Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sydney's Sights on 11-11-11

Where were you at 11am on 11/11/11?
Another post written by my mom...

Our Sydney hotel was quite a treat. Aubree got us a sweet deal with free breakfast every morning and late checkout on our last day. On the first morning, the scrambled eggs, potato gems (tater tots), bacon (thin slices of ham), sausage, spaghetti and baked beans (yeah, we didn’t get that either), assorted cereals, muffins and pastries, yogurt, and hot cocoa, coffee, and juices was a delicious, filling way to start the day. By the fourth morning, the meal had become quite mundane and the most coveted item seemed to be the large moist chocolate chip muffins, two of which were delivered to Aubree and Morgan’s door on the last day since they decided to sleep in and skip breakfast.

Dad and Mom at Archibald Fountain.
Going to the lobby each day was a multicultural event; it was not uncommon to see groups of people from every nation and to hear many languages spoken – a great place to people watch. Have I mentioned our fun with the elevators? A couple of us, and me once for five minutes, were stuck on the elevator because our key card did not allow us to choose a floor or to even open the door so we would have to sit there until another hotel guest happened along and let us out.

Hyde Park greenery
Enough about the hotel – on to discovering Sydney! We had been so busy discovering all things Australian that we often forgot what day it was, but today we were quickly reminded. We began our walk to see the Sydney sights on this beautiful warm day by walking among the green trees, plants and well-manicured bushes in Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens. We kept seeing pockets of well-dressed people and then bride and groom couples and quickly realized that it was a special day, 11-11-11! By the end of the day, we had seen at least twelve (or maybe 11!) couples tying the knot on a date even the most forgetful will remember.

Justin's favorite color is yellow, so we made him pose with these flowers.
We walked along the cove, passing Mrs. Macquarie’s chair, named for an English governor’s wife who used to enjoy the view from her “seat” carved out of rock.

The Dills (with one former Dill-me!).
And then we saw it, the iconic Sydney Opera House! It was spectacular!

Morgan and I amused other tourists while trying to get this shot.
After several pictures to capture the moment, we walked to the Sydney Opera House to begin our tour. The tour was informative and interesting; we learned about the original architect’s dream and the engineers’ struggles to bring it to reality. The project was supposed to take three years and $7 million to complete but it took 16 years and $102 million and by then, the architect had left the project and never got to see the finished masterpiece.

Inside the Sydney Opera House during the tour.
We toured the main concert hall, in which they were doing a sound check for a band that was playing that night. The acoustics were incredible, and we were informed that they could be adjusted depending on the performer or band. As an example, the tour guide said that if Michael Buble were to perform, it would cost him $30,000 to rent the hall for the night – we didn’t think that was very expensive at all (ha). In the opera theatre, we saw ballet dancers rehearsing. There are three smaller drama theatres for plays, one of which is funded by Cate Blanchett and her husband.

Cindy jumps for joy at the Opera House.
We were so impressed by the ambiance that Ray, Cindy, Morgan, and I came back in the evening to see the Australian Ballet Company’s performance of The Merry Widow. The orchestra’s music and ballerinas' costumes were breathtaking, and the dancing was exquisite; we were so happy we were able to experience it all.

After lunch outside the Opera House, we walked through Circular Quay (pronounced key), a wharf surrounded by tourist shops, hotels, and restaurants. On our way to the Harbour Bridge, we passed through The Rocks, Sydney’s old town quarter where colonial and maritime history is preserved, and we shopped in several unique shops. The famous Harbour Bridge was humungous and “suicide proof”; it was hard to get good pictures of the Sydney Opera House because of all the fencing and wires.

To add a little excitement to our afternoon, we donned ponchos and sped around the Sydney Harbour in a jet boat doing several 360-degree turns, all of which drenched us, despite our protection. With fast speeds and a rock music soundtrack, it was a fun way to see the Harbour, and we were glad for the warm Sydney sunshine to dry our clothes after the ride.

Groupon-type deals always come out for these rides-I'd highly recommend it!
Dinner was at a fast food chain called Pie Face, which featured a vast assortment of meat pies as well as dessert pies. It was so much fun for each of us to choose which small pies we wanted! We decided that we needed to buy into this franchise and bring this chain of restaurants to the United States. Anyone want in on our investment? What a thrilling first day in Sydney! -Sue

The girls demonstrate the hilarious Sydney Barbie pose!


  1. You missed the boat on Pie Face! They've already opened a location in NYC. It was featured on Letterman last month (the store is next to the Ed Sullivan Theater):

    1. Wow-how funny-they even have lamingtons!