Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Azamara Journey - Sydney

As promised, Captain Johannes eased us past the Opera House this morning right on 10am. Everyone was on deck for the entry to Sydney Harbour, glimpsing first the Harbour Bridge above the coastal suburbs, then the city skyline, and then, as we entered the harbour, the whole classic panorama of tower, skyscrapers, Opera House and bridge laid out for us (jostling somewhat at the railings) to view and photograph. The weather, while warm, was a bit dull and grey, and the tiles on the roof of the Opera House appeared a little dingy in the low light – but it’s always a splendid sight.
Invisible Cruise Director Tony, who has been a touch more visible lately, treated us to a short lecture full of dates, facts and figures as we sailed in. When I asked afterwards, politely, why he hadn’t done something similar for, say, Milford Sound, he said quite bluntly, “Well, there isn’t much to say, is there?” Ditto for the other ports on the cruise. Apparently Azamara only does an arrival commentary for a few ‘iconic cities’ like here and Stockholm. Pft.
Anyway, it was lovely to be back here again, and I started at Darling Harbour where, in the Maritime Museum that I flitted through, I was surprised and pleased to find a connection: a big model of the SS Orcades, on which I sailed back to NZ from England in 1957 – my last crossing of the Tasman, before last week.
On a mission to buy a wedding present for (Aussie) Daughter #3, I powered through the central city – deeply impressed by local pedestrians keeping efficiently and uniformly to the left – and finally found what I wanted in a gallery at The Rocks, that charming and authentically old and architecturally interesting area at the base of the Harbour Bridge. It’s a lovely place to wander through, all stone steps, narrow cobbled lanes and tempting bars and restaurants, as well as lots of interesting shops and galleries. Good old Sydney. Who cares about the odd thunderstorm?

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