Australia: Day Two – A day of ships and sails
When I work, I generally don’t get much more than 6 or 7 hours of sleep. 7 is me being generous too. So going to bed at 11pm last night meant that I was up at 5:30, grumpy because my roommates decided that keeping the heat on all night was a brilliant idea. My skin ached and hair was standing on end. Despite that though, I realized the sun was just rising, so I ran upstairs with my camera to get a few shots of the run rising over Sydney harbour. I missed the most brilliant part, waiting for the terrace to unlock, but it still looked pretty spectacular. (Photos to come once I get back to Korea.)
Once that was over and done with, I crawled back into bed, skin soothed for the time being, and went back to sleep. My alarm was set for 9:00, however I decided to ignore that completely and slept in until 11, which was glorious. After a late breakfast from the hostel, I made my way down to the harbour to finally see Sydney Opera House up close and personal.
The view along the Circular Quay is so impressive, with the harbour bridge and the skyline and the opera house, it ended up taking me ages to finally get to the opera house. I kept taking photos, or just sitting on a bench and taking it all in. Sydney is SO beautiful, it continues to blow my mind.
I eventually got to the opera house, and decided that just looking at it wasn’t enough; I had to see inside as well. Luckily, the building has tours running every half hour, and the price was just right I suppose. The tour was really great, and I highly recommend it. I was really impressed with how they had headsets for everyone while the tour guide spoke, making sure she didn’t need to shout, and everyone could still hear. The Opera House is a magnificent facility. The theatres were so stunning, and there were so many interesting stories behind the building. We went into three theatres – The Drama Stage, the Concert Hall, and another hall where a musical theatre production was being rehearsed. It was really cool to watch a bit of the South Pacific rehearsals, which will be opening next week. After looking through the building for almost an hour, and hearing about all of the shows we would be seeing, I needed to go see a show here. Once the tour let out, I made my way over to the ticket box and asked, “What’s the cheapest ticket you have in the next few days?”
Turns out, the cheapest ticket was for that night, to see the Sydney Symphony, from the choir seats. Sweet. I grabbed a ticket and then realized I had about 4 hours to kill. Looking around the harbour, my eyes landed on the ferries. With a shrug, I hopped on the ferry to Manly. It was cheap, and it crossed it off my list, even if it was a short trip.
The boat ride to Manly was beautiful. While it lacks the information that comes with a harbour tour, it was cheaper and just as beautiful as the tour guide boats. Sitting along the side of the boat, I watched as we made our way down towards the ocean, pulling into Manly about 25 minutes later. I was so impressed with how Sydney has ferries as part of their public transportation system. Just like taking a bus or a subway, you can take a ferry to some of the further costal places, including the zoo. I certainly plan on using the service again.
Once I arrived at Manly, I made my way down the Cosco (which is the main road from the boats to the beach) but didn’t really stop anywhere. It was very tempting though, since the food seemed really cheap compared to the Quay and the Rocks, and it was really delicious smelling. However, I was on a time limit, so I marched on down to Manly Beach.
I know I should have expected it, but seeing people surfing in the middle of winter surprised me. Yes, I know, the weather is warmer than any winter I’ve ever experienced. But still, the water must have been cold. Manly Beach is gorgeous, and I ended up taking lots of photos as the sun set, laughing at a bunch of kids who kept going in the water, insisting to their parents that it wasn’t cold, despite their skin being beet red from the cold. I remember doing things like that.
When I got back to the ferries, I found that I had about 25 minutes to wait for the next boat. There was this really friendly Chinese massage place in the station, and for $15, he attempted to pound out the tension in my shoulders and back for 15 minutes. However, anyone who knows me knows that I carry the weight of the world upon my shoulders, and my muscles reflect that stress. He attempted to get me to stay for another 15 minutes, because he really had hardly touched the surface when it came to fixing my back. However, my boat was in and I had to dash. However, I wish I could have stayed, because he was really quite good for the prices he was offering.
Once I got back to the Opera House, I suppose I did have time to go back to the hostel and change, but I knew if I did that, I would sit on my bed and never get up again. So I bummed around the harbour, taking photos of the night lights until it was time to go.
I really wish I had gone back to change. Because as nice as my brand new sweater is, it really didn’t compare to the others at the symphony. I did have a nice dress in my bag, but I probably would have froze, so whatever, I was comfortable.
The Symphony was fantastic. I saw the Symphonic Dances performance, which was made up of Brahms “Piano Concerto No.1”, Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances”. All three were really impressive, but hands down I enjoyed the piece by Rachmaninoff the best. Because I was sitting in the choir seats, I was actually behind the orchestra, so I was looking out at the audience. It also meant we were right behind the percussion, and they were absolutely fascinating to watch. Plus, there was a lot of things happening in the music that was really interesting to listen to. There were also some really cool instruments involved. It’s always exciting when someone breaks out the bass clarinet (instrument of my heart) and the contrabassoon. They even had a cor anglais (English Horn) which I don’t believe I’ve actually seen performed before, which was really great.
Right now, I’m floundering at the keyboard, knowing there were about ten million other things that happened that I’m forgetting, but it’s really late, and I’d rather finish what I know than put it off and risk forgetting everything else. So I’ll end this here, and maybe more details will come to me in the morning.