Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Daytime: I'm Free Tours -- Wed., Nov. 7

Okay, now we're bushed, tired, worn out. The morning started with continental breakfast in the Y Hotel Cafe. After breakfast we walked to the start point of I'm Free Walking Tours at Town Hall Square at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Sydney. The walk lasts three hours and visits The Rocks, Hyde Park Barracks, Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, and tours through downtown shopping and financial areas.

Our tour guide, Lisa.
The weather was overcast and very bright, so these pictures did not turn out very crisp. Here's what we saw...

Queen Victoria statue in front of QVB (Queen Victoria Building)
Islay, the talking dog statue.
Australian clock in QVB.
Lisa told us there are two clocks, one in each hall of the QVB. Pictured above is the Australian-themed clock. We did not get to see the English-themed clock, but apparently every hour on the hour, the clock replicates the beheading of King Charles including his head falling off. We plan to go back to the QVB to watch this unusual clock do its thing. [Aside: The Australians love their abbreviations and shortened words...Oz for Australia, QVB, CBD=Central Business District, footy for Australian rules football. I'm sure we'll learn lots more.]

Sydney cityscape with unknown people
This is the outside wall of a building downtown.
Australian white ibis.

The Sydney Tower Eye, also called the Golden Bucket by the locals, has a 160,000 gallon water tank on top of it to counterbalance the tower.

Sydney Tower Eye
About 30 people on our tour today!!

GPO (General Post Office)
Popular artwork here (see photo below)--bird cages hang between buildings. This art is called "Forgotten Songs." When you walk under the cages, birdsong from native Australian birds start playing. In the daytime, birdcalls from daytime birds plays. At night, birdcalls from nighttime birds plays. On the street is this information: "These recordings are from bird species that once sang in central Sydney before Europeans settled and gradually forced them away. Some of these birds can still be  heard on the city margins where they find food and shelter in native vegetation." There are no birds in the cages.

Customs House
In the floor of the Customs House is a 3-D diorama of downtown Sydney. Way cool.

Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay are very popular!
Bob with a Harbour Bridge backdrop. This was the end of our guided tour.
Water fountain as art.
Veddy British.
On the way up to walk across the Harbour Bridge.
Our tour guide told us it's only 1.3 km one way across the Harbour Bridge. Well, you know us: let's do it. So up we went and did a trip across the bridge and back. Great experience. We DID NOT do the bridge climb which our guide informed us cost about $200.00 Australian.

Our first view of a rainbow lorikeet.

Pedestrian walkway on the Harbour Bridge.
From the bridge we were able to take some excellent photos of the harbour.

Sydney Opera House

Inviting neighborhood on NE side of Harbour Bridge

These eateries and shops are on the north end of the bridge.

A bakery display we couldn't resist

Apricot crumble and a chocolate mint slice.

Rainbow lorikeet.

Rainbow lorikeet.

People doing the Harbour Bridge Climb.

Okay, these are adorable.

Great graphics!
A three-story Apple store!!
Here's where we're staying for our first three nights until our timeshare kicks in. We don't yet have a timeshare for our fourth week in Melbourne. If we can't get a timeshare in Melbourne, we plan to spend our last week traveling the coast and staying in motels or inns. 
Our humble abode in downtown Sydney.
Bob and I found these crosswalk signs rather unusual.
I am breaking today into two parts because this blog is already so long!

Travel Bug bravely continuing on to Part 2 for today...Please see next blog for how our evening went.