|Somewhat famous lndmarks|
Sydney has a wow factor that only a city with the kind of iconic landmarks of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge can provide. Melbourne was a lovely city (and apparently “The Most Liveable in the World” according to something I read in the last couple of days…yeah I can see that) but it lacked the feeling of “welcome to Oz” that Sydney has.
|The Fern Enclosure|
Wandering around the city on my first day my first sight of the Harbour Bridge/Opera House double team couldn’t have been better; rounding a corner of the Botanical Gardens they suddenly emerged from behind some trees. I was, shall we say, mildly impressed. The rest of the city had the standard features of a major Southern Hemisphere metropolis; a waterfront, some tall and shiny buildings, a massive viewing tower. Yet Sydney also has some of the most amazing public spaces I’ve seen; the Botanical Gardens are a massive reserve of every single different kind of plant, both tropical and non, that you could find. There’s even a fern enclosure. As in an enclosure for ferns. Genius.
Going up the Westfield Tower gives you the best view over the city’s suburbs and coastline (as you’d expect from a 200m high viewing tower), but I got the feeling that the building of some of Sydney’s more modern skyscrapers had somewhat obscured the view of the city itself. Still, I was able to maintain my new tradition of coffees in tall buildings and enjoy the view.
|Bondi Beach. It's a beach|
Some unseasonably warm weather, even for Sydney, of 34 degrees persuaded me to hit Bondi Beach on the Monday. Famed for its surf and bronzed inhabitants, Bondi Beach is the go-to place for people looking to escape the city and catch some waves. A brief 30 minute bus ride out of town brought me to Bondi and it was…well it was a beach. It’s a nice beach, don’t get me wrong but to be honest, it lives and dies by whether or not you’re there to catch surf/sunbathe or if you’re actually looking for something to do. I never thought I’d find myself wanting for some Blackpool-style slot machines and gaming halls in Australia. Luckily there’s a nice coastal walk you can take that kills an hour or so. And I'd have been far more receptive had I not recently spent a week on a beach in Fiji.
|4 Pines "Speciality" Brew|
Tuesday brought rain (Rain! In Australia!?) which made my decision to catch the ferry to Manly (another beach location) slightly dubious, yet the 4 Pines microbrewery there made the trip worthwhile; serving excellent beer and some brilliant food.
I was also able to indulge my more cultured side on Tuesday by heading to the Opera House to take in a Bell Shakespeare production of Julius Caesar. In a joke I’ve already made on facebook (but have no problem repeating here) I was slightly hoping for an “et tu Bruce” reference. Regrettably there was none. However the play itself was a damn fine attempt (if slightly strange to hear Shakespeare with an Aussie accent) and Kate Mulvany was excellent as Cassius. Check it out; theatre criticism in my blog. Even I thought that would never happen.
Sufficed to say I’ve fallen a little bit in love with Sydney. As I sat sipping a beer staring at the bridge at dusk I realised I could get used to this town (if not the food prices - $2.50 for a red pepper! $2.50!!) but tonight marks the nightbus to Byron Bay, a stop-over on my route to Brisbane and a friendly face in the form of Coopers.