Spectacular Sydney

22 Aug

Thursday 11th August – The Opera

Sadly the time had finally come for me to leave the Gold Coast (I’ll definitely be going back someday!) and move on to Sydney to meet Dave and do proper touristy things before heading to New Zealand. We arrived at lunchtime and managed to obtain a shuttle from the airport to the Original Backpackers’ Hostel, which was to be our home for the next three days. Ravenous, we then went straight to Cole’s to buy enough cheese and Danish sausage to keep us sustained for at least a week.

The plan was to eat at Peter Doyle’s – which is famous for its fish and chips and has fantastic views of the bridge and Opera House – so we gussied up and wandered to Circular Quay through the Botanic Gardens. Everything looked very pretty as the sun was going down, and got even prettier as night set in and all the lights came on:

Sydney Harbour Bridge sparkling at night

Sydney Opera House at night

Sydney CBD at night

Unbeknownst to Dave I had also planned a super secret surprise trip to the actual Opera House to see an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s legendary Of Mice and Men. The manager lady at Doyle’s was in on my conspiracy to surprise, as I had especially arranged to eat early so we could get to the Opera House in time for the show. Despite her managing to nearly let it slip when we arrived (she asked, “So, are you two going to see an exciting show tonight?” and realised what she’d done as soon as she said it!) Dave managed to remain blissfully ignorant to what I had planned (awww).

We got stuck into some excellent food: I had some teriyaki salmon with crispy skin – salmon skin truly is the crackling of the fish world – and Dave was very classy and ordered fish and chips. It was, needless to say, scrummy. Dave cheerfully pointed out how funny it was that everyone thought we were off to see some posh opera show, and was suitably surprised when I revealed to him that we actually were! I was very pleased with myself, and thankfully so was he 🙂

After dinner we wandered back around the quay to the Opera House, which was beautifully illuminated and buzzing with the crowds arriving for the night’s performance. It was very strange knowing that we were actually part of it! Not only had I managed to obtain relatively cheap tickets, I had managed to get seats in the second row for the closing performance of the tour, so it promised to be a memorable experience.

The show was excellent – the guy who played Lennie captured his personality and mannerisms perfectly, and the supporting cast were all extremely talented. They even had a real dog on the stage! The end was utterly tragic (and as it turned out, strangely prophetic of our upcoming holiday plans…) and we left feeling a mixture of excitement and bleak depression. Steinbeck was an absolute genius of a storyteller.

So yah dahling, I had a rather spiffingly good time at the operah.

Friday 12th August – Rain

When we woke up the day after the opera it was cloudy and raining pretty heavily, so we spent a lazy morning in bed reading and watching terrible childrens’ television. I would have been quite happy doing that for the entire day, but thankfully Dave is a normal person who likes to do things with his life, so he made me get out of bed and come for a walk through the gardens.

Everything still looked very pleasant despite the rain, and we even saw a stingray floating around under the water in the bay! I finally discovered the macro setting on my amazing camera:

Flowers in Sydney's Botanic Gardens

Pretty flowers

More pretty flowers

After a good stroll round the gardens, we went back to the hostel for the evening’s Aussie barbecue. We obtained a bottle of Cleanskins wine (sadly not as good as the transcendental one I had in Brisbane, but still pretty good for $6) and ate a large amount of barbecued goods. I drank my half of the bottle of wine rather fast as I was extremely annoyed about certain sanctimonious religious arseholes peddling their misguided and idiotic opinions on Facebook. The wine helped a lot – although I think I may have scared the French people sharing our table. One of these days I will learn to contest peoples’ offensive beliefs without feeling scared of appearing impolite.

After the barbecue we watched Taken with Liam Neeson – definitely now one of my top action films ever! For those of you wondering, the plot basically involves Liam Neeson’s daughter being kidnapped at the start, and him killing EVERYONE.

At some point around 3am we were woken by some noisy drunken Gap Yah students getting in from their night out. I wouldn’t have minded so much if they had been enjoying amusing drunken banter, but unfortunately they instead became engaged in a competition to see who had the most stultifyingly dull personality. A posh English boy (I was ashamed to be associated with him) and a singularly one-dimensional Californian girl talked for at least an hour about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. We were so furiously bored by listening to them that we couldn’t get to sleep for ages! I never will understand people who take a year out to “experience the world” and “grow as a person” when all they end up doing is getting wasted in various capital cities across the world with groups of people just as trite and tedious as they are.

Saturday 13th August – Sightseeing

It was lovely and sunny so we went to do our obligatory rounds of Sydney’s tourist attractions. I am pleased to report that everything looked just as pretty in the light of day as it did all lit up and sparkling at night:

Woolloomooloo Bay

Approaching the Opera House through the Botanic Gardens

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House seen from the bridge

On the way up to the Harbour Bridge we encountered what I think was the Sydney Rocks market. There were stalls selling all sorts of interesting touristy things, alongside some genuinely talented artists and producers. There was a man who was blowing and shaping tiny glass ornaments in front of everyone at his stall, and we also watched an amazing display by a spray paint artist called Darren Germain, who created a masterpiece before our eyes in a matter of minutes. I wished I had double my luggage allowance and double the money in my bank account so I could stock up on lots of pretty things, but as things stood I had very little of either to spare so I made do with a small art print from one of the stalls, and very nice it was too 🙂

By this point Dave was starting to complain that his feet were hurting – he’s been training hard for the Great North Run, anyone who hasn’t sponsored him yet can do so at http://www.justgiving.com/David-Thewlis – so we started to walk back to the hostel. On the way I couldn’t resist dragging him into an opal shop to look at the ridiculously expensive stones (some were over $30,000!) and buy the cheapest thing in the shop (a twinkly boulder opal for $10).

We had amazing gelato from a stall opposite the ferry terminals in Circular Quay and ate some sandwiches in the botanic gardens. If that wasn’t enough food, when we got back to Victoria Street we went to WaterMoon for plum wine and incredible sushi, including soft shell crab (epic win) and marinated raw octopus, which was much nicer than the stuff me and Sam had at St Sushi in Newcastle!

We made sure we got an early night in preparation for moving on to Christchurch the following day. If only the holiday could have ended here…


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