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Published: December 28th 2011
A late evening electrical storm hindered and delayed our overnight rail journey from Melbourne to Sydney, and gave us warning that the weather here is barely more trustworthy than that in the UK.
We arrived in Sydney looking forward to catching up with friends from different points and places in our lives in the UK, each drawn to Australia’s biggest city in the last ten years.
Dom has lived there for a couple of years, and within a few hours of our arrival, had showed us the Sydney’s most iconic attractions – the harbour bridge and the opera house. That done, and photographed, we spent the next couple of days taking in free art festivals. Firstly, urban art at Cockatoo Island, in the bay, and the following day, the annual Sculptures by the Sea that stretch from Bondi Beach, south for a couple of miles. We ate lunch at a wholesome beachside café; it felt as if we had arrived in an artistic, sun-bathed utopia.
Then it started to rain, and didn’t stop, for six days.
Until we have chance to experience Sydney again, our memories of it will always be clouded by the dark skies and
Sydney Opera House
This was a good weather day
seemingly endless precipitation. But there’s no denying it’s a fantastic city. Good weather and a larger disposable income would make it even more enjoyable. Thanks to the hospitality of Dom, and Jon (aka Smunth), we were able to make our travellers’ budget stretch a little further.
What we saved on accommodation, we put to good use on food and drink, sampling excellent seafood from various places including Sydney’s seafood market, drinking a huge variety of ‘craft beers’, finally eating kangaroo steak, washed down with some typically robust Aussie red wine.
The Rocks sits under the harbour bridge, bypassed by drivers and city train travellers every day. However, when Europeans first began to colonise Sydney, the area played a pivotal role in shaping the city. The area’s museum pays homage to the harsh conditions that these early settlers faced – the poverty, the squalor and the crime. It’s all interesting stuff. It also vividly portrays the lives of the indigenous population and the effect that their new neighbours had upon their livelihoods. This guilty story, tenderly and remorsefully told, is a feature of many of Australia’s state-funded museums.
It’s emblematic buildings aside, Sydney’s architecture is rather uninspiring. It
feels that the whole city compels the visitor to look towards the harbour, their gaze directed from the undoubtedly impressive bridge and Opera House to the natural beauty of the miles of tree-lined shores and enticing beaches.
One morning, we took the half-hour ferry ride, past some of these shores and beaches, to upmarket Manly, on the north side of the outlet to the Pacific Ocean (or Tasman Sea). We walked for a few hours inland, through harbours, carefully preserved bush, pristine parkland and quiet beaches. Near the start of the walk, Australian Olympians’ faces, names and honours are etched into the harbour wall. The feats of Bejing 2008 have not yet been inscribed. Surely this cannot be due to budgetary cuts, or worse still, because Team Great Britain prevailed in the medal table. No one was available for comment, so we walked on, as the sun fought the drizzle.
Tot: 1.893s; Tpl: 0.075s; cc: 23; qc: 101; dbt: 0.0588s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
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