Australia diary

Sydney harbour5 - Sydney bay

June 16, 1998

Sydney harbour So, I buy another blue weekly travelcard… and gamble a little.
I take the 325 bus to Watson’s Bay, but… I stop in Rose Bay before I get there because the view is too beautiful. I go along Vaucluse Road (full of expensive houses!), and try to get a glimpse of the "Harbour view postcard". I find a very little “avenue” that leads to the right spot, and to… a walk along the water, small beaches, Strickland House garden. The weather is very nice.

Tangled root On the bus again, I stop at Vaucluse House. A weird feeling in the middle of a 5 m high bamboo grove shaken by the wind. Creaks and groans. Nearby, a tangled root and a banana tree.

I meet a nice old man while waiting for the bus, he gives me plenty of tips, where to go, what to do… while going to Watson’s Bay.
From the bus stop, I walk to the Gap, then around the South Head. Superb views. Then back to Watson’s Bay, fish and chips at Doyle’s. The gulls tend to stay a meter away from you, staring like if their piercing gazes could make food drop from your fingers. Better not feed them. I’m full! A little reading, then on the jetcat, fast to Circular Quay. We’re overtaken by another jetcat, what a wave! A Queenslander seems worried about my balance. We overtake a cargo ship on its way to Darling Harbour, on the other side of the Bridge, where cars are unloaded. While we move and the light dims, I try a strange blurry photo of the Opera House, where you can read the motion of the jetcat in the lights.

Harbour Bridge I walk along the water in the Botanical Gardens, to see the sun set behind the Opera and Harbour Bridge… and it does beautifully! I take photos and chat with a fellow German backpacker doing the same next to me… lots of people have stopped to watch.
A drink at Dendy’s with my host, a spot of shopping in Double Bay, then home.

BBQ and pavlovaJune 17, 1998

Raaainy! A trip to Williams street… A look at the Horizon building, now that I know who the architect is, and that it has a name close to a building I love in Rennes.

The Australian Museum provides a good shelter against the rain. I go go from stuffed animals, birds, insects, rocks and gems, aboriginal culture, skeletons from mouse to whale, evolution, to… a hot chocolate. I meet a nice scientist whose parents were from Marseille. Then, more rain.

To Edgecliff for shopping (vegetables and wine). Got soaked on the way home. There’s no way I’m not going to have a BBQ even if it’s winter, let’s have an indoor BBQ: sausages on sticks, marinated chicken, a salad, garlic bread, diced potatoes, fryed onions, and pavlova for desert (a meringue coated in sour cream with fresh fruit on top, easy delicious desert).

Very good time with my host, a housemate and a friend, ending as we sip wine in front of a nice chimney fire.

Architecture exhibitionJune 18, 1998

I take a bus downtown to George Street, and discover where the town hall and cathedral are. I find a nice science-fiction bookshop called the Galaxy bookshop, then I discover the QVB: the Queen Victoria Building, an old mall. I get back to Australia Square (food court on Pitt street - see first days).

Ferns I walk towards the Botanical Gardens, stop at the library of New South Wales. There’s an exhibition of architects’ drawings, interesting, I get to know more about Harry Seidler. I continue through the Botanical Gardens: ferns, rare or endangered plants, and the show the cockatoos put on at sunset, they start screeching and moaning for the sun to stay! TV evening.

June 19, 1998

Early start, but leave home late (10:00), I go to leave coats at the dry cleaner, but get the wrong shop. I walk along Oxford street, find an interesting Aboriginal art gallery. I get a blue tiwi doona cover, it’s really beautiful, different from the well-known ochre motifs. Tiwi art comes from communities of the islands north west of Australia.

I take a bus to Central Station, walk around, eat in a food court in Chinatown, get myself a koala teddy (can’t get back without that :). Then, back to Circular Quay to phone Ansett, to get more info about the mystery flight. We’ll take off tomorrow at 6:15am, maybe meaning we’ll get to Hamilton Island (via Brisbane)… We’ll see.

Paradise bird flower I walk back through another part of the Gardens, see the fruit bats which are starting to invade it. Apparently old ladies on the north harbour decided it was good to feed them, now they (the bats) have discovered the Gardens and the tops of the trees are shaved clean - yuck. From time to time a cart moves around the garden making banging noises to try and scare them away. I also get a very close encounter with a cockatoo (not close enough to be pecked), and discover the rose garden. A ferry ride to Mosman at sunset, some internet and hot chocolate, and back home.