Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cities: Sydney Australia June 8, 2014

Cities.  We flew from Sydney, Australia to Bangkok Thailand.   We are not "city people", yet, we do enjoy what cities have to offer.  

Sydney was a fabulous experience.  We stayed at the only Bed and Breakfast Inn in Sydney, the Sydney Harbor Bed and Breakfast.  It appeared to me that at sometime in the past, two buildings had been combined into one, allowing there to be a total of 8 guest rooms.  Our hosts were very accommodating and our room had fabulous views of the Opera House!

We arrived in time to experience Vivid Sydney, a city wide light show!  At various locations around the city, artists used light and music to create visual and interactive displays.  Some were projected on huge buildings, others were small.  Some were interactive; you could walk through or on them to make the lights change.  When we departed the train from the airport, we walked onto the wharf and right into the heart of Vivid Sydney!

Boats on the Harbor

Giant Inflated Bunny.  I am standing in front of it!!

Inside the blue beehive!

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Opera House
We spent the first night roaming around, looking at all the displays, watching the lights play on the sails of the Opera House and exploring that portion of the city.  We had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Rossini's.  

The  next morning, we breakfasted with people from England, Australia and Italy.  One of my favorite parts of staying at a B&B is meeting new people.  
Even though it was raining, we walked to the Sydney Harbor Bridge and walked across it.  It was not a long walk, probably less than a kilometer one way.  The rain prevented us from having fabulous views, but we were able to see the harbor and the Opera house.  The Sydney Harbor Bridge is the biggest steel arch bridge in the world.

After our bridge walk, we walked across town to the Australian Museum.  On the way there, we walked through St Mary's Cathedral.  The cathedral was beautiful and huge!  We loved the small alcoves and areas for silent meditation and prayer.  No photos were permitted inside, so here is the exterior!

The dinosaur is trying to escape the exhibit!
At the Australian Museum, we learned about the Aboriginal culture and the animals of Australia....both past and present.  Australia had some really ugly animals, like the 
Diprotodon optatum, which was considered a megafauna.  We also looked at some artwork, namely animals created from ghost nets. Ghost nets are fishing nets that are discarded or abandoned in the oceans. Ocean animals get tangled in these ghost nets and often die.  

We also explored the didgeridoo display.  Previously, I had asked Vince what the instrument of Australia was, and he said the didgeridoo.  I thought he was making that name up.  I was wrong.  They do exist,and are carved from the trunks or large branches of hardwood trees.  Today, local artists make and decorate didgeridoos.  

We also walked a bit through the botanical gardens, in between raindrops!  We then ventured back to the B&B and rested a bit before the symphony.  

On the walk to the Opera House, we had the opportunity to see other Vivid displays that we had not seen the night before.  

The Sydney Opera House is just as impressive inside as it is outside.  Our seats for the symphony were centered and we had a great view of the stage.  The conductor for the evening,  had a great sense of humor and a fabulous presence.  We listened to a number of musical pieces we recognizes, like Beethoven's 5th, and several arias were sung, such as the Barber of Seville.  When the Ride of the Valkaries played, I thought of my dad; he really liked Richard Wagner.  Every piece was exceptional!  The finale was the 1812 Overture.  The canon fire was provided via fireworks!  

We walked back to our B&B and enjoyed the rest of Vivid Sydney along with the architecture of the area, stopping at an Italian place to share a late night pizza.  

Thus ends our last night in Australia.  Sydney is a fascinating city with a lot to offer and combines history with contemporary living, new shiny buildings and historic architecture.  

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