Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Down Under, Day #10 - Hyde Park, Darling Harbour

Day 10 - another high-walking day. I put about 7 more miles on my poor little feet, but at least this time I was wearing more appropriate shoes. I did move at a much slower pace, pausing periodically as my calf-muscles cramped and pulled, but I was determined to see more of what was rapidly becoming one of my favorite cities in the world. I started off walking into the CBD and through The Strand, a beautiful Victorian-era shopping arcade. I didn't do any actual shopping, but enjoyed the idea that I could have (if I had the money, lol!). 
This was a day doing one of my favorite things on big city vacations - walking around exploring the mixture of antique and modern architecture. After I left The Strand, I walked past the Queen Victoria Building (I explored this shopping centre on day 2), and this time I was able to go inside the Town Hall. I still wasn't able to see the famous organ, because they were setting up for an event and had that room blocked off, but I enjoyed seeing the ornateness in every detail - they don't make buildings like these anymore! 
The QVB
Inside the Town Hall
Walking on, I made my way to Hyde Park and the Anzac Memorial, Sydney's tribute to the Great War. The building features 16 granite statues of Australian figures from the Great War, such as a nurse and an airman. The key motif of the memorial is "sacrifice", which is the title of the central statue inside the Hall of Reflection, depicting a slain soldier being borne aloft on a shield by his mother, sister, wife, and child. It is SO moving!

As I left the Anzac Memorial, I continued on my walk through Hyde Park, enjoying the birds, arch of trees, fountain, autumn colors, sunshine, and crisp temperature. I stopped for a few minutes to watch the little old men concentrating deeply in a game on the giant chess board, and to listen to the random bagpiper serenading us in front of the fountain and St. Mary's Cathedral. 
I continued in my journey down Macquarie Street, past the Hyde Park Barracks and Sydney Hospital, and then met Stephanie for lunch and a tour of the US consulate (no photos allowed!). 
Sydney Hospital
Il Porcellino statue at Sydney Hospital -
rub his nose for good luck!
For the afternoon, I headed over to Darling Harbour - I had taken the ferry to Darling Harbour before, but never been there on foot. Darling Harbour is like tourism-central for Sydney. Other than the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, most of the major touristy sites are there - the aquarium, Wildlife Zoo, Madam Tussaud's wax museum, the imax, and the Australian Maritime Museum. I considered going in the Aquarium - I've heard really good things about it. But it was such a beautiful day that I didn't want to spend my time indoors at any of these attractions (and they weren't cheap!). At the maritime museum the public can walk around on the boardwalk amongst the big ships and lighthouse for free, so I was content to do just that. 
Sydney Wildlife, Aquarium, and Madam Tussaud's
Maritime Museum
The Pyrmont pedestrian bridge and the ever-present seagulls
Aboriginal flag

Just a bit windy on the waterfront
When I had my fill of Darling Harbour, I caught a ferry for a peaceful cruise back to Circular Quay. As always, I sat outside on the front of the boat - this time I was surrounded by a rugby team of guys from Wales, London, and Scotland. I loved it! They cracked me up taking selfies and even asked me to take a picture of them with the bridge and the Opera House. I was only a little put out with the Welsh guy when he said the Opera House didn't look as clean and white as it does "on telly" - well no, the sun was starting to set and turn the sails a nice warm golden color! And of course, I couldn't resist more pictures of "my Opera House". 
Imagine my surprise when we rounded the corner into Circular Quay and were met with this huge Carnival cruise ship docked in the harbour!
Bridge-climbers! I wanted to climb the bridge but it was so expensive - I decided to spend my money on the opera and whale watching with Stephanie instead of the bridge climb. Besides, Stephanie promised she'll climb it with my on "the next visit"!
My plan was to watch the sunset over the harbour from the Sydney Observatory, which was on the way home, but I still had plenty of time left before sunset so I walked around the Quay and down to Dawes Point - UNDER the bridge! It really is an impressive structure. I love photographing bridges! 
Fighting the wind
Eventually I walked up up up the hill through The Rocks historic district to the Sydney Observatory, where I was happy to sit and rest my legs and watch the sky change colors over the harbour.
Sydney Observatory
Anzac Bridge 
Love this bridge, and love this view!
When the sun set I hurried home - and Stephanie beat me there, for the first and only time all week! I quickly changed and we headed out for dinner with some of her coworkers. It was a great day, though my legs were wondering what in the world I was thinking with all that walking. :)

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