We arrived in Sydney in the middle of the afternoon after our long bus ride. Our hotel, the Russell, is in the Rocks area, and is close to a lot of fun stuff. It's very quaint - think tiny room, blue and white china on the mantle, a quilt on the bed, and NO TV!
First off, we walked out to the Rocks Market, which is stall after stall of goods: jewelry, hand made clothes, wooden carvings, all kinds of food from corn cobs on a stick, to mini cupcakes and fudge, realistic rubber masks, crocheted hats, embroidered pillows, and on and on. We had a good time browsing all the interesting items.
After hearing warnings from the Melbourian people, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved Sydney right away. The cobble stone streets, old architecture, food and more delicious food - I think it's a wonderful city and I can see why so many millions call it their home.
We decided to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge next. It took us a few tries to figure out how to find the stairs up but as soon as we did, and climbed, we were rewarded with awesome views of the Harbour area, the Opera House, and the city skyline even though it was a bit overcast. There is a bridge climb you can pay to do, where you get harnessed in and can walk right on top of the bridge itself, but neither of us decided to do that (a bit pricey - and I’m sure I'd be too scared and carefully watching my step to enjoy the view).
So we had to be happy just walking across and back. Here is the bridge - a view from below (we walked the straight across part near the bottom):
And the view:
Tyler was very patient with me as I took about 37 pictures of the Opera House from slightly different angles. I can't help it. I love the building and I just couldn't believe that I was seeing it, here, in real, right in front of me. I've always wanted to visit the Opera House and it feels surreal that we are here in Sydney, across the world, just taking a walk and snapping photos of this iconic building. I just felt so, SO lucky.
After our walk, we wandered around Circular Quay for awhile, where all the ferries and boats come in, and had to stop for this hilarious street performer. I swear, he turned a 3 minute act of juggling fire and climbing on a bike set on top of a pole in a 30-plus minute comedy routine. He had audience volunteers, a ton of dead-pan jokes...he was really fun to watch (oh - and it turns out he could actually juggle flaming torches, and a chainsaw, while eating an apple, too!)
Once the sun went down, a huge crowd gathered at the Quay. Like hundreds, thousands of people, to watch this light show that Sydney has on right now. It involves different light installation art pieces across the city, and a big part is the lights flashing over the Opera House at 6pm. We watched for awhile (I even managed to snag a decent , mostly unobstructed spot along the water) and watched the light show.
I liked it when they had motion - like a jelly fish shape dancing across the sails of the Opera House, or vibrating lines of yellow and blue. Really cool. I think we will go back on Monday night when (maybe?) the hordes of people will be a bit less than on a Saturday night.
After walking around a bit longer, we got a drink at the Russell Wine Bar (attached to our hotel). We were going to get something to eat, but the cheese plate alone was 25$ so we decided to finish our drinks and head out to look for something heartier.
As soon as we stepped outside, we knew it was a mistake. It had started pouring rain and the streets were so crammed with people that Tyler said it reminded him of Canada Day in Ottawa (not just cause of the rain, either!) It was chaotic - even the ice cream shop had a huge line to get in! We went back to the Rocks market and I managed to wiggle towards the front of a food stall, 6 people deep, and snag plates of food which turned out to be delicious - some kind of thin, Turkish pancake with spinach, ricotta (I think) and spicy ground beef. Phew!
We retreated through the masses of people back to our hotel, and ate quickly before turning in for an early night. Lots to do in Sydney and we don't want to miss anything!