Saturday in SydneyPosted: February 19, 2011
Today was nice. I slept in, ate brunch in the dining hall, then gathered a few friends to go out and explore Sydney. We caught a train in the general direction of the city, put on lots of sunscreen, and started walking.
Our first stop was Luna Park, a small, colorful amusement park on the harbour. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the park, built in the 1930s, was inspired by New York City’s Coney Island. The park closed in 1979, and was restored and reopened again in 2004. It has many modern elements, but plenty of old-fashioned kitsch keeps the atmosphere decidedly retro 80 years later. Admission to the park is free, but rides cost $10 each (unlimited day passes are avaliable for $40). Maybe sometime I’ll go back and ride the Ferris Wheel.
After Luna Park, we walked a few blocks to the entrance to the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk, which is–you guessed it–a pedestrian path across the Harbour Bridge. It was fun to linger on the bridge and see the city from another new perspective.
One of the bridge’s four massive pylons (which, incidentally, are for decoration only) contains a museum about the bridge and a lookout point that visitors can climb to. The experience cost A$9.50, but it was worth it. I learned a lot about the bridge (16 people died while working on it!), and the views were, of course, stunning. I’d love to do the terrifying-yet-exhilirating-looking Bridge Climb, which takes participants to the very top of the bridge, but the experience costs almost $200 and I just can’t justify the price. I’d rather go to surf camp instead.
After descending the pylon, we walked across the rest of the bridge and wandered into The Rocks, Sydney’s oldest neighborhood. We walked around The Rocks Weekend Market, several blocks of vendors selling produce, crafts, and Australian souveniers (boomerang, anyone?). We sampled hot sauce and cashews and marveled at the beautiful handcrafted jewelry. The Rocks area is charming, albeit a bit touristy. Restaurants and pubs line narrow brick streets, and people of all ages enjoy drinks in their outdoor cafes. I’ll definitely be back there.
By this point, we were all tired and ready for dinner, so we took the subway back to college. Turns out weekend meals in the dining hall, unlike weekdays, include ice cream. After walking around for hours in humid 87-degree (that’s Fahrenheit, silly) weather, my chocolate popsicle was a welcome treat.
After dinner, I joined some other college residents in watching a rugby game on the TV in the lounge. I don’t know the first thing about rugby, but I’m hoping to learn through osmosis.
Tomorrow is the last day before classes–and real life–start. I plan to spend it at the beach. Even though my week of freedom will soon be over, I’m looking forward to getting into the swing of things here. Plus, I’ll still have weekends to wander, discover, and explore Sydney!