Monday, February 17, 2014


That's the way they spell harbor here, and what a beautiful harbor it is.  I didn't think I would see Sydney in the sunshine when I looked at a weather forecast that predicted rain for my entire 6-day visit.  I'm staying here with a friend I made at a language school in Bologna.  Maggie is a solicitor for the University of Sydney who is just a couple of weeks from retirement.  She graciously invited me to stay with her and we've been having a great time in spite of the weather.

My first day here, we went to see The Magic Flute at The Opera House.  

It was a fabulous production, directed by the woman who also did The Lion King--fabulous costumes and sets and sung in English.  Afterward, we wandered around the city a bit.

The following day, we went into the city again, starting with a delicious lunch in Chinatown.  Then we visited the Queen Victoria Building which was designed in the late 1890's as a shopping center and was recently restored, preserving some of its original features, such as colorful tile flooring and these stained glass windows.

Maggie posed for me by this winding staircase.

We walked afterward through a park with some lovely fig trees arching the way.

At the end of this walkway, there is Archibald Fountain, which wouldn't fit in my camera lens, so I found this picture on the Internet.

Here's one of my shots which I think gives a better idea of its beauty, if only partially.

Close to the fountain is St. Mary's Cathedral with its impressive twin Gothic spires.

Our next destination was the Contemporary Art Museum, which had a pretty good collection of European  art, including paintings by Monet, Picasso, Corot, Van Gogh, Rubens, and 
Pissaro.  There were some interesting works by aboriginal artists.  I'm guessing this one is a rendition of a spirit.

Over a cup of tea in the museum cafe, I spotted these two colorful love birds perched under the umbrella of a patio table.

Sydney also has a very impressive library building.  I loved the front entrance doors with their aboriginal carvings.

 We did all this in the rain.

But the following day the sun shone on us.  We took advantage of the weather shift and hopped on a ferry to Watsons Bay, a harborside eastern suburb of the city.  The Opera House and the harbor bridge looked more impressive from the water.  

Before having lunch, we took a long walk on a nature trail that looped along the shore and through the woods, and got some nice photos along the way.

There were fortifications from the days when the harbor needed protecting from invaders as well as this old lighthouse.

And here are a couple of friends enjoying the day together.

There was also a nude beach but sorry, no photos of bathers in birthday suits.

On my last day, Maggie and I hiked around the Royal Botanic Gardens.  It seems that every country that was once in the British Empire has these "royal" gardens.  The gardens occupy some prime real estate along the harbor shore.  And, if you haven't had enough views of the Opera House, here's one from yet a different perspective.

This is my favorite because the theater looks like a big sailboat coming into the harbor.

The governor of New South Wales lives in the garden in this stately mansion.

And his view is none too shabby.

There are some old, old trees here with huge, fantastically gnarled trunks.

And here and there was some beautiful statuary.  This lovely was called "The Ballerina".

There are all knds of interesting birds in Australia.  I loved the orange face on this one.  It was feeding at the edge of a lovely pond where we saw fairly big fish jumping out of the water every few minutes,

When we took a gelato break, this magpie and a few others couldn't be shooed away.  They're professional beggars.

We walked for about three hours until we arrived at King's Cross, where we were meeting some friends for dinner.

You might recognize these two lovely women, Caroline and Nathalie.  They were my bunkmates on the cruise I took on Doubtful Sound on the South Island of New Zealand.  They've been traveling around Australia for a few days and remembered that we would be in Sydney at the same time.  It was great fun to see them again, and I'll have one more opportunity when I visit their home city of Paris in May.  Maggie, being a gracious and hospitable woman, is also hosting them during their 4-day stay in Sydney.  This is the most wonderful thing about traveling--meeting really lovely people along the way and making memories together.

On to Brisbane!

No comments: