Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Sydney-The Rocks, Darling Harbour, City Centre & the Beaches

We are staying next to Hyde Park in the CBD and overlook the city of Sydney, with the harbour out one window and the Olympic park and football stadium out another window. It is beautiful with lush green grass and little gardens and small restaurants here and there. The red berry trees amongst the giant oak, palm and fig trees make for a wonderful contrast. We alternate having our morning breakfast in one of the restaurants off the park. For a city of 3-4 million, Sydney is quiet and peaceful. No one rams into us on the streets and people smile here! In fact, just today whilst at Starbucks Jack said, “This is my favorite Starbucks ever, because they are so friendly and smile!”

Day One:
Darling Harbor- One of the focal points of Sydney. It contains a mixture of shops, cafes, museums and open spaces with activities.
The Taronga Zoo- We took the ferry to the zoo. The zoo is elevated on land along the waterfront and offers awesome vantage points to the Sydney harbor. Some of the animals we saw were: bears, crocodiles, elephants, gorillas, monkeys, seals, lions, but no koalas.
Sydney Harbor Bridge- People can be seen hiking the Harbor Bridge to the top of the arch. From below the ferry, the people look like miniature birds.
The Opera House- It is easily viewed from just about any place on the harbor. It sits near the City Harbor Bridge. Depending on how the sun hits its roof, it looks either white or aluminum.
Jack got hit by a car whilst jogging. Thank goodness he was only bruised and not badly injured. Lessons learned were to pay particular attention to traffic and be extra alert when jogging in a foreign city after 36+ hours of no sleep!

When the sun goes down the wind picks up and it gets brisk.

Day Two:
The Rocks- This is the old part of Sydney and is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle. It has cobbled stone streets and old buildings with lots of shops and galleries.
Manly Beach- known as one of Sydney’s top beaches, we spent a few hours at the beach. It was nice and relaxing to watch the surfers and swimmers. With no beach towels, we laid down in the sand and let it consume us making a perfect lounge chair that supported our bods. The waves looked to be little waves that were near the beach, but many surfers tackled them and we saw several who were able to get up and ride them in.
Lessons learned: it pays to have help applying sunscreen to avoid the streaking look, from here forth joint effort. Not a good idea to wear flip flops for lots of walking- Angie encountered severe blisters on the bottom of feet!
Favorite snack: Toasted banana bread
Worst food yet: Chinese broccoli- doesn’t resemble broccoli at all!

Day Three:
Leisure Centre- Swimming in a 50 meter pool! What a way to begin the day.
Sydney Botanical Gardens- Very cool and an amazing diversity of trees, shrubs, etc. It sits off the peninsula overlooking the harbor.
Sydney Opera House- An iconic landmark, the photographs can make it look different, the colors of the roof titles change depending on the roof.
Queen Victoria Building- An amazing shopping centre with upscale shopping. It had some fantastic Christmas decorations including a tree that spanned the three floors decorated completely with crystal ornaments. It had this awesome clock inside it. Sydney is getting better by the day...

Day Four:
After a great breakfast, we took the metro to Circular Quay where we took a ferry to Watson’s Bay. We did a 2 hour hike along the ridge overlooking the cliffs and a narrow inlet where there were loads of swimmers and people playing in clear calm water and we watched with a bit of jealousy from a great bridge that spanned it all. Beautiful morning. Nice to see the rock formations and the waves. Viewed the Dunbar anchor from the lost ship that crashed and sank there long ago.
Bondi Beach- Awesome swimming pool on side of beach with fresh water and the waves of the ocean splashing into pool.
Dinner was the best yet (for Angie anyways) with a fantastic risotto with pumpkin and sweet potato.

Off early in the morning to Perth.

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