Thursday 4 December 2014

36 Hours Down Under - A Preview of Sydney

After a two-week wait I received an email from the Australian embassy with my visa grant. Unlike my other visa applications, in particular for the US and Europe, getting an Australian visa was the easiest and most hassle-free application I have ever experienced. Everything was done online from filling out the application form, paying the visa to scanning all my supporting documents. I never had to leave the house. Easy peasy!

Now all I have to do is wait for the Big K's roster and hope he'll get a flight to Sydney. 

Sydney here I come!

Hello, Sydney! (Day 1)

Roster's out! Well, what do you know? Not only does the Big K get one but he gets scheduled for two flights down under. I decided to ride shot gun on his second flight where he gets a two-night layover. Time to pack my bags!

On the day of my departure, I was excitedly waiting for our ride to the airport when the Big K receives a phone call from flight dispatch. Uh-oh! I hear the words "planned delay". Oh no! Every air travelers' bane - delayed flights. Short as my visit was, the delay will make it even shorter! Oh well, nothing I could do about it now. 

One of the many charming old buildings in Sydney. 

Finally, touch down Sydney! After dropping off our bags at the hotel and a quick late lunch at the food court at the nearby mall for the Big K's lemon chicken fix, we were off to Circular Quay.

Just my luck! I got pooped on by one of the seagulls here. I
swear I even heard him squawk "Welcome to Australia, mate!" 

Circular Quay is the founding site of Sydney and Australia. It is here where the first ships from Great Britain landed to set up a penal colony that later became the first European settlement in Australia. 

Originally known as Semi-Circular Quay because of the actual shape of the harbour, it was shortened to Circular Quay for convenience. It is a major transport hub serving as the main terminus for Sydney's earlier trams (1861-1961) later replaced by bus and light rail lines. It is also the main pier for commuter ferries not to mention huge cruise ships. 

Some of the tourist attractions located in and around Circular Quay are the Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art, Harbour Bridge and The Rocks.

The Sydney Opera House opened in 1973 was listed in UNESCO's World Heritage Site in June 2007.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge also known as the Coathanger because of its shape is the tallest steel
arch bridge in the world. You can even climb the bridge, for a fee of course.

A Hole in the Wall Burger Joint

Always mentioned in the top ten best burgers list in Sydney, the Big K and I just had to try Mary's burgers. So for dinner we and a couple of friends trooped off to Newtown in search of this much talked about burger joint. 

Mary street is one of the side streets along Newtown's main street, King street. 

We nearly missed the joint since there was no sign outside except 
for the huge bouncer manning the door. We went early at around 
6PM so we got a table right away unlike these guys who were in 
for long wait. 

Entering the dimly lit room was like a Dusk Till Dawn's movie scene complete with loud music
thumping, demon-inspired wall-art and a heavy scent of melting candles. I was half expecting
a fight to break out with a Danny Trejo look-a-like.

Yup! That's the only food on the menu. And as they say, do one thing but do it well. 
Hmm... We shall see. 

We ordered Mary's burger, of course! It was basically a cheeseburger with a slice of fresh 
tomato and lettuce leaves served with fries. The verdict: it was good, not spectacularly great 
but worth the $15 cab ride.

Good Morning, Sydney! (Day 2)

We woke up to a bright, beautiful, sunny day. It was the perfect day to take in more of the sights the city has to offer. First stop, Hyde Park. The oldest parkland in Australia, Hyde Park was named after the original Hyde Park in London. 

Hyde Park is located right at Sydney's Central Business District.

"Let silent contemplation be your offering" The ANZAC War Memorial (Australian and New Zealand 
Army Corps) was built to commemorate the Australian Imperial Force of World War I. 

The Gothic cathedral of St. Mary's is a Roman Catholic church and the seat of the Archbishop 
of Sydney.

A monument of Capt. James Cook, British Royal Navy captain who 
discovered the east coast of Australia.

JF Archibald who commissioned this fountain that was named after him was the owner of the 
now defunct Australian weekly magazine, The Bulletin. 

The Sydney Tower as seen from Hyde Park. The tallest structure in 
Sydney, it has an observation deck, sky walk and a restaurant 
and bar with 360-degree views of the city. 

Sydney Hospital's Il Porcellino (the piglet) was inspired by the same bronze 
fountain of a boar in Florence, Italy. Drop a coin and rub the swine's snout
for good luck. Plus your donation also helps care for the sick at the hospital.

Palace Garden gate entrance of the Royal Botanic Garden.

Harbour Bridge on the far left and the Conservatorium of Music on the right as seen from 
the garden. 

Manly Beach

It was nearing noon and our tummies were starting to grumble. So where's the perfect place to have lunch on a beautiful, sunny day? 

Where else but the beach! After a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, we arrived at Manly, a beach-side suburb of Sydney. According to history, Manly got its name from Capt. Arthur Phillip (first governor of  New South Wales and founder of the settlement that became Sydney) when he described the indigenous people living there stating "their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name Manly Cove to this place". 

The Corso is one of the main streets in Manly lined with shops and restaurants.

What's a better picnic lunch than having calamari and fish and chips
by the beach? Just be sure you don't go waving your food around. The Big K
found this out the hard way. They sure have pretty aggressive seagulls there!

Hooroo, Sydney!

It was a short but sweet visit to Sydney. I can't wait to go back! In the meantime, my aching feet needs some attention. Excuse me but I'm gonna get me some nice long foot massage.....  

Cebu Pacific Air flies 4 times a week to Sydney.

More photos of our Sydney adventure in our Facebook page.

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