Happy Sunny Sunday from Sydney! We watched the sun rise over the City this morning from the hotel room, the watery morning sunshine bringing the city to life. All the glass in the buildings were glistening and shimmering in the light. As it was early, we decided to head out the door and see the world. The Harbour was busy, full of runners, walkers and cyclists and delicious breakfast smells wafted up our nostrils. We walked around Darling Harbour, and when we got to the end we kept going, around Walsh Bay and some incredible private homes with some rather impressive boats pulled up outside of them. The wharves were really lovely, old wooden ones, with little coffee shops that were busy on a Sunday morning. We passed the Sydney Dance and Theatre company buildings, and looked out onto the Luna Park opposite on Milsons Point. Really accessible for walking and wheeling, and a really nice route to wander along. We also passed an outdoor movie place, where they supply beds for the people to watch the film on. Obviously it was closed and the beds all covered over incase of rain, but i liked the concept of it. I wasn't quite so enamoured with the pocorn in the bed that would inevitably follow though.
Just around the corner from Walsh Bay is Circular Quay, home to The Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, It was lovely rolling along beneath the massive bridge structure as trains and cars rattled over it. It really is an immpressive piece of construction and is 10th in the list of longest steel arched bridges in the world at 1650 feet long. On very hot days the tallest arch can expand by 7.1 inches There are, 6 million Australian hand driven rivets holding the bridge together, the biggest one weighing 8lb and 15 inches long. Pretty impressive. At either end are concrete pylons faced with granite standing at 89metres high. On the south side is a museum and tourist centre, and the North side they are used as venting chimneys for the Sydney Harbour tunnel. In 1942 the pylons were modified to include parapets and anti aircraft guns to support Australias defense efforts. You can access the tourist pylons via the pedestrian walkway, and then a cheeky little climb of 200 steps. At the top there is an observation platform and telescopes allowing you to take in the sights and landmarks. If you really wanted to, and you had lost control of all your sensible thinking capacity, you could do the Bridge Climb, which takes you 134 metres above the harbour. To do this, you are required to be kitted out in the appropriate safety gear, boilersuits, hard hats ( used ones that have had sweaty heads and bodies inside them, which is what would put me off doing it even if i was physically capable of doing it) and you are clipped onto the railing. The view at the top is pretty spectacular by all accounts if your desire to see it was that strong... Clearly we didn't bother with that being in complete control of our brain cells and other faculties. On around from the bridge base is Circular Quay, a busy place, with ferries running on a regular basis all around the direct area. Unfortunately, there was a huge cruise ship tied up in the quay, which goes somewhat to explaining the depth of the harbour. In my opinion, not being much of a boat person all I could see was a great hulking ball of metal blocking the view somewhat! How bloody rude. As we rumbled along, we could see that there were people disembarking with millions of suitcases waiting for taxis, etc. Due to this, understandably, every coffee shop, cafe and restaraunt were packed to the rafters. We passed them by and continued along to the opera house, which is looking distinctly grubby since the last time I visited. I think they have also done some alterations to the whole area as the steps seem different and there appear to be a lot more of them. My memory of course, could well be playing tricks on me. The Royal Botanical Gardens, just off the Opera house are still quite simply beautiful, peaceful, well maintained and a wonderful green oasis in the middle of the city. Picnics are always a good shout there.
Rolling back around the Quay, and it still being jammed up somewhat, we opted to go to The Rocks, to try and locate a place for a bite to eat. The Rocks is the birthplace of modern sydney, and it was here that the first European settlers and convicts set up shop. The cobbled streets aren't too uncomfortable to trundle along, and there are numerous pretty little alleys bearing off hiding away quirky shops and galleries. There is a free tour you can take that last 1.5hours that meets at Cadmans Cottage on the front ( right where the cruise was tied up). As it was a weekend, the Rocks markets were on, with what seemed like hundreds of stalls selling all sorts of bright shiny things, hand made leather goods, and every art and craft you could possibly imagine. We had a bit of brunch in The Belgian chocolate cafe. Oh my days, how i resisted the deserts i do not know, but they were INSANE! all laid out behinfd the glass vcounter calling my name begging me to eat them. Whilst the brekkie salad bowl was great, it was no dessert. There were a couple on the table next to us we got talking to who had flown in from America to join the cruise ship and sail around New Zealand. What a great pair, mad as fishes, and just super friendly. They have spent a lot of time in the UK with business over the years, something to do with Rolls Royce, what exactly i dont know, but they were very chatty and also amusingly very curious as to the reason that The Princess of Wales was in hospital. As if we'd know info like that. It was lovely actually they absolutely loved The late Queen and The Royal Family. It was really nice to hear them saying such lovely things about them.
Having filled my face with healthy stuff whilst Si inhaled his waffles, poached eggs with bacon we made our way out of the chocolate cafe and continued our trundle. We took a random route back towards the Darling Harbour area and passed some lovely old houses, some in better repair than others, but the leafy avenues were not dissimilar to what we have at home, except the sun was shining. After a severe weather warning for extreme heat, it became aparent that suitable liquid refreshment was required for Si, his top was soaked through, pushing me up hill and down dale can't have been a barrel of laughs for him so when we found The Admiral Lord Nelson Pub, the oldest in Sydney it seemed rude not to go in and rehydrate. We actually sat outside in the shade as the street caught a really nice breeze which cooled us down no end. From our point of view, it was just like any other old pub in the uk, but it is obviously a significant tourist attraction for them, and the beer was very good!
Once we'd rehydrated somewhat we continued on meandering our way through the leafy side streets and eventually back to Darling Harbour and finally the Hotel.
Still trying to recover from the last two weeks, I needed to get stretched out in preparation for another day exploring tomorrow. Si went out for some supper while I slept for Wales. Heres hoping for a day full of sunshine and smiles tomorrow!