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Published: November 25th 2015
Next day we were planning to be out late in the city so that we could see it at night. To give us the strength to do this we decided to have a lazy morning and then go into the city around lunchtime for the matinee we had booked at the opera house. We had a swim in the cool but pleasant pool on site and then I made a large brunch of pancakes and bacon.
Our first activity in the city was something we'd both been looking forward to for a long time... a concert at Sydney a Opera House. When we got there we discovered an amazing interior of acoustically designed wooden paneling. Our tickets were right at the back of the auditorium which was almost at capacity. Despite this the sound quality was phenomenal. The concert started with a fanfare and then went into a Saint Saëns' piano concerto - which frankly was boring. The pianist came back to give a very strange encore. After the interval we had some modern piece which I wasn't keen on and then the title piece - Modest Mugorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. I really enjoyed this, especially the last picture
which provided a rousing finale. It is impossible to describe the experience of hearing music at Sydney Opera House so I'm not even going to try. It is as phenomenal as other iconic venues, such as the Royal Albert Hall, though very different too. After using the venue' free wifi (some of the only free internet we found in the city), we headed off for our evening.
We started in China Town where we walked down streets of lurid hoardings proclaiming different businesses. We walked down one street which looked a bit like restaurants from a distance but turned out to be jewellers' shops. On the next street we found a building which looked like it had been condemned and were confused to find signs on every side for a food court. We walked down into a dingy basement and found a lot of people sitting on park benches in the midst of a chaotic scene. On every wall are billboards for different kinds of food. Under the boards are serving hatches and outside of these, strewn all over the place are vegetables and cans of oil and various other things, all ingredients for the meals being served. We
decided to try a Malaysian and Indonesian hatch, which offered us rice and three main courses for $10 (~£5). We chose beef rendang, chicken curry and vegetable curry. Whilst the cuts of meat were not what I would have chosen, the flavours weren't bad. Well most of the flavours weren't bad... I did get chilli sauce which tasted absolutely rank. I have no idea what was used to flavour it but I'm quite sure it wasn't edible. Partially to wash away the taste of this, and partially as it was something we'd never tried before, we went for a cup of sugar cane juice. I quite liked it as it managed to be both sickly sweet and refreshing at the same time. I'm not sure I'd drink it again though.
After our meal we walked around the corner, under the giant archway which proclaims China Town in whichever city you're in, and to a Chinese bakery. Lindsey wanted to try an egg tart and I selected a walnut cookie. We also picked up a nut bun, like a nut filled Eccles Cake, to share. Sadly we were disappointed by the baking - it really wasn't to our taste. To
complete our Chinese experience we wandered towards the Chinese Gardens which looked quite pretty from the outside but were closed.
Our evening was just beginning as it was not yet dark. Fortunately the rain had stopped though and the evening cleared up. Not far from China Town, as we were wandering towards Darling Harbour we came across an amazing children's playground which was just as appealing to adults. Here we pumped water and then used sluice gates and switches to control its flow around an obstacle course. It was so much fun.
The Darling Harbour area, is a trendy collection of restaurants and bars with a waterfront view. Here we came across dozens and dozens of well dressed young women, accompanied by not so well dressed young men. It looked like we were in the midst of some kind of college ball.
We continued our walk and eventually the crowds petered out until we were alone on a darkish street. It turned out this was leading along the re-development of a formally industrial area. It was early days though and the development was yet to happen. Worst of all, there were no turns off the road we
were on until we got right to the end. We walked down this street for about half an hour, gradually becoming more dispirited. Eventually we came to a bridge and then the strangest art work of a crashed car, in the middle of a roundabout. Then we were back in civilisation. We walked up the hill and stood on the street corner trying to orient ourselves. At this point an American woman came along and pointed us in the right direction. We followed her guidance and were soon climbing up to the Harbour Bridge.
By now it had gone fully dark and the sky was alight with office lights. We paused for a while at a spot where we could see Sydney Opera House, though in the dark it was difficult to make out. Lindsey then found out it was about to be lit up for Diwali. We waited until the time it was supposed to be lit and it didn't happen. Five minutes, then ten and finally twenty five went past before the lights came on. When they did, the skyline was transformed by the glow of orange cast upon the huge white sails. We were so excited
and took dozens of pictures from all different angles. We were tired by this point but we still had to cross the bridge. I really enjoyed the walk; the air was lovely and fresh and we got spectacular views of the South Bank, around the opera house and the CBD. The only thing that marred the experience was the constant reminder that people tend to jump off tall bridges. There were fluorescent security guards, high barbed wire fences and constant notices saying there was a hefty fine for climbing.
By the end of the bridge we were ready just to fall in bed but we still had to catch the train home. When we got to the site we found the back gate was closed and had to walk an extra half kilometre as a result. This did give us our only sighting of a possum though so we weren't too bothered. We were tired but had a wonderful day and were very excited by what our final day in Sydney would bring.
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