Prophet Still, If Bird or Devil


*This is part 2 of 2 of Sydney.  Part 1 is below.*

More than any other city, Sydney is the place where Paul and I explored the most (which is saying something, because the motto for the trip was “sleep when we’re dead) and experienced the widest breadth of cultural nuances sheathed in a cover of Western familiarty.

K-pop blares from a nearby convenience store while a Bob Dylan look-a-like hands out “Save the Reef Now!” flyers.  As children spread Vegemite onto pieces of toast, preparing for the watery commute on the ferry, the Australian flag is hoisted proudly into the air across this gilded city.  A respect for the past – the monarchy, the British Empire, and very long trips to Liverpool – greet the excitement and challenges of the future – now the first fully elected female Prime Minister, vast environmental degradation in the arid interior, and dealing with an aging population – spilling out into the profusion of Sydney itself.  The very pathos of the country beats like a tell-tale heart hidden under the planks not of oak, but of steel and glass.

From the sepulchre of so much bleak history rises one of the most vibrant and liveable cities in the world.

After walking through a neighborhood that my travel book said not to walk through (those are always the best to see on foot), we finally reached the University of Sydney in the southwestern point of the city

Gate

Campus

Lago

Looks like UC

Definitely Ravenclaw

Giant tree in the quad

Hmm

Cool-looking building on the University of Sydney campus

Same across all campuses

We explore a neighborhood called Newtown (pronounced "Newton") during the evening. This area is the "alternative" area, filled with lots of society benders. A fitting hang out is this book store.

Guzman Y Gomez, a renowned taquería in Newtown

Darling Harbour had a MASSIVE FIFA set-up. USA vs. Ghana had huge crowds even though it was on TV at a crazy early hour.

Darling Harbour by night

That next day, we woke up at 6 AM to witness that madness that is the Sydney Fish Auction, the second-busiest after Tokyo's. People that want to watch are limited to the bottom floor, but I told the cleaning lady upstairs that Seth (I just made him up) said we could come up here. She opened the doors. We were the only people on the upper viewing deck. We even sat in one of the auctioning booths while the tourists were below.

It was a Dutch auction, so the price starts high and goes down.

At 6:30 AM, these fish had just arrived in a few hours ago before being bought to various restaurants and stores.

Later in the morning, I decided to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Paul didn't want to, so he took my camera instead and walked on the (free) south pylon and took some great pictures of the city.

The Rocks

I climbed this!

Great pic of the Opera House

The pylon at either end of the bridge

Climbing the bridge. They gave us a jacket, gloves, and a beanie - it was 5˚F up there! This was one of the best moments for me of the trip.

Me in front of downtown Sydney, Australia

The Rocks with the Opera House

Later on that day, our last, we took the ferry to the far northern suburb of Manly, an old town resembling Charleston, SC. This beach rivals Bondi Beach for surfers.

Hello, Manly

Manly Town Hall

Wuddup Australia Post

Getting closer to the beach

Looking back at the ferry wharf. Manly is about 45 minutes on a boat from Sydney.

"Downtown" Manly. We had some great fish 'n' chips here.

Odd...

The Manly shore

In the sand. June is way too cold to go in the water, though!

Pine trees and palm trees live in harmony in Manly

We went hiking (this part wasn't hiking) on the Northern Head several miles away from Manly to try to spot some whales...

Cerulean waters

Malibu? No, Manly. And yes, I jumped over the fence and played on the rocks. Oops.

Very nice houses overlooking an amazing view of the South Pacific

Ah, a saltwater sea pool!

I'm very tired. And 6 inches from a steep cliff. Gasp!

Climbed up here, too

After roughly a mile and a half, we finally made it to the Sydney Harbour National Park. From here, we trekked through actual wilderness (we saw maybe 2 other people) as the sun melted on the bottom of the world.

Wild blue

We hiked through this. Sometimes there wasn't a clear path, so we made our own through the bush. I don't think too many people make it out here, which is too bad.

Exploring deserted prison cells

SLOW DOWN!

Long distance zoom of the distant eastern edge of Sydney from the Harbour National Park near Manly. This looks like a cross between Dover and Maine.

Sydney from 12 miles away. Sadly, we didn't see any whales.

Finally making our way back to Manly, to the ferry, to Sydney, to America.

This looks like something Emily Brontë would have written about.

Our final meal in Australia. Touristy, yes, but we couldn't leave the country without saying we ate some juicy kangaroo.

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