Published: July 19th 2009July 17th 2009
It is worth noting that I am currently wrestling with an onset of what I can only hope is delayed jetlag (although there are a number of things I have done in the last 48 hours that may be responsible), and so this blog may not begin as coherently as may be desired from all you eager readers.
Anyway, for those of you who don't know, I am setting off to add the Southern Hemisphere to my conquered places list (a list which currently consists of The Northern Hemisphere [Work in Progress]). This begins with a short stopover in Sydney.
During the (double decker) train ride to the centre of the city, I considered treating my backpack like a dog to elicit strange and confused reactions from the general public, but decide against it. In retrospect this would be the first sign that the 9 hour time difference was sending me slowly insane.
Post settled and showered in a charming hostel near the train station, I ventured outwards to experience the city of Sydney (in only two days). A walk along the west quay (whatever it's called), turned out, rather than being a scenic vista of opportunity, to
Sydney Opera House through a pinhole
NB - Not really a pinhole camera but a reasonably cool feature.
be a rather derelict road and area that left me a good 10m lower than the rest of the city. This was quickly rectified, and I arrived looking over the harbour from the bridge.
Note - to those of you who have not been there, descriptions cannot do this justice. The Opera House is, of course, the main spectacle, but is backed by a medley of skyscrapers, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and a small set of ferries in a dock, all of which lend themselves to a beautiful ensemble. One of my goals for the day was to capture the Opera House in front of the bridge during sunset, which was happily managed, and (for good reason) probably one of the most replicated photos in existence.
Next - Congratulations! I managed to go a full 5 hours into the start of this crusade before bumping into two friends all the way from England, Julie and James, no less. To be honest, it's no surprise they were sitting watching the sun set behind the Sydney Opera House - I can't imagine anywhere else any self respecting couple would be.
This preceded a tour of the Opera House, which
was more than interesting. My only question was whether the Opera House had ever flooded or not. Don't know why I asked that. Again. Possibly going mad. The pipe organ apparently has around 10,000 different pipes - which explains the two week tuning time. I wasn't allowed a fiddle. All in all, an incredibly informative tour - the House itself is incredible, ingenious, astounding, and many other things, and anyone with a remote interest in engineering or architecture should definitely try to find the time to visit it. Incidentally, only 30 or so years old. Quite surprising for such a famous building...
The evening included an entertaining mattress stealing incident (nothing to do with me) and a Caesar salad smelling like fish (?!?!?).
The following day, and my final day in Sydney, began around 7 when I awoke. I awoke again at 11:30 battling with aforementioned jetlag, and forced myself up. After a brilliant yet excessive takeaway sushi from Tokyo Sushi (highly recommended), I entered the Museum of Sydney. Although I did only go based on a poster advertising a (seemingly imaginary) exhibit on Australia's wildlife, it was an engaging look at the history of Sydney and the
colonial stories (many of them unpleasant), to which I continually fell asleep to.
Decided to take one last look at the gorgeous harbour before my imminent onward journey to New Zealand.
That evening's dinner was a rather unappetising pizza cooked for a good 20 minutes. Perhaps next time I'll check if there's an oven before buying a non-microaveable dinner. Hilarious yet embarrassing. Next morning was a rather pleasant 4:30 start - I managed to ruin my expertly budgeted Australian dollar usage while also solving the mystery of the missing $20 when I got my key deposit back.
So this would be the end of my brief stint in Australia before moving on for 6 weeks in New Zealand! I am suspecting (currently in Auckland) that the Sydnian weather will be the best experienced for a long time.