Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sydney Opera House

Okay, we're in Sydney, so I guess we have to go down to see the clam shells.

The Sydney Opera House is located right smack on the water, on the north side of Sydney's downtown area. To get here, head for the area called Circular Quay (say: KEY) or to the area just to the west called The Rocks. You can easily walk to the Opera House from either of these two areas.

The Rocks runs down into Circular Quay, and the whole area is very festive. You'll find it crammed full of restaraunts and bars with magnificent views. The air is filled with aboriginal didgeridoo techno vibes from the street performers -- welcome to Down Under! And the entire skyline is framed by the magnificent Harbor Bridge. Day or night, this is a spectacular place to hang out!

the Harbor Bridge frames it all

We actually took the Opera House Tour, which much to my museum-hating suprise was really cool and interesting! Like the guidebook says, it's "strongly recommended". It was quite interesting, and, you get to sit down in comfy seats while the guide talks! No sore feet from this tour!

resting up for the tour

Some interesting tidbits about the Opera House:
  • The project was a public works fiasco, complete with fights with the architect, who left the project halfway through construction, and didn't return to Australia until very recently. (See About The House > History here)
  • The "clam shells" are called "sails", and serve no structural purpose. They are purely decorative. And no, they don't open and close.
  • The main lobby is carpeted in a luxurious purple. Purple, according to italian-theater superstition, is evidently the kiss of death. So the famouse italian opera singers refuse to perform at this marvelous venue

I-ta-lia! I-ta-lia!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Welcome to Oz

Well, just a few days after arriving in Sydney (Google map), we've had our first brush with death.

Never mind the close calls in New Zealand, what with all that sky-diving, the ferocious possums, the treacherous drives on razor-thin canyon roads, nor the rabid wild dolphins of Kaikoura.

Yes, we've just seen our first poisonous critter. The feared Red Back Spider! Hiding out in a bucket in the backyard, just waiting to devour a couple a tourists! Luckily my handy-dandy sandal put a quick end to the threat and we've lived to see another day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Manly Ferry

The first thing you should do when you get to Sydney is exactly what we did: hop on the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly and back again.

Take the ferry just before dusk, so you see the city by day, or just as the sun sets.

Then you can have dinner in Manly, and see the cityscape by night for the return journey. It's bright and beautiful, as you can see!

The famous Opera House is haunting as you drift by in the quiet night:

Oh, if you're taking the bus, there's a day-pass that includes ferry rides, for around AUD$15.00 at the time of publishing. The pass is called the DayTripper. Get up early and ride boats all day long! Sydney Harbor is HUGE!