Now that our official tour is over, the day had a more leisurely start. At breakfast we had fun watching an older Chinese couples eating, using their knife and fork as chopsticks. I've never seen someone hold an entire piece of French toast up to their mouth wedged between a fork and a spoon and rip pieces off with their teeth. But we mustn't laugh too hard. If we were in their country wresting with chopsticks, I'm sure we would be equally amusing.
When we were in Sydney a few weeks ago, we took the free bus tour where the guide earned whatever the passengers chose to tip him. Today we took the companion tour, a walking tour through the historic parts of the city, ending with The Rocks, the area where the convicts first settled. The city is a nice mix of well maintained buildings from the 1800's and modern skyscrapers side by side. Numerous parks and gardens break up the urban areas and provide spots for people to enjoy a bit of nature in the middle of the city. Many of the spots we galloped past deserve a more leisurely look and we have only one more day to do so.
You could call James Cook the father of the city; he landed here on the HMS Endeavor on his cruise around the world. The British colony of New South Wales was subsequently established with the arrival of a fleet of eleven vessels in 1788. It consisted of over a thousand settlers, including 800 convicts. They were brought here under the leadership of Captain Phillip, who proclaimed Sydney the finest harbor in the world. It would be hard to argue otherwise. The colony was so far from London, it often had to use creative ways to fend for itself. When it was clear that a hospital was needed and the crown refused to fund it, a corporation was formed that traded rum and used the profits to build it. The area where the convicts lived was dangerous in many ways. A narrow alleyway is still called the Suez Canal, because this narrow passage on a steep slope, gathered the excrement that people threw out of their windows.
We walked to Circular Cay, the area where our cruise ship will dock in a few days. The views of the Opera House and the Sydney Bridge from there never cease to amaze. Many ferry boats depart from Circular Cay and we took one to Darling Harbor, where which is lined with restaurants and museums.