Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sydney Opera House & Things

March 7, 2016

We saved the tour of the Sydney Opera house for the last touring day during our 5 week stay in Australia and today was the day.  We caught a bus down to the Circular Quay where the Opera House is located and saw an unusual sight along the way.  Gerry snapped a photo and asked "is that what I think it is?"  At first it was a no and then another photo came in clearer and yes it was.  It was not something you see draped over a 60ft statue everyday.

A little further down the road all these banners appeared on light poles and it became clearer what the previous photo was all about.  It seems we will be missing the celebration later this month.  We wouldn't fit in anyway.

We've rode by Hyde Park a number of times and also walked there and had seen the large rifle shell statues but never had a chance to get a good photo of them.  Gerry managed to snap off a picture and got this photo.  It's a little blurry since we were moving, but you can see the size of the shells.  

The link below explains the meaning of the shells.

Shells statues 

 The trip down there started of badly when we just missed the bus and had to wait 30 minutes for the next one.  While we were waiting a young Australian couple appeared at the bus stop and started chatting with us.  They had just returned from a 6 month work assignment in New York City and were raving about how much they liked it there.  Of course we expressed how much we enjoyed Sydney and compared differences.  They got off the bus before we did and gave us a big wave goodbye.  The Aussies sure are friendly.

The our luck continued to be bad when we missed the tour and had to wait another hour and 15 minutes for the next tour.  We took advantage of that to sit in the Opera Bar and have a few drinks and an appetizer to tide us over.  As usual we had to order the drinks and appetizer at a counter, pay for it and then have it delivered to the table.  Gerry did bring the two beers so that worked out fine.

Gerry with the black/white blouse and white pedal pushers at the Opera Bar

There are a number of tours available and we chose the one hour tour of the beautiful building.  Each person was given a headset so they could hear the tour guide very clearly.  The first thing she said was that there would be around 250 steps on the tour, which wasn't too bad.

She went into great detail about the history of the Opera House, the 39 year old Danish architect, Jørn Utzon.  He designed the building to look like sails since it was on a point in Sydney harbor.  He wasn't an engineer and didn't know how they would actually build the Opera House, but they solved the problems along the way

The actual tour was a little disappointing since we couldn't take pictures of either of the two main concert venues.  We did see the main concert hall but the smaller one was totally off limits due to rehearsals.  

In addition to the main halls, there were three small theaters.  Although we couldn't take photos, we were able to enter one.  The stage was set for a performance including Kate Blanchett.  This particular one was built to accommodate many different situations.  The lower area in front of the stage could be used as an orchestra pit, raised for a larger stage or the backdrop could be turned for rapid scene changes.  We didn't enter the others since they were just regular theaters.  

We did see a number of areas which showed the construction of the building very well.

Gerry enjoying the view

The tour guide said that the Australian gov't set up a lottery with the express purpose of paying off the structure and it is debt free.  It is heavily used with concerts, plays and other events.  The Australians are very proud of their Opera House.  They should be since it is a beautiful structure.

I had seen this building a number of times and found it amusing since what I think of a chemist is different from the actual meaning of it.  As best I can tell it is a large pharmacy that sells a number of items.  The small banner below this photo explains it better than I can.   I found the "is this?" letters in small writing a little deceptive since it was so small that you could miss it easily.  I guess it works since they are very popular in Australia and have a large online sales division as well.

 I did pick up another geocache near the Opera House to add to my list of found caches.  This cache was an earth cache where you had to find a plaque with famous authors.  I hope to hit 1500 found caches when we return to Tucson.  Only 13 to go for that mark. 


We were worn out after the Opera House tour and all the activity from the last 5 weeks and caught a bus back to Rachel's condo where she had prepared a nice farewell dinner for us.  We sat around and talked for a long time and then finally went to bed.  Very tired, but satisfied with all that we had seen in Australia.  If we could fly there in a reasonable time we would love to return and explore more of the beautiful country.  Maybe after we rest up we can plan another trip.  Maybe!

That was our day, how was yours?


  1. Love that header picture. I've always been fascinated by the Opera House because it is so distinctive. You really have done a whole lot of wonderful sight seeing while you were there. Have a wonderful trip home.

  2. Sydney Opera House is gorgeous. I remember seeing it for the first time and my mouth dropped. Maybe our government needs to think about doing a lottery to pay off some of our bills!
    What a whirlwind of a visit you two have had. Australia is so beautiful and offers so much for a visitor to see and do. Glad you made so many memories on your visit.

  3. Great trip! Hope you have a good trip home.