Goin' Down, Under travel blog

Pivot Point sign ... for Lauren

Opera House from Sydney Harbour Bridge

QE2 in Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour Bridge (can you see people on top?)

There they are ... I too could have been there for $150!

Barb & Gary: Dinner cruise, Sydney Harbour Bridge

Lana Amusement Park at sunset from rocky boat!

Well I still haven't mastered the art of sleeping on an airplane, and it sure seems the space between rows of seats is getting smaller with each flight. Our plane trip was about 8 hours long, we crossed three more time zones, and of course lost a day as we crossed the Int'l date line. So my Tuesday was about 4 hours long!

Sydney's great! We had a quick tour in the bus that picked us up at the airport, enough to get a feel for the general geography. Then we checked into an old but very nice hotel (The Grace) right in the heart of the city. We're informed that General MacArthur used this hotel as his base of operations for a period during WWII.

I grabbed a quick nap and then headed out for a walk to Sydney Harbour, including a crossing of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you remember the spectacular closing ceremonies from the Sydney Olympics, you might recall the fireworks ending at the bridge with the Olympic Rings burning on the side. Great views of the entire harbour, the Sydney Opera House, and the QE2 which has just arrived as the Queen Mary II left (they dubbed it the meeting of the Queen's and apparently traffic in the downtown was a disaster as so many people came out to see these ships in the same harbour).

Some interesting Opera House facts:

-A contest for the design was held in 1957, and won by a Danish Architect named Jorn Utzon. He claimed the design was inspired by orange wedges, not sails of a ship

-Construction began in 1959, but by 1966 the project design was still so controversial and behind schedule the architect quit and returned to Denmark

-It was opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth, ten years behind schedule, and had a final price tag 10 times the original budget!

-And they still proceeded to host one of the most successful summer Olympics ever ...

The city is so vibrant. And clean. No Olympic hangover here...there's plenty of construction going on indicating the economy in Sydney is still very busy.

Last night we walked down to Darling Harbour for a dinner boat cruise. Fantastic views of the city from the, a great seafood buffet, and REAL Australian beer (don't order a Foster's here ... they'll know you're not from Australia!).

Today we've both walking and bus tours of various parts of Sydney. I'm still smarting from my 1st day sunburn, so even carrying my camera has been a bit of a painful experience. So I hope everyone appreciates the pictures I'm posting!

By the way, reviews are starting to come in on my new beardless look. They're definitely mixed so feel free to offer advice ... should I continue shaving? Let me know your thoughts.

More from Sydney coming up ...

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