We arrived in Sydney after a 3.5 hour flight from Auckland. Unfortunately for the first time in almost 8 months of travelling, our luggage did not arrive with us 🙁
We waited at the baggage claim while people kept picking up their suitcases and bags, but our backpacks did not show up. We heard some announcement calling for a Mr. “Ali”, but didn’t give it a second thought. After some more waiting, we approached the airline staff and asked about our luggage. We figured out, that they had misread the name “Alt” for “Ali”, and informed us that we had checked in too early (!?) and our bags had not been on our plane. Since flights go regularly between Auckland and Sydney we only had to wait for one and a half hours until our backpacks arrived.
In Sydney we stayed with Moni & Phil, an Austrian couple currently living and working in the neighborhood of Pyrmont. They are friends of friends and it was great that they offered to host us, without knowing the two of us beforehand. Their apartment is located very centrally near Darling Harbor and we were able to walk nearly everywhere in town 🙂
The next morning we passed by Darling Harbour on our way to Sydney’s most recognizable icon, the Opera House.
On our way we entered the Royal Botanic Gardens through the Conservatorium Gate and walked towards Sydney Harbor.
This was our first glimpse of the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge in the back:
The Opera House is located on Bennelong Point and famous around the world for its modern expressionist design with a series of large precast concrete “shells” which form the roofs of the structure. It looks impressive from almost every angle.
The Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and formally opened in October 1973 after Utzon won the international design competition in 1957. As with many projects and even exceeding “Augustine’s Laws” the project schedule and costs were dearly stretched. In 1957 the original costs were projected to $ 7 million and completion was scheduled for 1963. In the end, the project was completed in 1973 for a total of $ 102 million, which is more than fourteen times (!) over budget…
After continuous quarrels and eventually wresting the project from Jørn Utzon before completion, he later received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2003, which is considered architecture’s highest honor. The Pritzker Prize citation stated:
“There is no doubt that the Sydney Opera House is his masterpiece. It is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world – a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent.”
Though the roof of the Opera House appears uniformly white from a distance, it is composed of 1’056’006 ceramic glossy white and matte cream tiles:
After the tour we walked along the Farm Cove to Mrs. Macquaries Point to get a side view of the Opera House. The dark clouds provided a pretty gloomy atmosphere:
From the large variety of food-choices in Sydney we chose a Japanese restaurant for dinner and shared some delicious sushi and a hot pot dish (no picture):
On our way back home we passed through Darling Harbor by night:
During the next few days we spent some time to plan our next itineraries and make reservations, book plane tickets etc. We also found a place that served great noodle soups and Tini especially loved their Udon noodle dishes:
While exploring Sydney we passed by the Opera House several more times:
We visited “The Rocks” neighborhood, which was Sydney’s first European settlement:
The Museum of Contemporary Art:
And got some inspiration for a new wall decoration back home:
We passed by several of these “Follow the White Rabbit” graffiti. But instead of Wonderland or the Matrix, this rabbit leads to an exhibition of an art gallery. Definitely an interesting way of creating curiosity and promoting an exhibition:
These white city-parrots were showing off their stunts on a power line while making loud screeching sounds:
On one of the evenings we returned to the Opera House:
We visited one of the “Absolutely Beethoven” performances conducted by David Robertson who is the new chief conductor and artistic director of the Opera House. The atmosphere and energy of the music and the orchestra were just amazing and we had a great time.
The next day we once again stopped at our favorite noodle soup restaurant for lunch. It was conveniently located and offered delicious choices:
In the afternoon we took the bus to the University of New South Wales were we met Otte, one of Andy’s former colleagues from ETH. He now lives and works at UNSW in Sydney and after a tour through the laboratories we headed to Coogee Beach:
We talked about the good old times, life in Zurich and Sydney and enjoyed some beers 🙂
For dinner we went to a nice place right at Coogee Beach. Andy had the “Surf & Turf” combo:
And Tini went for a classic Hamburger:
We really enjoyed that evening refreshing the old memories and it was nice to see an old face again. Thank you, Otte!
The next day was Valentines Day, and a lot more important, Tini’s birthday 🙂
We started the day with one of Tini’s favorite breakfasts at Darling Harbor: Sweet pancakes with cherries and vanilla ice cream:
Andy went for the hearty hash browns, scrambled eggs and bacon:
After that Tini spontaneously decided it was time for a visit at the hairdresser, for both of us. This was the first time that we got our hair cut in parallel sitting next to each other. Although cutting Andy’s hair took longer, Tini’s haircut was more expensive… If the costs aren’t proportional with the time it takes for cutting, why the heck do women have to pay more for their haircuts? (Perhaps because they are willing too?) Here’s the outcome:
The rest of the afternoon we spent walking around in the quarter, relaxing, drinking coffee, reading birthday mails and finding a restaurant that wasn’t booked out for the night. The first three or four restaurants we called, were already fully booked. Guess that’s the downside of Valentines day birthdays. Eventually we were successful and got a reservation in “The Commons” for the evening:
They had a special Valentine’s Day dinner menu, that started with a champagne-strawberry cocktail and “King Prawns marinated in citrus and mint served on a bed of fresh fennel, almond, orange zest and passion fruit”:
The menu continued with the main dish:
Tini had the “Chargrilled Sea Mullet with rocket, spanish onion, cucumber, avocado and mango salad”:
Andy chose the “Beef Cheek, braised with vincotto and coffee, sweet potato crisps, spinach emulsion and purple cabbage”:
As a dessert we choose the delicious “Rose and Yogurt Iceberg served on mango sorbet and dark chocolate rose petals”:
After the desert Tini ordered a coffee and was a bit surprised when she received what looked like a second dessert:
Our French waiter resolved the confusion and confirmed that this was not a “Coffee” but instead the “Chocolate Chili Mousse served in a vanilla wafer basket with whiskey cream”. He admitted the kitchen had made a mistake and served the wrong dish but we should consider it a birthday present and the coffee was on its way. So it happened that Tini got to enjoy two desserts one her birthday 🙂
After dinner we took a walk back towards Darling Quarter and there was quite a lot going on. All of Sydney seemed to be on the streets to enjoy the fireworks and celebrate Valentines day. In the nearby park they were showing “While you were sleeping”, a proper romantic movie for Valentine’s Day.
They had decorated the quarter with hearts everywhere 🙂
On our last evening in Sydney we went for diner with Moni & Phil. They got to choose the place and took us to a traditional Japanese Ramen Gumshara. The place is renowned for their soup which is prepared the traditional Japanese way, only using fresh pork bones and water. No artificial flavors or preservatives are added. The richness of the soup comes from the marrow of the bone and the soup contains a lot of collagen, which is essential to maintain smooth skin. Ohh, and it’s terribly delicious too!
They offer different variations of the soup and we shared one with a piece of fried pork, noodles, onions and egg in it:
As a dessert we went to “N2 Extreme Gelato” where they make ice cream on the spot by mixing your favorite ingredients with liquid nitrogen (liquid N2, −196 °C). It’s also funny to watch the young chefs in lab coats and protection glasses mixing up your ice of choice:
And as there is little as delicious as a second dessert we ended our last evening in Sydney with a variety of beers:
Many thanks again Moni & Phil for your great hospitality!This entry was posted in Australia, WorldMap