Friday, May 12, 2017

Last stop in Australia - Syndey

We planned on spending our last few days in Australia in Sydney.  We flew from Adelaide on JetStar; it was a nice flight except that our luggage didn't get to ride on the plane with us.  Grrr!  We were told it would be in the next plane and it should be in by 3 pm.  Well, I won't bore you with the entire tale but it was 9 pm by the time our luggage got to the hotel.  The hotel people were great but the luggage handlers really dropped the ball.  In addition, while my suitcase seemed untouched my wife's suitcase, which had been locked, was missing it's lock.  Finally, her house keys turned out to be missing as well.  Really, why anyone would steal house keys from an airline passenger is beyond me but I'm convinced that is what happened.

We were staying in a hotel called the Larmont Sydney "by Lancemore" in a region called Kings Cross.  The hotel seemed very nice but the region has lots of bars and sometimes the drunks were pretty noisy even though we were on the 6th floor.  Our first day in a new city is usually when we set out walking and this was no exception.  The view from our room included the Opera House, the bridge and part of the waterfront.  Nice but someone is building in front of the hotel and that will limit the views.
However, walking down the hill was quite pleasant.  We came across St. Mary's Cathedral. 
It is a lovely building and just after I took this photo a newly married couple came out to pose for photos on the steps.  Very nice.  I've written more than a little about the use of art and of older buildings and Sydney is no exception.  We were walking along and found this guy.
There was a collection box for a local hospital and if you put in money and rubbed his nose you were supposed to have good luck.  His nose was certainly rubbed clean and another part as well.  I'm not sure what rubbing that was supposed to bring:  fertility?  Anyway...

We came across a park that had something I've never seen before.  There was this large area with what appears to be parts of old buildings.
It looks like someone saved these pieces of architectural art work and just decided to make a display of them.  I thought it was a pretty cool idea.  There was no notice board or anything to tell the casual observer what was going on so your guess would be as good as mine. 

We came across this building which I thought was pretty cool.  It is labeled as The British Medical Association, MCMXXX.  Of course it is sandwiched between two much newer buildings.
We did eventually make it to the harbor and all that entails.  The Opera House is probably in first place on everyone's list.  We discovered that they have a lovely cafe where they sell quite nice beer!  We were also able to sign up for a tour on the next day.
When you turn the other way you see the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  It's quite impressive as well.
 Here is a bit of a closeup.
If you look closely you can see people walking on top of the bridge.  My wife and I didn't really care for the idea so we skipped that particular tour.  We thought of walking on the regular bridge deck but didn't manage that either.  We did take a ferry around the harbor a bit and over to the Aquarium.  I was rather disappointed in the Aquarium.  It is quite compact with many levels and smallish exhibits.  It was also overrun with children!  It did specialize in fish from the water around Australia and I thought that was an excellent idea.

We decided to use the tram system and found it quite useful.  You buy a card and load it with a certain amount of money.  Then you swipe the card when you get on the tram and again when you get off.  It was very handy; as tourists however it was a little tricky to have 'enough' money on the card but not have a lot left over when it is time to leave the city.  Oh well.

We also took the ferry up to Manly.  Manly is a beach town that was just a beach town.  Our excuse for visiting was just to ride the ferry and see more of the harbor area.  For that, it worked great.

We had to tour the Opera House.  It is quite the building and much of the tour was about the design and the long building process.  In fact the Danish architect wasn't around during the latter part of the building process.  The interior is lovely with a lot of wood.
The unfortunate part was that the opera does not allow photography in the actual theatres if they are in use.  That's silly!  So what if you take a photo that includes someone practicing their lines?  So what if you get a photo of a set?  They cite copywrite laws but to me it seems like nothing except free publicity. 

One thing I found impressive is shown here.
This is where four sections of the floor come together.  It is screwed to the framework and each section can be removed for maintenance.  That was true of every floor and wall.  I imagine it is true for the ceiling but couldn't document that.  I've never seen anything like that before.

The building is covered by tiles of various shades.
I find the detail as amazing as the whole.  It does take work though.
These guys were inspecting the tiles for damage.  That's quite the job!

Throughout our visit we've seen the cruise ships in port.  It is usual to see a different ship tied up every day.
The Explorer of the Seas was in town and hordes of people were getting on and off her.  There was a huge line of taxis trying to drop people off.  The next day it was the Radiance of the Seas tied up in the same spot.

We got up by 05:30  on the day we were to leave.  Ok, we're a little crazy that way.  So we get to the airport about 08:00 for a 10:10 boarding call.  Hmmm, it wasn't happening.  By 11:10 everyone was standing around getting crazy when the Captain got off the plane and came and talked to us.  It turns out they have a truck that delivers food and drink to the plane.  The whole bed of the truck is raised up to the level of the plane and they just unload.  EXCEPT that this truck broke down while the bed was up in the air.  It won't go up and it won't come down.  It is above the height of the wing so the plane cannot be moved.  And there is an interlock so the truck can't move when it's bed is lifted in the air.  SO, everyone just gets to wait!  Of course they had a guy trying to fix the truck but whatever it was, it wasn't working.  At least everyone was relieved to know that it wasn't that Delta was just being obnoxious.  Why someone from the ground crew hadn't bothered to tell us this I'll never understand.  Anyway we did finally get food on the plane; passengers on the plane; the truck fixed and moved and off we went. 

That's our month south of the equator; a first for both of us.  Next time I'll try to do a few final thoughts and talk a bit about what we found when we got home.  Thanks for stopping by!

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