Thursday, July 21, 2016

Australia 2016, Day 6 - Circular Quay, Opera House, BRIDGE CLIMB!

Day 6 in Sydney - the day I had been waiting for since I decided to go back to Australia. We were going to climb the bridge! We didn't climb in 2014 because Steph is afraid of heights, and I decided to do other things with her instead of climbing the bridge by myself. Honestly, it was my only regret from that trip. But Stephanie promised me on the day I left in 2014 that if I came back to visit her, she would climb the bridge with me. I held up my end of the bargain, and so did she!

We started off the day knowing that we didn't want to wear ourselves out before our climb. So we got a later start than usual, and walked around Circular Quay taking pictures of ourselves with my two favorite Sydney icons - the bridge and the Opera House, of course! We also walked through part of the Botanical Gardens, shopped at the gift shop for some unique gifts, and I introduced Stephanie to the Cathedral of Lights during daylight hours - she was as impressed as I was. 

Day 6 pic of me with my Opera House - one of my favorites
Happy 200th Birthday to the Royal Botanical Gardens!
The Cathedral of Lights mimics the shape of the Opera House sails.
The gap between the Opera Theatre and the Concert Hall is affectionately known as "the cleavage". So Stephanie is standing in "the cleavage". :)
The Opera House tiles are the same size as my hands.
The inside of one of the sails
I love how the sun glistens on the sails!
Finally, it was time to walk up to the Bridge Climb! And I do mean "up"! We climbed up the hills to The Rocks, then up the Argyle Steps and finally made it to the Bridge Climb (where we would, of course, climb much more!). We were early, so we checked out the gift shop and mentally psyched Stephanie up for what was coming, before our group was called and we changed into the LOVELY jumpsuits (ha!), had the safety briefing, clipped on all of our equipment, and walked down the catwalk to the bridge. 
And then we were climbing! Oh my goodness, this was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced! The first part was the most nerve-racking, because the catwalks were really narrow, and the ladders were straight up. But the view was incredible, so we just kept focused on the view and followed the people in front of me. I made Stephanie go before me so I could encourage her from behind if needed, but she did great! When we finished the climb, she said she would go again. :) Once we got off the ladders and onto the actual arch of the bridge, it was so amazing! 360-degree views of the Sydney Harbour, the skyline, the Opera House, and all the way out to the Blue Mountains - incredible! We chose a twilight climb because it gave the best of all worlds. We started our climb in daylight, made it to the summit at sunset, and then finished the climb as darkness fell and the Vivid lights were starting. We loved it! The only disappointing thing was that we couldn't take our cameras on the climb (you can't take anything with you except your glasses, because everything has to be attached to your jumpsuit so it doesn't fall and injure someone below). But the climb leader took several photos of us and of the view, so enjoy! 
At the beginning of the climb
I was so excited to share this bucket-list adventure with my BFF!
Our bridge climb group with the Opera House behind us
Sunset at the summit
We made it to the top!
Wow, what a view!
We're bridge climb veterans now, and we have the certificates to prove it.
After the bridge climb we were starving, so we changed out of our jumpsuits, bought our souvenirs, and made our way down to the German restaurant in The Rocks where we sat in the beer garden and enjoyed, yes, more schnitzel and fries! (My time in Australia certainly wasn't Weight-Watcher-friendly, but I still managed to lose 2.6 pounds because of all the walking!). It was a wonderful end to an absolutely incredible day.

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