Day Three – December 11th, 2007 – Animals, architecture and awesome botanics
Location: Darling Harbour, CBD and King’s Cross, NSW, Australia
I began the day in very typical Heather fashion – i forgot my watch.
Breakfast was a banana smoothie as i walked towards the Aquarium, which i was told is supposed to be the next-best thing to actually going to the Great Barrier Reef. I saw platypus, crocodiles, seals, sharks and Nemo. The coral reef was so colourful and impressive. The shark tank (which you walk under) also has rays in it and watching them swim over the top of you is actually incredibly soothing. It was a very pleasantly spent two hours.
After the aquarium i decided to go on an architecture hunt in the Central Business District. I found the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) with its two historical re-enactment clocks and the massive Christmas tree decorated with thousands of Swarovski crystals. The QVB is wonderfully restored and a joy to walk through. I also got a little window-shopping for jewellery in.
Town Hall is across the street from the QVB, an ornate neo-Baroque building (i think) that was unfortunately closed to the public because of a recital.
I wandered around TRYING to find the old Post Office, but my guidebook had an error in it and after giving up and deciding to walk down the 5 block pedestrian mall – Martin’s Place – i was suddenly in front of the neo-Renaissance building i was looking for. It was pretty impressive.
It was almost time to meet up with Ilya by now, so i walked back to Darling Harbour (where the aquarium is) and sat writing postcards. I met up with the second person asking me for directions from this locale. The first was a French woman who wanted to know which way the Fish Market was during the morning. The second was a Native Sydneyite who was looking for the casino. I felt so powerful with my trusty map. LOL.
Ilya stopped for wedges on our way to Hyde Park and the botanical gardens. Hyde Park is gorgeous, but more gorgeous at night. I am particularly fond of the arcade of giant fig trees. The Botanical Gardens in Sydney have a central location akin to that of Central Park in NY, but they are much more lush and there is no woodsy area really. There were runners everywhere and i felt sort of left out, so Ilya and i flew a kite… yes… a kite which i bought two hours earlier. It took us way too long to figure out how to put it together (academics for you), and we couldn’t get it off the ground. It was fun trying though. The Botanical Gardens in Sydney are free and permit you to see the swarms of fruit bats that come out at dusk. It was definitely worth the trip.
We walked over to the Opera House, because it’s iconic, and then around the pennisula to come out in King’s Cross. We got the kite flying when we were directly on the harbour. It was great until we thought it was going to crash into pedestrians. We are bringing it to the beach on Friday… hehe. We wandered around the old red lite district for a while before stopping at a Slavic restaurant where i had goulash and absinthe while Ilya ate a meal of roast duck. Absinthe is … OK. I prefer wine.
We walked back through Oxford St (the gay village) to Town Hall station to catch a bus home. I was so exhausted when we got back here i fell asleep fully-clothed and don’t even remember Ilyusha putting a comforter over me. It had been a very long day… over 12 hours of walking.