My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

Strolling and singing in Sydney

on January 5, 2014

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A walk in the sun

While Miss H headed off to Manly to pick up some clothes from a friend’s house, I ventured (well, ambled) into town to join the free walking tour. Despite my appalling sense of direction it took just 20 minutes to find the Town Hall where about 100 people stood clustered around a few guys in bright green T-shirts.

I found myself next to two Welsh girls so tagged along with them. They’d come over for Christmas and New Year, although one of the girls was staying longer to do some exploring. The other (like me) had a job back at home and had so far resisted the temptation to quit and join the thousands of other Britons working and partying.

I still hadn’t met many actual Australians as everyone seemed to be British, but thankfully our tour guide was a Sydneysider and he led us around the city he loves for almost three hours. By the statue of Queen Victoria outside the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) we saw (and heard) the talking dog statue – in memory of her favourite dog Islay – voiced by controversial DJ John Laws, who also does the bark that follows Islay’s ‘thank you’ if money is thrown into the ‘wishing well’.

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Inside the QVB is a decorative castle clock designed by Neil Glasser and representing Balmoral. Each hour it displays six scenes of British royalty, including the beheading of Charles I, accompanied by Jeremiah Clark’s trumpet voluntary.

As well as unusual facts about Sydney architecture, we’re also given tips on cheap activities – so instead of paying to climb the Westfield Tower ($40), we’re told to just go to the bar which not only has a super view, but also rotates and the minimum spend is only $20 – bargain!

After seeing almost everything Syndey has to offer (including a lot of Christmas trees) we ended up by the iconic harbour bridge, across the harbour from the Opera House where I was heading that night.
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Not New Year’s Eve

Naturally, for a night at the opera (house) one has to make some sort of effort. So we ditched the shorts and flip flops in favour of dresses and shoes. We drank pink Moscato in the Opera Bar by the harbour and then pre-ordered sparkling Semillon for the interval.

The Opera House had arranged a New Year’s Eve programme for the last week of the year with opera, music and theatre. We were off to see ‘Not New Year’s Eve’ – an evening of classical music, jazz and songs from musicals, performed by the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra with special guests.

The Opera House is actually much smaller on the inside, but the acoustics are excellent and we had a good view. However, one couple informed our neighbours that they were in their seats… But it turned out that their tickets were actually for the next day – oops.

Much cheering, clapping and singing along later we felt thoroughly satisfied with our opera house experience and continued in the cultural spirit by heading out for drinks.

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