin. Never the less, this symphony really showed off the amazing acoustics of the hall. Everything about it, from its mouth-like shape to beech wood seats and walls, played a role in creating a great sound!
Quick illegal photo of Concert Hall before I got yelled at to put the camera away. Pardon the light reflections.
From inside the Opera House you get a beautiful waterfront view of the the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which has become just as much of a symbol of Sydney as the Opera House itself. Many tourists climb to the top for a spectacular view, but due to the cost we opted for the cheaper route, a simple walk across.
From classical to rock and roll, we moved to a different beat at an Eric Clapton concert at the Sydney Entertainment Center. My cousin Larry was coincidentally in town working with the Eric Clapton tour. He treated us to the show, plus some freebie beers behind stage, and of course, good catch up time. A real treat for his cheapo cousin.
Elizabeth and Larry backstage at Clapton concert.
Clapton and band in action, Sydney.
Dave, Elizabeth, Alisha and Jody at Clapton concert.
Jody and Alisha (shown above) are our new friends and lovely hosts in Sydney. We were introduced to them via email through my friend Stacy, who unfortunately left a long work stint in Australia for Fiji just months before we arrived.
After sleeping in cars, on bunk beds, and in hostels with walls, but no ceilings, it is a treat to do a home stay. Thus far, we've been welcomed into the homes of Valeria and Fernando in Santiago, Chile, and with Jody and Alisha in Sydney. The value of a home stay is off the charts for us. It is a clean, quiet place to stay, a meal or two, laundry and good, local conversation, which are all immeasurable.
Dave trying his first taste of kangaroo with chef Alisha. We learned that Australia is one of the only nations to eat both of its national symbols, the kangaroo and emu!
I urge everyone to take a risk on a stranger, and open your door to a friend of a friend who may be popping through your city. What may seem like an inconvenience at first, will hopefully turn out to be a pleasurable experience, and I can assure you the visitor will be forever grateful!
Jody and Alisha live in Stanmore, which is a convenient 40 minute walk to downtown Sydney or a 20 minute bus ride. They also live in “The Castle” (1980 Australian movie reference – go rent it if you haven't seen it.)
The cozy flat was great, but came fully equipped with an alarm clock as it was directly under the flight path of planes landing at the airport. By 6:30 a.m. we had our first wake up flight to get us going, and going we did, mostly on foot.
Here are some photos of our stops.
The University of Sydney is on a beautiful campus that reminds me of Wellesley College.
Glebe Market is one of several craft, clothing and food markets throughout Sydney. It is in a charming, European feeling neighborhood.
The Orbit Lounge is at the top of one of the tallest buildings in Sydney. The cost of the drink paid for the view!
An aboriginal man dressed in traditional garb plays a didgeridoo for street entertainment.
Bondi Beach . . .
Bondi Beach has been rated by the Travel Network and several publications as one of the sexiest beaches in the world. Right now there is an Australian reality TV show centered around the lifeguards at Bondi, so this beach is flooded with curious onlookers. The beach and its boardwalk were crowded, but the surrounding homes were fantastic. After seeing helicopters flying overhead for sharks, we opted to stay out of the water. Yikes!
Manly Beach . . .
Ferry boats are a common mode of transportation for people in Sydney. We took a ride to Manly, a well known beach area north of the city center.
Another day on the job! Life is tough for people here.
All guards are cloned!
Beach bum, or plumber in training...your call!
Dave left his speedo at home.
We skipped the area with the Sydney Olympic venues as we were told there wasn't much going on there any more. Plus, Dave and I aren't prepared to publicly display our synchronized platform diving skills just yet. And we skimped on museums as we were museumed out from the last few cities.
Having just been in Melbourne it was easy to compare the two cities. Locals say you are either a Sydney person or a Melbourne person. Although we enjoyed both and would urge you to visit both, we are Melbourne people. Sydney is a multicultural mecca with more than one third of its residents born in another country, which is quite visible. Melbourne has the same international flare, but the city seems much more manageable with quaint neighborhoods and unique arcades and alleys. Sydney seems to have better year round weather, but the feel is much older and a little rundown. It seems overly crowded, and workers seem rushed and stressed, a feeling we haven't experienced since leaving the States. With that said, our hosts who both lived and worked in the States feel people in Australia, in general, and in Sydney, are much less stressed out than in the US.
After Sydney, we flew to the northern city of Darwin where we visited some crocodiles, among other things. Soon we're off to the Great Barrier Reef around Cairns. Details soon.
A quick plea... if you haven't done so already, please send us your tips for Asia. We are heading to Thailand in two weeks, followed by Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Japan and China. If you have any friends who live in the area, let us know! I promise you it will be a treat for everyone!
And send us an email about your life. We are curious about your whereabouts too!