Sydney is my favorite city in the world!
We stayed at the Four Seasons and loved it. It is a beautiful hotel in The Rocks area of Sydney walking distance to the opera house and circular quay, which is the hub of the Sydney harbor. What blew me away most about this hotel, besides our room having a door bell, was the service. Normally we do not require much in the way of “service” from a hotel, but the staff seemed to know what we needed before we did.
Our flight landed in the morning and although exhausted, we agreed that we needed to stay awake all day. We had decided beforehand that we were going to take things a bit easy while in Sydney, since that was the location of our wedding, and not go all gung-ho on sightseeing and wear ourselves out. First up to get ourselves oriented was a harbor cruise. I cannot tell you how excited I was to finally see the Sydney opera house in person. The harbor, bridge and opera house are a beautiful sight, even on a cloudy day.
Chris read about a brewery/bar/hotel called Lord Nelson in a guide book so this was high on his list of things to see. Apparently it is the oldest bar in Sydney and goes back to the 1841. After the harbor cruise we decided it was time for a drink…apparently not something you can do at 10:30am on a Sunday. When the doors to the place would not open, I proceeded to pound on them. Oops, did not realize the day/time would be an issue since my body did not really know what day or time it was. We ended up going here a few times and saddled up to the bar to try the various beers. I liked that I could get a half pint instead of a full pint so I could try different kinds. I recently learned it is not “ladylike” to drink a full pint so I am glad I ordered the half pints. Another of our favorite drinking places was the outside bar of the opera house. We just sat and had drinks and listened to the band that was playing.
The first two days of the trip were pretty cloudy, then on day three (wedding day!) I opened up the curtains to see a glorious sunny day!
We did some exploring while in Sydney. One day we got on a ferry and just picked a random spot to get off and walk around. It was a regular suburban type place that gave a good feel of what it is like to live there. Another day we took the ferry over to Manly beach to take a “walk”. First we went and saw Manly beach which reminded us of the beaches at home in southern California.
The walk started in Manly and hugged the coast. Little did we know that one guide book’s “walk” is another guide book’s “hike”. We were not prepared at all! We thought we could do it both ways with no problem…with me wearing Keds (and no socks) and only 1 bottle of water. It started out on a paved path and along the coast just like we expected, then turned inland and got hilly and woodsy and hot fast! When we got to the end of it, we had not the time nor the desire to go back the other way so we decided to take a bus back to Manly. This was more of an adventure as it was hard to find the right bus stop and we walked across a bridge at one point just before it lifted up to let a boat under!
The reason we were in a hurry to get back from the walk was that we were going to the opera that night! We had our choice of the one about the dingo taking the baby or one about fairies. We chose the one about fairies although it was a lesson for me as I thought the opera would be more like the big musical productions like Phantom of the Opera but this opera was much more low tech and whimsical.
Did you know you can climb to the top of the Sydney harbor bridge? We did it! This was not scary at all as we were hooked into things that we had to move along the way so it was impossible to fall off. The view from the top was beautiful and learning the history of the bridge was interesting as well. The grey suits were not flattering but we had to wear them so that we blended in with the bridge.
One reason that Australia seemed so appealing was that they speak English and we did not expect things to be too different from home. One thing that totally stumped us was how things worked in restaurants, mainly around the check. In casual places they do not bring a check but instead you go up to the front, tell them your table number and then they tell you what you owe. Nice restaurants bring the check, but we had to ask for it. Their concept of “take away” was also a little different in that they had places with food in the window that you could get to go. One night we got take away meat pies and sat on a bench overlooking the opera house to eat them. It does not take much work at all to have a great time in Sydney.
We were sad to leave Sydney since we had such a great time, but next we were on to the Red Center.