Tag Archives: Sydney

Day 2 in Sydney

How good to live in one of these apartments!
How good to live in one of these apartments!

I was off to a flying start and, although yesterday’s violent storm had gone, the air remained humid and it was very much a day for a slower pace.  However,… I wandered across to the outdoor cafe across from my hotel and was delighted with the fresh orange juice, the toasted ham and cheese croissant and the two cups of ‘flat white’.  Ahh…. great coffee – how I have missed you!  People on their way to work came and enjoyed a variety of different options, which all looked excellent.  I can so easily understand why people love living here in this relaxed open air environment and people went to work with a smile.  A bus passed by declaring “Smile, you’re in Sydney” and who wouldn’t?

Paddle surfing
Paddle surfing
At Palm Beach - this is the sort of beach the Aussies really like
At Palm Beach – this is the sort of beach the Aussies really like
The beach may be deserted but they still have lifeguards
The beach may be deserted but they still have lifeguards

Having walked down to the Harbour to purchase my $22 “all day – go anywhere on any transport ticket”, I was flabbergasted to find that the guy in the kiosk not only remembered me, but recalled that I had bought a ticket for Manly yesterday.  I didn’t think I was that memorable!  He had all sorts of recommendations for my day (for a lady enjoying her own company!).  These were in addition to the ones I had planned, so I found myself first of all on a 40 mile bus ride to the north beaches to see what Aussies really like.

Palm Beach was almost deserted (apart from its two steadfast lifeguards) and I could see the attraction.  Miles of sand and some quite good surf with a couple of bars and a surf shop for completeness.  I could have hopped off at any number of similar beaches and harbours, but would have to save these for another time.

Crossing the Harbour Bridge
Crossing the Harbour Bridge
I have climbed it, crossed it by road and taken the ferry under it!
I have climbed it, crossed it by road and taken the ferry under it!

Then it was back to the train (an incredible piece of transport with 3 decks).  Why on earth do we not think of doing this sort of thing.  My station was right by the ferries, so, without further ado, I was off to Darling Harbour.  Having gone over the Harbour Bridge in the bus an hour or two previously, the ferry took me underneath it this time.  From Darling Harbour, it was time to walk and take in even more of this vibrant city on foot, via The Rocks and various significant buildings.  A bit like London, some of the modern tower buildings have sprung up around the historic ones to the point of almost swamping them.  A quick stop by my hotel to ask the receptionist for some help with the printing of boarding cards for my flights to and from Melbourne and a check-in with the concierge to see if he had any luck with getting me a ticket for tonight’s performance of The Magic Flute at the Opera House.  No luck so far but I have not given up in spite of refusing to pay the top price of $359.

Lunch happened rather late for me (5 pm) and in short order I was surrounded by guys exiting their offices and stopping for a beer.  Good natured ribbing followed because I was on my own and “a Pom” at that!!  They wanted to tell me all about the last Ashes Tour but still feel the pain of Johnny Wilkinson’s boot and say that he will never be welcome in Australia again!  I didn’t think their suggestion that I bring back lots of t-shirts celebrating their cricketing whitewash would be well received!  Sport is taken very seriously here and losing is extremely painful for them, so they only joke about their victories.

The Fun Fair across the harbour
The Fun Fair across the harbour
One more check-in with the concierge before I give up on the opera.  It doesn’t really matter as I need to leave the hotel tomorrow morning at 06:30 to catch the flight to Melbourne.  I can always try again when I come back to Sydney on Monday.  Who knows, it might be the performance of Carmen then, but either would be fine by me.
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Sydney

No matter where I go (and I have certainly been to a few places in the world in the last year or so), the place which holds a very special place in my heart is Sydney.  I wondered if the magic would still be there this year, but watching dawn break, seeing the sun come up over the Opera House and turn the Harbour Bridge to gold, I was once again totally captivated.

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The Bridge turned golden by the dawn

Saying goodbye to the floating palace which is Queen Victoria, and which had been my home for the past six weeks, mattered not a jot.  I wanted to plant my feet firmly on the quayside and once again enjoy this wonderful city.

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The city begins to wake…

Disembarkation and the transfer to my hotel were speedy and smooth and I was off like a greyhound out of the traps and back down to the harbour.  How strange was that?  After longing to get ashore, I was back on a boat again in no time, but this time it was the Ferry to Manly.  Last year I had paid it a very quick visit but had promised myself a very happy return were I to ever come back.  Manly was full of tourists heading for the beach and surfboard carrying young men and girls with just one thought – to get straight into the blue/green water and the pounding surf.  Not so dramatic as Bondi Beach but its golden sands were just as much a draw as the waves.

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Queen Victoria docked between the bridge and the Opera House
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Manly

I hadn’t come to swim this time and enjoyed a leisurely wander, stopping for a coffee in a pavement cafe along the way.  I had no need to check my watch and for the first time in weeks, I had no concern about missing the ship’s departure.  I settled at another cafe by the beach and did what most people do when they come here….I ordered fish and chips and a cold beer!  Forget the lobster, the steaks and all the fabulous food I have been served on the cruise…this was the real deal!

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Yachts galore
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Although I had been sitting in the shade, the temperature was increasing and late afternoon I reluctantly dragged myself away and bagged a seat at the top of the ferry in the breeze.  The harbour was a mass of yachting activity with some keenly fought racing going on.  Finally, I had a second chance at a sail into Sydney Harbour, which I had missed seeing in the darkness of our very early morning arrival on Queen Victoria.  It most certainly didn’t disappoint and, once again, I saw the Opera House from just about every angle.
But the clouds were gathering as we landed and with a final wave to Queen Victoria, I decided to make a quick dash to the hotel.  Not a minute too soon.  Thunder rolled, lightning flashed and the rain came down in a solid wall.  Well, Sydney, what else can you show me?  Last year when I left you we sailed into a hurricane.  Let’s hope the storm does not come back tomorrow and I can enjoy another full day taking in the sights.
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