We arrived in Sydney around noon on Saturday, yet we didn't actually get out and explore much of the city until Monday. After twelve days of racing down the coast from Cairns to Byron Bay we were just a little bit exhausted. Other than two short walks to find food, we mostly spent our first forty-eight hours in Sydney resting in the comfort of our Airbnb apartment.
Our apartment's location was fanastic, though. We were just minutes away from Bondi Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world. There is a walk from Bondi to Coogee, another nearby beach, that we stumbled upon one day. The entire 6k trail is full of beautiful beaches and Sydney scenery. Though we didn't do the full walk, we did enjoy the bits we saw!
The next day we had regained all of our energies and so we made a full day out of seeing the sites of Sydney. We started at Hyde park and wandered through all of it's valor. This included the Anzac Memorial and the Barracks Museum.
Next we walked through the Sydney Mint Museum and I squashed a penny for my grandpa.
Afterwards we found the Royal Botanical Gardens and though it was quite lovely, we all agreed that the one in Rockhampton was much more interesting. Still, there was a public art display going on called “Skin and Bones.” This told the history of the site, both that their used to be a building there and also that the aboriginal people used to inhabit the land in its natural state. Patricia and I found this rather fascinating.
Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge
As we walked onward and onward we were all surprised when all at once the archs of the Sydney Opera House filled the horizon and left us speechless. How wonderful it was to see such a famous icon. This was one of the scenes I had seen dozens of times but never in real life. To see it in person was truly phenomenal.
I was even more surprised to find that the Sydney Bridge was right behind the Opera House. From the looks of the maps I had been studying it seemed as though the bridge was a bit farther from the Opera House. However, they are both huge structures and therefore they look closer than they are. We paused to admire both and then walked around and up the stairs to see the Opera House up close.
Inside we found a gift shop full of the most wonderful souvenirs. After we spent way too much we walked back outside and down towards the Circular Quay. I'd read tons about the Circular Quay and everything around it. For months I had enjoyed saying the word “Quay” in my head. It was a nice word that sounded good to me. It wasn't until I said this outloud to an Australian that I realized the word was pronouned “key” and was the old enlgish spelling of the word.
After viewing the bridge and the opera house we were all quite hungry. Patricia was already missing Mexican food as much as I was and so when google pulled up a Mexican recommendation we were all quick to jump on it.
What we found was an amazing place near the rocks called El Camino. Let me just say that this place serves the best margaritas and tacos in all of Australia. I will put my name to it because I have tried margaritas and tacos all over this country and up until now I couldn't recommend much at all.
The place had a classic rock vibe with spicy influences. The wall had flames painted on it and the chips were served out of an old el camino trunk. The coolest part was the menus, which were printed on the front and back of old records. We all gapped at how well this place would do in Southwest Oklahoma.
Contemporary Arts Museum
After a most satisfying lunch we went to the Contemporary Arts Museum. There we walked through an exhibit that examined the idea of time, both the western-thinking linear idea of it and also the idea that it continues on and on through reincarnation and other beliefs. The main description quoted one of my favorite philosophers, Khalil Jibran.
Just passed the description there stood a very large clock in the middle of the room. It's tick was loud and the hands moved mechanically to the sound. I watched for a while before Patricia called my attention to the backside of the clock. This was even more fascinating. I watched as the gears shifted and turned with each tick. How humbling it was to see that this was all that made up a clock. Just a few tiny mechanisms and that's all it took to control so much of our lives. We live by the clock. We work by the clock. We live for time and time is always fleeting. Time holds our fears and goals. Time holds the answers. Time will tell and it does. All of this went through my mind as the gears clicked. Left. Right. Click. Click. Click. Click.
My thoughts meandered more as we walked through the exhibits. I enjoyed a video that showed four people doing nothing but laughing. The idea was that humans are entertained by simply watching other people life. Quite often we will laugh along too, just because. The film was an hour long and though I didn't watch the full hour, I appreciated the concept of time and laughter being intertwined.
BBQ with AirBnb Host
After a full day of touring we rode the bus back to our AirBnb apartment in a nearby neighborhood. Our host's name was Pip and he was a very friendly middle-aged man who was happy to share his home with us. He suggested that we have a bbq dinner so we could better get to know each other and also the other couple our age who was staying in the apartment as well. Together we all sat in his living room and had a wonderful time discussing our different cultures, religions and politics.