I have never had to depend on the kindness of strangers but when kindness from strangers happens, what a wonderful thing it is. I think of That's So Pants who hosted us for a couple of nights on our local road trip, Jane and Lance in Budapest who took us out for the day and evening, Marie in London who took us out for the day and the latest is Victor in Sydney with whom we spent much of the day. Strangers, well blogmates, become friends. Victor is somewhat excluded as we had already met him. Well, we had met That's So Pants too, so it is not quite so simple.
We had previously walked through Hyde Park, but we had never walked in Hyde Park. In the morning we took a walk to look around Hyde Park.
I had mentioned to Victor that we had never seen Centennial Park and he offered to take us there for lunch. He collected us in his car at 12 and after driving around and showing us Centennial Park we gained a good gist of the park. We had a lovely lunch and some time ago I learnt to not argue and just graciously accept when someone wants to treat you to a meal. It was really quite a lovely experience.
While I did note that most diners were people taking their elderly mothers out for a birthday lunch, next to us were two quite hot guys. Gay? Maybe? Maybe not. They left and went out to the perimeter to smoke.
I brought up over lunch about Australia's only Nobel Prize winning author, the late Patrick White. Sadly the only thing he wrote I liked was his autobiography. That perhaps says more about me than his writing. Victor had a vague idea of where White's house was, on the edge of Centennial Park, so we all got busy on our phones. We found it and Victor drove us to the address and sure enough, although seeming much altered, this is where White lived until he died, with his partner Manoly and I think Manoly stayed on until he went into care and subsequently died.
I knew a little of where Victor lives but we were somewhat gobsmacked at how fine his highrise apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour actually is. While the 60s building itself could be considered as old fashioned, read no fire sprinklers, it was full of style. We had no need of toilet facilities at Victor's, but we could have chosen one of three lavs to use. The views from and the size of his home were amazing.
While Victor would have driven us back to our hotel, I wanted to catch the bus and Victor understood why. R suddenly remembered a pint of milk we had not bought and popped into the local supermarket. The bus arrived soon enough and it was quite a new bus and very smart. We didn't quite know how far the walk was from the bus stop to our hotel, but we managed the uphill, once again.
After refreshing ourselves, Victor once again collected us to return to his apartment for a very special viewing. While Victor is known for his culinary skills (cough), we pressed the point of no bother, insisting we would have takeaway food at his place. Pizza was the choice and Victor decided to order our pizza online from his local pizza delivery place. He entered his email address and location address and we chose pizza varieties. As some sort of inadequate repayment for lunch, R paid with his credit card.
Alors!!! Victor: Can I order pizza online again. Please enter your existing customer email address. Verified. Please choose your pizza. Do you wish to use your existing details (including R's credit card details). Yes. Free pizza for Victor for the rest of his life, at R's expense.
It was a special moment around 9pm on Sydney Harbour. Queen Mary 2 was passing by Queen Victoria on her way out of the harbour. It was also the 150th anniversary of the Cunard line. Ah, the shipping line that brought you the non sinkable Titanic.
Stately is a word and it is the word that came to my mind as the Queen Mary 2 progressed from Sydney Harbour. It was almost like seeing a whole city floating away in the harbour.
Victor most kindly drove us back to our hotel again, at quite a late hour. What a terrific day we had in Victor's company and our thanks to him is profuse.
The War Memorial in Hyde Park, the site for Anzac Day commemorations.
Within this structure is a very modest drinking fountain. The structure was presented to people of Sydney by a former mayor of Sydney.
I see it here, I see it there, the omnipresent Sydney Tower.
Annual flowers. How delightful and so rarely seen in Melbourne public parks and gardens.
No, I would not say the trees fail. I would suggest it is doing a very natural tree thing, dropping branches. One on the eastern side of the park was being removed by workers.
Archibald Fountain, presented to the city to commemorate the connection between Australia and France during World War I.
Rather nice, isn't it. Were it to be in Melbourne, it would be darker colour but the polished granite is quite beautiful.
Ibis can be seen everywhere in inner Sydney. Some say they are a pest but we never found them to be aggressive in the searching for human food. The certainly weren't around when we first visited Sydney in mid 1980s, in my recollection.
I see it here, I see it there....
St Marys church. Some Sydney tram trivia fro you. The Watsons Bay tram line ran along William Street and then along King Street through the city. King Street is narrow and towards the end of the Sydney tram system and after protests about the congestion trams caused in King Street, the line was truncated to run in a loop around
A pretty amphitheatre, which later would probably see plenty of children running in and out of the water.
A more modern fountain sitting on top of something.
The Australia Museum.
Another unimaginative fountain.
The south east corner of the northern part of Hyde Park.
Greetings from a museum resident.
Next to our digs is the somewhat grander Pullman.
Cannas past their prime in Centennial Park.
With an interesting water feature outside where we dined.
The closest I can liken Centennial Park to in Melbourne is Royal Park, but really, they are quite different. At some point Victor mentioned something about a bi-centennial something and suddenly I twigged. Centennial Park, 100 years.
Patrick White's house. He was a strong campaigner against Centennial Park land being taken for 'commercial' purposes. He also campaigned against the construction of Sydney's monorail. He has the last laugh as the monorail has been dismantled.
The house next door was quite impressive. By golly, there are some very nice houses in Sydney.
Voila. We are at Victor's and admiring the views.
As we walked to the bus stop, we happened across a future Prime Minister's electoral office.
The Minister for Communications has a clever little plaque.
A very modern bus, very smooth and quiet. The step lights came on when the doors opened, not new, but the interior lights also brightened when the doors opened.
I think it was about 9.30 when the Queen Mary 2 sailed. I have decided I need a new camera.