That Sydney Skyline

Everyone will tell you that the Sydney Opera House is one of the most photographed landmarks in the world, and even though it didn’t make the top ten posted on Flickr, I can totally understand this particular Aussie boast. Once you see it, you just can’t stop taking pictures of it. It’s actually made up of several buildings and as you walk around it, together they produce an everchanging pattern with each step you take. The architecture is as stunning and dramatic as I always thought it would be, but  a wee surprise – even though the white roofs look smooth from a distance, up close you can see that they are actually covered with a mix of glossy and matte cream-coloured tiles. 

That gave me a little secret thrill of discovery even though millions of people have visited before me. I remember when I saw the Eiffel Tower and it was so familiar and also kinda like every picture I had ever seen of it. I mean, we’ve all seen hundreds of pictures of certain things and places but yet we still travel to see them for ourselves, to discover them for ourselves. And it’s magical when there is actually still something left to discover, something that we didn’t know before despite our fine educations and the existence of Google and Wikipedia. I know they’re just tiles, but trust me, it was magical.

 

I did get lots of face time with the Opera House as I ended up visiting the area in and around Sydney Harbour three times. The first Saturday I was there  (after the trip to Featherdale), me, Tammy and the Pennster took the ferry over to Manly on the Northern Beaches as the sun set. It was about a 30 minute ride over and since I was a kid who grew up spending every Sunday on her dad’s boat, I am always happy to get on the water. I’m thinking I might like to learn to sail, actually. We’ll see.

Then I did two Sydney city walks – with the first one, I started the day by having breakfast in Maroubra with my old high school friend from Trinidad, Ingrid Wilson. She moved here years ago from London, and neither of us could remember when we’d last seen each other. So after compressing 10 years of personal history into an eggs-on-Turkish-toast-and-a-long-black minute, she dropped me downtown near Circular Quay, which is the ferry dock on the harbour. I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art and saw the most amazing retrospective show of work by Fiona Foley, walked through The Rocks (the old colonial district), part of the way on the Harbour Bridge (saw bridge climbers) and then round through Darling Harbour.

The second walk saw me starting back near Circular Quay, but this time, walking the other way, up close to the Opera House, through the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and into the CBD. Australian cities don’t seem to use the term “downtown” or even “high street” which is what I would expect since they still feel so British to me. The Royal Botanic Gardens are right there, in the middle of the city, next to the central business district, and it made me once again lament the absence of a huge green space in downtown Toronto. All large central city parks are the same – filled with every type of city resident, all rubbing up against each other in their leisure moments. I love that.

But the Royal Botanic Gardens are even more amazing because they host colonies of flying foxes (my new animal  fascination). There are thousands of them living in several trees in the middle of the park, constantly rustling and flying about. Their presence is killing trees and the goverment wants to move them. There were signs posted in several places asking for resident feedback about the decision to use noisemakers to encourage them to reestablish their  colonies elsewhere. Maybe they should have tried that with the camel cull plans in Docker River.

London has Selfridges and Sydney has David Jones, so after a quick browse there, I caught a bus to Bondi Beach and did the classic Bondi (bond-eye) to Coogee (cudgie) Coastal Walk. This walk seems to be as popular with locals as it is with tourists. Bondi is everything you would want in an Australian beach and I felt like an extra in an Australian TV series. It just has that sense of drama about it. And of course, it’s the perfect location for a beach shoot.

The coastal walk starts near Bondi Iceberg’s club, and takes you past several beaches and bays. People were out on dates or walking their dogs or just heading one bay over for another swim. If this is not part of the Department of Immigration’s recruitment strategy, then it really should be. You got me, Bondi, you got me good.

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2 Responses

  1. nice photos 🙂
    thx for showing the Opera House’s tiles in detail.

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