Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Australia - last day in Sydney

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today was our last full day in Sydney and we had the morning free from any tour activities so I was fortunate enough to meet up with my cousin, Ate Maris, and her husband, Kuya Vlady.  They met me at my hotel and we set off on foot to head towards the Sydney Opera House and walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Along the way we stopped at St Mary's Cathedral to peek in and took many pictures at the Opera House and along the harbour (getting into the spirit of the Queen's English and adding those "u"s in).

Ate Maris (left) and me with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background - she told me I had to have at least 10 pictures taken to prove I was there, haha

We had a bit of an adventure trying to find the entrance to where we could begin to walk on the bridge but we eventually managed to find it.  Ate Maris and Kuya Vlady have lived in the Sydney suburbs since 1994 but they've never walked the bridge either.  They told me they were probably more excited than me to finally walk across it, lol.  I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of my life and still haven't ridden a cable car so I know how they feel.

Kuya Vlady and Ate Maris on their first walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

It was a great day and we were blessed with both beautiful weather and even more beautiful views.  The view from the bridge was excellent and it was nice to see the Opera House from across the water.  I don't think I've seen a bad view in Australia yet.  We had an early lunch at a cafe overlooking the harbour and I enjoyed fish n chips once again.

After the bridge walk we caught the train back near my hotel and Chinatown and browsed through Paddy's Market.  It was similar to the Victoria Market in Melbourne but without the foodstuffs.  A quick walk through Chinatown and we were back at the hotel in time for me to catch our next tour excursion of a walking tour of Sydney through St Mary's Cathedral, the Botanical Gardens and the art galleries.  Then back to the Opera House where we got a guided tour inside.  It was very informative and fascinating to learn the Opera House was originally proposed to take 3 years to finish and cost $7M.  Instead it took 16 years to finish at a cost of $102M which, when adjusted for inflation, in today's dollars would have cost over $1B.  Yikes.  It's too bad we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the 3 theaters they toured us through as they were seriously impressive.  Almost impressive enough to make me reconsider going to see Madame Butterfly tonight but not quite.  Besides, I'm meeting my Aussie cousins again, this time for dinner, on my last night in Sydney and that'll probably be more fun.

View of the Opera House from the Harbour Bridge

St Mary's Cathedral

All in all, a great day in a great city.  Tomorrow, it's on to New Zealand for the last leg(s) of our tour.

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