Monday, May 14, 2012

Sydney – under starters orders

We planned our trip this time so that we would have a few days in Sydney to provision for the cruise. We are going to be away for over two months so need to make sure we have the toiletries and everyday necessities – nowadays, with airport security, you would have to have all this stuff in your checked in baggage so its much simpler just to stock up here at Priceline and Coles.

Had disappointing news that our good friend Jay has had to cancel his trip – he had unexpected obligations he had to attend to and so we will be missing his company.

Sydney is a large, populous and busy city. Over the years Merle and I have visited often and always gravitate to the same area – downtown in the area of Circular Quay and ‘The Rocks’. This time is no exception and we are staying at the Sydney Harbor Marriott at Circular Quay which is well placed for our wanderings.

Within a short walk from the hotel you have the iconic Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the new Museum of Contemporary Art.

Alfred Street is a lovely peaceful location to enjoy a pie and a Starbucks flat white and then we’re off uptown via George Street.

The parallel main North-South streets are York, George and Pitt and we have spent many (happy) hours exploring all the ‘opportunities’ they have to offer. Like Melbourne, shopping arcades are an interesting place to find funky specialty stores. Sadly the Australian Dollar (as a result of their excellent economy) is at parity with the $US and things are not cheap.

One arcade-type building that we spent some time in (and have so every time we visited) is the QVB – the Queen Victoria Building. This beautifully restored old building contains four or so floors of specialty stores.

Two clocks suspended from the roof tell not only the time but also a story. The one is in the shape of a castle and on the hour a trumpeter emerges to play appropriate music.

The other, far more complex, tells you not only the day date and time but also represents the history of Australia! The arrival of the First Fleet flags waving..

The Aboriginal population and their idyllic existence before exploration had reached them

The dark side of the change that came as cultures collided – the taking of children (as in the movie Rabbit Proof Fence)

The restoration of this building is beautifully done though – lovely stained glass windows, domed central ceiling and beautifully framed wrought iron staircase to nowhere

We (maybe I?) came to the QVB on a mission however – to visit ‘Peter Nathan Toy Soldiers’ store which sells the most unbelievably crafted miniature soldiers, weapons and military vehicles through history. Didn’t buy anything but could have spent ages enjoying the workmanship.

Also to visit the ABC Store to purchase DVDs that we will watch on the cruise and keep for the library back home – The Killing Series Two ( Scandanavian style) and Australian mini-series mostly

Finally to visit Hobbyco – the most well stocked little boy cave ever! Trains, cars, boats and ‘planes. I purchased a kit that I will put together in my spare time (together with all the paints etc necessary to make a mess of perfectly well-produced plastic). Jay, see what your absence on the cruise has brought me to – playing with toy planes!!!

Merle was not to be denied however. She went to The Rocks to the button shop she always visits and found beautiful objects there that made her heart go ‘pitty pat’.

So, now we are ready to embark tomorrow on our second world cruise. Darling Harbour, Barangaroo Wharf 5, tomorrow around noon, we will be checking in.
I’ll share our itinerary on the blog tomorrow


  1. Sounds like a fun start to a great time!

  2. Sydney or Melbourne? Which was groovier