Days 273-274 – Friday-Saturday January 18-19, 2008 – Sydney, Australia
Sadly the story coming from Friday and Saturday was the poor weather in Sydney. Heavy rain and clouds engulfed the city and it was all we could do to get out during breaks from the downpours to see the city. Luckily our hotel was very close to a weekend indoor market and we started our day on Friday there.
The Paddy’s Market is an indoor market located adjacent to Chinatown in Sydney. All it really amounts to is a flea market or swap meet housing clothing stalls and cheap souvenir shops. Since it really was only a stone’s throw from the hotel, we added this as a destination on our list for the day since we were obviously not going to get very far from the hotel. We were a bit disappointed with the seemingly overpriced fare and didn’t stay for very long.
From the market we walked to our favorite food court in Chinatown and then spent a couple of hours in our hotel room before venturing back out. We decided to visit the Powerhouse Museum which was located fifteen minutes by foot from our hotel. Luckily most of the walk was covered as we fought through light rain to get there.
Unfortunately, we didn’t realize the museum closed at 5pm and arrived shortly before 4pm. Since we knew that it was today or never, Jasmine and I decided to go ahead and purchase tickets to the hodgepodge of a museum. The museum itself focuses itself on the topic of Human Ingenuity which brings it in so many directions. Inside we found displays on inventions, furniture design, transportation and of course technology and the internet. Although we didn’t have much time inside, we were quite upset when the staff told us we had to leave shortly before 4:45pm. When you say you close at 5pm and you charge a hefty price for admission, then you close at 5pm.
For the rest of Friday night we didn’t do anything else but head back to Chinatown for dinner. The food court we found provided plenty of variety of food at what seems to be the best prices in Sydney. We averaged spending only around $15 AUD total for the three of us, which in this overpriced big city is quite a bargain.
We awoke on Saturday morning with hope that the weather had improved, but found it not to be the case. Since I had figured that it wouldn’t, I had a backup plan. The Sydney Monorail ran adjacent to our hotel and the station was a two minute walk away. Jasmine and I agreed to all day tickets to the monorail and use them to get around the inner city to see some sights. The rain was once again troubling.
As we walked past the Sydney Entertainment Center to the monorail station, a sign outside was advertising the Sydney Kings basketball game for that night. Since I love basketball so much and had been dying to see some live sports action, Jasmine agreed that we could see the game since tickets weren’t very expensive. The game was at 7:30pm and with tickets in my hand we headed to the monorail to start our day.
Once aboard the monorail I was rather happy. As you may know by now I have a thing for trains and monorails hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it is the Disney lover inside of me, but flying through the city, looking down from above is a cool experience. We exited the monorail near the Queen Victoria Building.
The Queen Victoria Building was constructed in 1897 to house an indoor market. Over the years the building has been converted to an upscale shopping mall. While the shopping was of little interest to us, the small architectural details along with the beautiful tile murals provided an interesting sight. We spent twenty minutes walking around before heading to another mall to eat lunch at the food court.
After lunch we hopped back on the monorail another stop so that we could visit Hyde Park again. This time we wanted to see the Anzac Memorial which was built in memory of all the soldiers who fought and died in war. The memorial is beautiful from the outside and the inside of the building impresses as well. I find it important to honor these types of places as I am quite aware of all of the blessings and freedoms I have in my life because of sacrifices others have made. The fact that we are on this trip is proof enough for that.
When we finished at the Anzac Memorial, the three of us walked back to the monorail station and proceeded to the Darling Harbour stop adjacent to the National Maritime Museum. This particular museum is free as long as you don’t want to tour one of the three ships docked outside. Given that the fees to visit the ships were rather prohibitive and that the weather wasn’t very nice, we chose just to visit the free portion of the museum indoors.
The National Maritime Museum is housed in a beautiful building right on Darling Harbour. Once inside we weaved our way through scattered exhibits on different historical feats in Australian Maritime history. Perhaps the most interesting artifact on display was the Spirit of Australia which is the fastest boat in the world. Other exhibits we liked were small scale replicas of old wooden ships and a jellyfish exhibit. The museum was quite interesting and we ended up spending over an hour inside including taking in a children’s film that nothing to do with ships or water.
We were pretty tired by this point in the day and took the monorail back to our hotel where we got some rest before heading across the street to catch the basketball game at 7:30pm. The Sydney Kings were playing the team from West Sydney and while I don’t know what the score was, the level of play was surprisingly good, perhaps what you might see in a college game. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and agreed it was a good use of our night.
Tomorrow the weather is supposed to improve according to the weather forecasters. If this is the case we will get out on the water by taking a harbor cruise. We have been saving this for good weather and hope we at least get one day of sunshine during our time in Sydney. Cross your fingers!
The Coomer Family