Once again I had wonderfully sunny and mild weather here down under. I believe tomorrow is supposed to be a repeat. More importantly, tomorrow (15 April here) is U.S. income tax day, which fortunately I took care of doing before embarking on this adventure. I'm thinking of going to this very good restaurant at the top of the Shangri-La Hotel for dinner to celebrate.
I did a lot of walking today, and you'll see pictures of the early governor of New South Wales (the state Sydney is the capital) Major General Lachlan Macquarie and Prince Albert, who was the consort of Queen Victoria and father of Kind Edward VII (remember from Brisbane). As I looked at the Prince Albert statue, I wondered if people called him "Mr. Consort" or "Consort Guy" to his face. Can you imagine someone being labeled as a consort in this day and age?
I've run out of steam to finish this update this evening. So, it will be completed tomorrow morning. Oh Mike, I just have this to say to your presumption, "Pbbblt."
Good morning everyone. Today for US people, it is income tax day (not really... you have one more day to procrastinate since it's the 14th there).
I started my walking sojourn to the Botanical Gardens to reach a place called Mrs. Macquarie's Chair. It is a rock formation at the end of a point that gives a fabulous view of the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, and it is named after the wife of Gov. Macquarie (he's the guy whose picture tops off this update). I detoured by Parliament Building, and was surprised to see across the street this church completely hemmed in on both sides by much larger and more modern buildings. It is St. Stephen's Church, and no I did not go inside. In lieu of that, I took a picture to show the strange architectural relationship between the edifices.
I also passed the very large complex of buildings for the New South Wales Library, and on a small island in the street in front saw a statue to William Shakespeare with figures around it from some of his works. This picture is included. I'm going to add one more at the end of the photos already uploaded of one figure that looks familiar, but I can't recall who it is. The first person correctly identifying this character gets immortalized in this trip journal.
Next, I entered the dark, dank, dismal realm of the Botanical Gardens... okay, I'm BS'ing you on the description. As usual with almost all the parks I've seen in NZ and Australia, the Botanical Gardens is well organized and very beautiful, an oasis of tranquility in a sea of modernity and hustle and bustle. You'll see a picture of the main pond of the Gardens. One thing I found curious was an edifice near the border of the Gardens and the harbor. It's an acknowledged copy of the Choragic Memorial of Lysicrates from Athens, and the original dates from 334 B.C. (not British Columbia). What is the origin and meaning of this monument? It seems Lysicrates was a prominent and wealthy sponsor of the arts, and he had this memorial made to celebrate winning a prestigious award. Not too self-indulgent was he?
My next stop was the Opera House, and you'll see pictures of the front of this magnificent creation, and one of the ceramic tile covered junction of the "sails" as the outer shell components are called. There is one interior shot, but largely during my tour I was prohibited from taking photos due to each stage being readied for a performance. Each theater is quite beautiful from both an acoustic and architectural perspective, and I did get to drop in on a rehearsal for the ballet Giselle, which was cool to watch. In the other theater, I saw the stage set up for the Le Grand Tango with the symphony dance company. Alas, tickets for the ballet were sold out and the tango show did not start until I would have left on my cruise. Overall, the Opera House tour was well worth the money, because I learned and saw much you would not ordinarily get to see. For instance, the winning architectural design almost did not get selected. There were considerable engineering difficulties translating the design into reality, and instead of taking the projected 3 years and $7.0 M to build, it took 16 years and $102 M to complete. However, I have to get a nod of approval to the Aussies, they paid off the whole cost in 18 month by instituting a lottery, which my tour guide jokingly said is why Australia is now a nation of gamblers. Actually, I think that mental model of taking a risk already existed in the minds of those who came here and to the fledgling colonies of the later U.S.
As I further explored the Circular Quay area, I saw some guys performing Aboriginal music and dancing. So, you'll see a picture of one man playing a didgeridoo and another in body paint and dancing.
On a lark, I decided to take a ferry over to Manly, and you'll see pictures of the wharf as the ferry docked, and part of the Manly Beach bordering on the South Pacific Ocean.
Some really cool pictures resulted from my evening cruise back to Circular Quay. I took one of the Opera House from the ferry, and the one building on the right has violet lights displaying that pavilion. A second one depicts most of the exterior at night. There is also one of the lighted Harbor Bridge, and if you look carefully you can see an illuminated Ferris wheel to the lower right of the picture.
Today may be Bondi Beach. There is a 4 mile walk along Bronte, Bondi, and Tamarama Beaches that should have some spectacular scenes. I think tomorrow I am going to forego the hotel breakfast for going over to Darlinghurst and having breakfast at Bill's (no joke). Thanks for reading.