Friday, March 20, 2015

Sydney Day 2 Thursday

Another title could be, the day Victor won free pizza for life.

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 St Marys Queens Square. The Watsons Bay line was eventually closed and the influential Sydney eastern suburb folk protested and the line was partly reinstated, perhaps to Rose Bay in my memory. When the whole Sydney system shut down, including the Watsons Bay line, the same opportunity to re-open the line was stymied by a tower wagon truck following the last tram and taking down the overhead wires.


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.


35 comments:

  1. What an absolutely delightful, action packed (and exhausting) day.
    And how lovely to have met up (again) with a blog friend. And I love his views. So much.

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    1. EC, we made sure we had some down time in the afternoon. Victor's place was truly wonderful.

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  2. I'm very upset by this.

    You never pointed out the two hot guy diners to me.

    Shame!

    It was a pleasure to have your and R's company. I look forward to your next visit.

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    1. They were just to the right of you Victor, within groping distance. Your gay cred is slipping.

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  3. What a gem of a blogfriend you have there. I was thrilled to be able to recognise some of the places you visited.

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    1. Fun60, I only ever connect with really nice people.

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  4. Sounds like a great trip.

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    1. Jim, it was funny to see some things that I have seen in your photos. Look! I know that!

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  5. It's fun to read about your own city viewed through the eyes of a visitor.

    I think you are right about the ibis. I'd say they arrived in inner Sydney some time in the mid-early nineties.

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    1. Marcellous, I have been generally complimentary about Sydney. I expect you might feel defensive if I wasn't. Wait till I have a good go at the buses.

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  6. Andrew, definitely great pictures. All are fantastic but the ibis are the best. The flower beds are the same as in my place. Nature at your place is AMAZING COMPARING to Europe

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    1. Gosia, Melbourne is more European and you would probably feel more comfortable here, but for the tourist experience, you can't miss Sydney. It is a beautiful city.

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  7. All those fountains to play in, marvelous! Oh, 'scuse me whilst I stuff my inner child back where she belongs...

    I love Victor's views, and the idea of hopping aboard the QM2 and making my way to Sydney holds a great deal of appeal. It looks as though you're having a wonderful holiday!

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    1. Jacqueline, it is only the thought of having wet clothes that stops me running into the spouting water. We can only dream of sailing on the QM2. I would have to buy my first suit, for a start.

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  8. The War Memorial in Hyde Park is gorgeous. Not only is it designed in dazzling Deco style, it also has clever watery reflections. The drinking fountain is far less geometric but it looks great in the gardens.
    Sydney has some really elegant public structures.

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    1. Hels, yes, at the back there is water. We did not look closely at it. As for public sculptures, Sydney does have some good ones, but as elsewhere, its best times are behind it.

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  9. I'm quite envious of Victor's gorgeous, glorious views. I like that polished granite fountain a lot too.
    How nice to be shown around by a good friend who knows so much about his city.
    I wouldn't mind seeing one of those huge cruise liners, but the idea of shoving through crowds for a good view puts me off going anywhere near the port when they are here.

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    1. River, seeing the cruise liners from the comfort of Victor's apartment was very easy. Sydney people don't really bother about seeing cruise ships anymore, but they certainly did in the past.

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  10. The modern fountain 'sitting on top of something' sits on top of a below ground swimming complex which replaced the City Bowling Club which had been on that site for eons.

    I must query your comment that the truncated Eastern Suburbs tram line ended in a loop around St Mary's Cathedral. Not in my memory. The tram ended in a very tight loop around a statue of Queen Victoria at the northern end of Hyde Park where it meets Macquarie Street. Because of the statue that spot was referred to as Queens Square.

    If the tram ever looped around the cathedral and therefore by extension around the adjacent cathedral school then that happened before my time.

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    1. Victor, thanks for the info on what is under the modern fountain. I can see people in what bowling a ball.

      I had one job, in an area I am knowledgeable about and got it wrong. I semi realised it at the time. If the tram ran around St Mary's, St Mary's is not really in the right place.

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  11. What a lovely sounding day - the parks look lovely and well maintained. I recall spending several hours sitting it a lovely park not far from Surry Hills many years ago - was it Centennial park, I think so. As for those views.... stunning and what a treat to see the liners. A friend here just returned from a cruise on QM2 from Singapore to Hong Kong which I guess was the leg just before it arrived in your fair country.

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    1. Craig, I guess it would be Centennial Park you were in. It is huge and on the edge is of Oxford Street. Our friend's brother was on the QM2 and they travelled from Darwin. It must have travelled from Honkers via Darwin.

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  12. Your stroll through Hyde Park is part of my daily walk to and from work in Macquarie Street. The flower bed displays are wonderful with the changing seasons. You didn't spot any of the possums in the trees? I know they are nocturnal but occassionaly you spot them during the day.

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    1. Allan, Melbourne has almost stopped doing labour intensive flower beds. I was so pleased to see them Hyde Park. I don't think I looked up too often and so saw no possums.

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  13. That was a nice tour. Great view of the Harbour. The houses you showed are indeed delightful.

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    1. WA, I tried to equate expensive housing area in Sydney to Melbourne, but it is apples and oranges. There is a lot of very expensive property in Sydney.

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  14. Thanks for the brilliant photo tour!

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    1. Thanks Mitchell. If you ever have the chance to visit.........

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  15. What is the purpose of the tower in Sydney?

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    1. Good question Fen. Clearly it is not full of offices. At the top is a sightseeing area which we visited in the early 80s when the tower was newish. Now they have external perimeter walks, similarly priced to the harbour bridge climb.

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  16. Victor can see the Harbour Bridge from his high rise !?! How very coo! Is that. How brilliant to see the comings and goings in the harbour. You are right Andrew, a short visit to Sydney is a must do.

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    1. Grace, his views are really terrific. My camera is not good enough to capture them properly.

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  17. What a wonderful day! Now everyone will want to visit Victor for various reasons, like free pizza! But I'd go for the loos ...

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    1. Red, I hope he does not host pizza dinner parties at R's expense. R is only a pensioner, you know. The Queen Victoria was behind an island, moved from the Quay so the QM2 could move in. The day before the Queen Victoria had been at the Quay and that was when you were there.

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    2. Goodness, I'll have to stock up on toilet paper!

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