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Published: February 6th 2017
We arrived in Sydney at noon and checked in at the Grace Hotel. This is a central location and a comfortable, refurbished facility that provided good value.
Day one was spent trying to recover from the long flights and we managed to stay up until 9:00 P.M. Experience has taught us over the years to try and integrate as quickly as possible to local time. We visited the Rocks, an area close to the harbour, where there are numerous pubs and restaurants and they have a local market every weekend with various crafts, souvenirs etc. After dinner in Darling Harbour, an area next to the Rocks, we dragged our tails back to the Hotel.
Day two in Sydney mostly was spent on the Hop on, Hop off bus. We've found this to be the most effective way to get an overview of cities and it's flexible, so you can get off and spend extra time in the areas of interest. We had lunch and toured around Bondi Beach ( Bondi is an Aboriginal name meaning "water over the rocks") which is one of the best beaches in the Sydney area. Before having an early evening, we did manage to
walk across the Harbour Bridge or as the Aussies call it the "coat hanger bridge" because of it's shape. There is a quided Harbour Bridge Climb that goes to the top, however at $250/person and breath taking heights, we decided to just walk across the on the lower sidewalk.
Okay now for the trivia. Paul Hogan(Crocodile Dundee) once was a painter on the Harbour Bridge. It takes 30,000 gallons to paint it and which is an on going process. The Bridge was finished in 1930 so it's approaching almost 90 years.
The name Kangaroo is Aboriginal, however, it's unclear as to it's origin. Legend has it that the early settlers were meeting with the Aboriginals trying to understand their language so they could communicate. At one of meetings, a Kangaroo ran by and the settlers asked, "what was that" in which the Aboriganals replied "Kangaroo" which meant in their language, "I don't know what you said". It may or may not be true, but it makes a good story
Day 3 was very busy. Early morning we walked over to Sydney Fish Market which is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. For Seafood lovers, it's an unbelievable
place!! The variety of seafood is staggering and the presentation as you can see from the pictures is superb. A 45 minute walk took us to the Opera House for an hour tour. This iconic building was opened in 1973 and is still an Arcitectural wonder. the Danish Arcitect, Jon Utzon won the International design competition. It was planned to be built in 3 years with a budget of $7 million AUS. A significant debate and many controversies developed resulting in Utson resigning before completion. It actually took 16 years to complete at a cost of $102 million Aus (This would translate into $1.2 Billion Aus in today's money. Nevertheless it's as magnificent on the inside as on the outside. Utzon never returned to see the building finished which must have been a very significant disappointed for him.
After the tour, we scrambled to catch the ferry to Manly, an Island close to Sydney. After a brief lunch, a planned 2 hour hike turned into a 4 hour odyssey!! (The clearly marked trails weren't that clear for us). Having been on many hikes, this one was a bit disappointing and something we couldn't recommend.
Overall Sydney is a
beautiful, world class, cosmopolitan city. It's quite expensive for food, lodging, etc, but probably in line with others including Toronto. The core of the city, where we stayed, has a lot of attractions and in hind sight, we probably should have allocated more time as there are numerous other areas do interest, including a number of interesting Museums and Galleries. Of all the Cities visited, including Toronto, Sydney has the least police presence. We only saw 3 Policmen/women on bikes around the Harbour on Sunday and never saw one police vehicle.
We're now off to the Blue Mountains which is about 11/2 hours West of the City and are looking forward to visiting this scenic part of the Australia
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