Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hello from Sydney

Well I arrived, more or less in one piece. I left at 4pm on Sunday and landed at 5am Tuesday so as you can imagine I was wrecked. The flight was uneventful and I had a window seat so I was able to get a fair amount of sleep but that doesn't fully make up for the lack of a bed. Still arriving in Sydney was a joy and I was checked into the hotel two hours later. Public transport in Sydney is heaven.

Of course I couldn't go to bed at 7am as that would ruin any chance I had of avoiding jet lag. Shower, change and out the door to visit the Opera House, Circular Quay, the Botanic Gardens and a walk around the commercial district with its sky scrapers. I walked miles but it was worth it.

The Opera House is lovely and I did the tour. While the tour is supposed to last an hour the guide ran out of things to say after 40 minutes and that included 10 minutes of listening to a rock band (Four Feathers perhaps) warm up in the concert hall. This pissed off 4 Irish girls who were also on the tour, but I figured that all I wanted was to go inside so I was happy enough. Up close the Opera House is a strange colour not really white, kinda yellowish grey, like someone spent too much time smoking outside it but that's deliberate. I guess a brilliant white Opera House in a city as sunny as Sydney would cause shipping accidents and cataracts.

The Botanic Gardens are nice to walk around. I was there at lunch time and the place was full of joggers. Individual ones, pairs and what can only be described as flocks of joggers. Sydney seems to be jogging mad. Personally I preferred the more sedate walking pace that allowed me to admire the view. The gardens themselves provide a nice shaded respite from the sun, especially important for me since I had forgotten my sun cream when I left the hotel during the cloudy and misty morning. They are really nice when you consider how close they are to the commercial districts of Sydney. If they were in Dublin the government would dig them up to build railway stations, car parks or just flog them cheap to developers to build apartments.

Today I went to The Rocks, Sydneys oldest district and spent a couple of hours walking around, partly looking for a wifi network that my PDA could detect but couldn't connect to so I could upload some photographs. The Rocks kind of remind me of Irish towns like Dingle. Full of a craft shops and restaurants. Nice to browse but I wouldn't buy anything since I would just have to carry it around for the next 3 months. It may be the source of some Christmas presents on my return in December.

From the Rocks I walked over the Harbour Bridge, stopping to climb the pylon. This costs $9 and is probably the cheapest tourist attraction in Sydney. The view is pretty impressive and lots of photo opportunities (not that I need "opportunities", just take a look at my flickr, I'm currently trying to upload 153 photographs from an internet cafe, 6 at a time). Across the Harbour Bridge on the north side lies Milsons Point, a complete contrast from the commercial south. This is a fairly quiet residential area that you just know must have property prices in the high millions for the view alone. Despite their prime location many of the houses are small and have a certain quaint look, as well as a randomness that makes them look like they were all built at different times by different people.

Then this afternoon I set about booking myself onto a bus up the coast. I'll be leaving Sydney on Saturday and heading towards Byron Bay, possibly stopping to learn surfing cause that's included in the package (shudder). Tomorrow I plan on heading to the beaches. The weather forecast is good, and the last time I went to Bondi in 2001 it pissed rain, fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow.

4 comments:

Johnny K said...

Glad to hear you arrived safetly, post semi-regularly so we know how it's going for you.

Red Mum said...

Looking forward to the pix too!

Daragh said...

Dec,

Grab yourself the flickr uploadr from www.flickr.com/tools in order to expidite (and ease) the pain of uploading pics.

Declan said...

Yeah, I have a copy of it on my Compact Flashcard but even with that it takes along time to upload photos. I think a large part of the problem is I am uploading the original full size ones instead of the resized ones I usually use. I'm using Flickr as a backup.