Thursday, January 22, 2009
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF SYDNEY
It's a great city like any other great city of the world: New York, San Francisco, London, Paris... It has more to do than you have time to do it in. It has museums (dozens), a sky tower, a zoo and other animal parks, markets and more markets, tourist attractions, great neighborhoods to explore...and if that's not enough, it has beaches – lots of beaches.
Wondering what we have been up to for the past week???? First stop, Sydney's iconic sights: The Harbour Bridge and The Sydney Opera House.
The Harbour Bridge is the largest steel arch in the world. Whether or not to build the bridge was in itself a debate for quite a few years. Once decided upon, it was an engineering marvel. Now it's one of those sights that help identify a city like the Eifel Tower of Paris. In addition to the six traffic lanes, there is also a footbridge so you can walk across the bridge. In addtion, there is a bridge museum in one of the pylons where you can learn more about the bridge as well as climb 200 stairs for a great view of Sydney Harbour. By the way, the pylons serve no structural purpose, they are strictly decorative.
Across the harbour from the bridge is the world famous Sydney Opera House. You've seen the picture a thousand times (and here's one more) but being there in person is amazing. It's an architecturally magnificent building that sits on an incredibly scenic piece of property complete with a sordid past. We took a one hour tour where we got to see two of the six theaters, the hallways, the open areas, the private rooms, the stupendous views, and hear the history of it's birth.
So many museums and so little time – we opted for the Australia Museum. Here we had the opportunity to witness the story of the Indiginous People of Australia and the injustices they endured. Many of these stories are not unlike our own stories in the US of the Native Americans and African Americans. We visited an exhibit called “Surviving Australia” which described some (but thankfully not all) of the risky wildlife encounters one might have with native Australian fauna. The Wildllife Photographer of the Year exhibit also happened to be in Sydney at the time and we got to see some amazing photos taken by professionals and amatures alike. It was a nice museum but in all honesty, I was a little disappointed. Oh well.
Saturday found us down at Paddington Market, a once a week craft market where people come from all over Sydney to sell their hand made (or not hand made) products. It was a cloudy day (our first) so it was a good way to pass the time. We also caught a new movie (at least new to us), Bedtime Stories, at the Ritz Movie Theater, a great old fashion movie theater. It was nice to be in a country where we could go to the movies in a language we could understand.
If that's not enough, stay tuned – everyone else needs something to blog about too!