Today we had plenty planned; we woke up and drove to the train station—my very first Australian train ride—and stopped at a Hungry Jack's (the Australian Burger King) for a brekkie burrito (yes, that's what they call breakfast). As soon as we walked out of the train station we could see the Sydney Harbor Bridge and all that surrounded. Circular Quay is filled with restaurants, museums, shopping strips, hotels, and of course the Sydney Opera House. We went to get tickets for a tour, only to find out that the next available one was at 1 p.m.
To pass the time we photographed all angles of the fascinating architecture and took a walk through the neighboring Royal Botanical Gardens—basically a Central Park along the harbor. My feet began to bother me, because of course I wore sandals and didn't anticipate how much walking we would be doing, so we made our way back to the opera house, and soon it was time for our tour to begin. The tour was fascinating; we learned that the design of the opera house was actually a competition, and the architect that won initially submitted a rough sketch that had no dimensions or tight renderings. It required quite the innovation to execute it. We also learned that the opera house hosts more than operas—everything from children's sing-along concerts to Mr. Universe competitions. By the time the tour was over we were filled to the brim with fun facts and unusual history of this beautiful building.
We began walking towards our next destination and I knew my feet would not hold up. Luckily, we weren't too far from the train station and decided to just take the train to Hyde Park. We walked through Hyde Park to get to the Australian Museum, which was not at all what we were expecting. It was more like a natural history museum, with a few other traveling exhibits. We didn't spend very long there because my feet were killing me and honestly there wasn't much to see. By this time we were starving, but right before walking underground to the train station we spotted a Pie Face. Australia is known for its meat pies and now has a meat pie chain. The pies were delicious and it was just the beginning of our brief love affair with Pie Face during the trip. As a side note, the regular condiments here are tomato sauce and barbecue sauce, and the barbecue sauce here is to die for—there is nothing like it in America. We gobbled them down before finally starting our trek home for the night after a long but incredible day.
We were floored by this beautiful view of Sydney Harbor from Circular Quay when we rounded the corner from the train station. The weather today couldn't have been better for exploring.
Did you know that the Opera House 'shells' as they call them are based on four interlocking pieces from the center of the top half of a sphere? Me neither. Did you also know that the roof is made of different textures and shades of white ceramic tile to prevent glare from above? Neither did I.
My husbandry looked wistfully out over the harbor at North Sydney, his old stomping grounds from when he was here as a missionary for two years.
While walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens I spotted a tree that floored me with it's majestic beauty. Just look at those sprawling roots! It was a fig tree, who knew?
All through the gardens and even around the opera house we found ourselves in the way of waves of people running in the opposite direction. I'm not sure if there was a marathon happening or if it was just a popular jogging destination, but we couldn't get away!
The tour group received headsets to wear to listen to our tour guide so he wouldn't have to raise his voice while he shared facts about the opera house (clever).
We were definitely impressed by the flood of purple carpet on the opera house's interior. The purple represented a royal factor and they re-carpet every two years because of the wear and tear of traffic on the carpet. I know Tyler was in love.
This gigantic prehistoric wombat was one of our favorite things in the Australian Museum. Doesn't it look like it walked straight out of Never-Ending Story?
Another highlight of the Australian Museum was a traveling exhibit called "Menagerie" that had indigenous artwork of animals. Some of the sculpture in particular was pretty incredible.
Even though it was both of our first time at Pie Face, it was only my first time trying meat pies, and Tyler was so excited to eat them again. We went for a variety and just shared; we got the standard mince meat, the chunky steak, and the curry chicken, as well as li'l baby pecan and chocolate dessert pies.