Saturday, January 21, 2006

Harbour Lights

No not the 90’s BBC show starring Tina Hobley and Nick (every loser wins) Berry

This is about Sydney. Having time on my hands before I take up my new job in Brisbane I decided to make the most of it and see one of the most famous cities in the world.

Okay, I’ll be up front about this, it rained. In fact it rained for about 3 whole days. Surely this is weather of Noah proportions in Australia, what are the chances? I was disappointed that much is true, but I had a window of exactly how beautiful and accessible Sydney can be.

On the first evening we decided to take a walk around Circular Quays (the place where the Opera house and the Harbour bridge is to you and me) In the times of TV and Internet it could be easy to feel certain anticlimax when faced with such iconic structures. This I can assure you was not the case. I felt in awe looking at the Harbour Bridge. Not so much with the actual Bridge, but what it represented to me. It was a symbol of how far I’ve come. There was no escaping it I was in Australia and really it was at that point it really hit home.

That evening I had one of the best dining experiences since I ate a three-course gourmet lunch in a directors box at Anfield. I, not being able to repress my Britishness ordered fish and chips, though there wasn’t a wooden chip fork or newspaper in sight. The food was excellent but it was the whole experience that made it special. The Sun had decided to come out and play, I was looking out onto the harbour bridge, the smell of jasmine was wafting through the evening breeze and by chance, there was a busker playing classical guitar, he DID play some Abba but neither Fernando or Waterloo could break this moment. As I was experiencing it I knew I would remember this for the rest of my life.

Later that evening I had a chance to get to know the Harbour bridge first hand. I was doing the famous Bridge climb. This is an elaborate trek up to the apex of the structure via numerous catwalks, ladders and plinths. The was no chance of taking this lightly. I had to wear safety equipment that was more akin to a sky dive, though I did look cool in jumpsuit make no mistake.

The Climb took about three hours and it was quite a physical exertion especially as I had been on the go since 4am and the climb was at 8pm. Once we were up there (134 meters above sea level ) it was all worth it. The view of the night lit Sydney cityscape was amazing. I feel I should give a special thanks to my wonderful wife for overcoming her fear of heights and accompanying me on this experience. Though I do fear she’ll never be the same :)

Apart from the Opera house and the harbour bridge it’s quite tricky to think of other obvious attractions in Sydney. There are a few.

We went to the Sydney Aquarium, which was pretty cool and had an excellent walk-though tank which surrounded you with Sharks and Turtles

Despite the weather we felt compelled to visit the world-renowned Bondi Beach. It was not like I had expected. I thought you wouldn’t be able to move for Starbucks, Macca’s ( as the call MacDonalds here) and portentous boutiques all eager to cash on the ‘surf’ dollar. The vibe was true to the surf spirit, there was a bohemian 70’s air to the place that was very cool, though I doubt the rent reflected 70’s prices. There was an adjoining skate park and the surrounding walls were illustrated with graffiti tributes to friends and families that the surf had claimed. I didn’t stay too long, but I did make time to have an ice coffee and some Vegi-mite on toast whilst watching the surfers erm….surf.

So the weather was rubbish but I saw enough to know exactly how awesome Sydney can be and I’ll be sure to go back to sample the famous New Year festivities.

…And there was no Nicky Berry in sight!

Nicely written piece man - particularly liked "though I did look cool in a jumpsuit make no mistake. Man, I thought the climb was basically just a brisk uphill walk - but it sounds more like a frigging platform game.

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