Sydney is a beautiful city. It is the capital city of New South Wales. But why isn't it the capital of Australia? Melbourne wanted to be the capital city, too. So they decided to place the capital city in the middle of Sydney and Melbourne. Back then in the middle of nowhere: Canberra. Funny story.. Today, Sydney is one of the most important metropoles of Australia regarding finance, business, industry and tourism. Mayu and I had the possibility to explore this unique place.
Our Saturday morning started early. We had a one-hour tour through the well known Sydney Opera House. Our tour-guide was a lovely elderly lady who spoke always very theatrically and rolled her Rrrr. She knew a lot about the Opera (of course, she has to) and I try to reproduce some facts: In the first half of the 20th century, Sydney was decided to get an opera house. There was a competition for architects to show what they have to offer. There was the Dane Jørn Utzon who had the best visions (out of 233!). It must have been something different, something completely new for the jury, because Utzon didn't even accomplish the conditions - he just had submitted a rough sketch. In 1959, the construction works began. It was very difficult to build all the parts of the opera because of the complicate geometry. The shells seem to be cut out of one sphere. They are made of concrete. First, Utzon calculated that the construction costs of the Opera will be about 3.5 million dollar. As the expenses reached 57 million dollars, Utzon was required to lower the costs. He didn't. The consequence was, that he was expelled in 1966 from the project and entered Australia never ever again. Australian architects finished the constructions. People realised late that Utzon made one of the most important and famous buildings in Australia and even further. It is one of the World Culture Heritage buildings, too. Today, the son of Utzon (he's already 72 years old) is still in charge of the Opera House.
As we went through the Opera House, it was just fascinating. Not just the story behind it, but also what WE saw. The roof has never been cleaned. It is made of white (more cream colour than white) ceramic tiles which are cleaned as soon as it rains. The water from the rain goes down the roof and drops onto the red granite floor. Between every panel, there is a gap where the water can flow through. Underneath the panels there is something like a catch tank that leads the water outside. So intelligent!!! The rooms of the opera are very well sophisticated, too! Different woods are chosen for different sounds. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos in the concert or theatre rooms. That's why my pictures are shaky and blurry. Especially the concert room was fascinating. It contains more than 2000 seats! I was even more stunned about the organ. It is the biggest organ in whole Australia and every of those many pipes is handmade.
After our 1.5 hours- tour, we headed to the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Government House- both very beautiful (next year, the Royal Botanic Gardens celebrate its 200th anniversary!). We walked along the Cahill Walk over the Harbour Bridge (not the bridge walk; this would have costed about 260 AUD.. unbelievable.) It took us more than an hour to get from Circular Quay to the other end of the bridge. Many people were jogging and walking over the bridge. We were already very hungry and got satisfied when we finally ate a sandwich on the other side of the bride. From there, we took the train and drove back to the "southern" part of Sydney.
Darling Harbour was our next stop. There were some interesting places: Madame Tussaud's, SEA LIFE and WILD LIFE. I felt little sad about SEA LIFE because there is sooo much fish in such a little aquarium. Sharks making the same rounds every day. Rays too. Even if they say it's to protect the animals, I always think you are able to see them in wild life while snorkeling and scuba diving. They don't have to be caught in a small cage... The same with WILD LIFE. But this was better, looked cleaner and the animals had more space.
Anyway, we were already very tired of walking to much and visiting so many things but our sight-seeing wasn't finished today. We headed to the city and searched the Queen Victoria Building. It is a very beautiful shopping house, with many very expensive shops. The building itself is very beautiful as already mentioned (see picture of the brown building). Afterwards, we searched the Sydney Tower (height: 260m). You can get up the tower by first walking through Westfield's. It was a wonderful finish to see Sydney from above! We both were really almost dead due to the long walking and sight-seeing (I still feel my whole body hurting; that's why I didn't write the blog yesterday.) We ate a little supper and went to bed.
Sunday was another wonderful day. We met my Swiss friend and her Dutch friend again and went to Taronga Zoo - one of the best zoos in the world. We met at Circular Quay and took a ferry to the zoo. As we already have bought our tickets in the internet, we were able to take the gondolas to the entrance. We had a stunning view over the skyline of Sydney, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the whole bay. After arriving at the entrance, we started our tour through the zoo. As in almost every zoo, you can see many animals: koalas, tigers, lions, kangaroos, wallabies, reptiles, amphibians, and so on and so forth. We also got to a seal-performance, where the coaches showed what they taught the seals. I just don't understand how this works. I mean, the seals did things that are so unnatural (swimming on the back with both side fins on the head or out of the water standing just on the both front fins (like stemming their own 180 kg), etc.). It looked awesome and was very entertaining but I asked me if this is good for the seals?!..
What I liked the most about the Taronga Zoo was the Australian Walk. There, we were able to see a koala from very small distance (it was so photogenic, more than I am!), we saw, wallabies and kangaroos, and emus. This was really very special. The rest of the zoo is not too different to other zoos (like for example the Zoo of Zurich).
After the zoo, we went back to Circular Quay by ferry and continued to the city by bus. We just came to an accident where two broken cars stood at a crossroad. One must have crashed into the other. Many policemen and also the ambulance was there. We didn't want to be gazers so we carried on quickly. Again we went to the Queen Victoria Building and the George Street (where actually all the shops are) and looked for some things because we had a little more energy today. At 5.30pm we also started to go home with again a very hurting body. I think, I've never walked so much in my whole life like in those two days..
We are very satisfied and happy to be able to visit Sydney. It is a sight worth! We still find the Opera House the most beautiful object here. If you haven't already checked out my pictures from around Sydney, click HERE. Tomorrow is our last day here and we still have some places to explore! We're looking forward to it. But first, the bed calls me. Carpe diem (literally)!
PS: Photos from de Zoo will follow soon, I'm just too tired now.