Even with a time difference of +16 hours, I was up bright-and-early on the Monday morning of our trip. And, as usual, I was starving. So I decided to have a walk around Sydney to see what the morning is like for the average Sydney resident. After some great people watching, I stopped in at a great cafe (Bambini Espresso) to pick up pastries for breakfast. Delicious!
We began our day with a walk through Hyde Park with Ryan and Aimee on our way to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum.
The museum served as barracks for the convict colony- first for men and boys and later for female immigrants. The acceptance and comic use of the rats who had infested the building was particularly amusing- their likeness was used to tell stories or indicate an interesting stopping point.
The barracks themselves were somewhat dim, creating a difficulty with lighting. Many of the photos are very noisy, but the photos turned out well. In the room above, convicts slept in hammocks and when the population doubled, a second row was strung above the first.
The most interesting part for me was the name finder, in which you could enter your last name to see if any of your relatives had been sent on the convict ships to Australia. Even though “Smedley” is an English last name, I was surprised to find the accounts of several Smedleys who were sentenced to “Transport Beyond the Seas” from England.
Above Left: Ryan and Jonathan catch up. Above Right: Ryan, the accused, is harshly questioned by his lawyer wife, Aimee. Jonathan wields the power of justice.
The walk from Hyde Park to Circular Quay (pronounced “key”) was a nice little jaunt. Once there, we met up with the rest of the group for the ferry to Taronga Zoo.
Aside from the animals, a trip to the zoo is great for two reasons- the ferry ride is beautiful on a sunny day and the zoo itself is situated alongside cliffs overlooking Sydney Harbour.
The koalas were uncooperative, since they were so sleepy! There were also extreme shadows in their enclosure, making them difficult to photograph. The giraffes, however, were gorgeous against the Sydney skyline.
The animals were gorgeous to photograph on this sunny, beautiful day. My favorite is the above photo of this curious penguin.
While walking through the kangaroo enclosure, we spotted our first kookaburra. Like many Americans, I’m only familiar with them because of the Kookaburra Song for children. Unprepared, I snapped a few photos that turned out to be extremely dark. Thankfully a little post-processing saved them!
The kangaroo enclosures were interesting because you could actually go into them and take photos without the barrier of fencing.
Jonathan captured these photos of me with what I thought was a stationery kangaroo!
Late in the afternoon, we took one of the last cable cars on the Sky Safari back down to the ferry dock.
With a little time to kill, we grabbed a drink at Fortune of War, Sydney’s oldest pub. And in exchange for that drink, we enjoyed the use of their wireless internet. Prior to arriving, I had downloaded several apps for my iPhone that I thought would be helpful in navigating, but even in highly populated areas wireless networks don’t seem to exist!
Sydney is divided into neighborhoods called “suburbs,” and we were then in the suburb known as The Rocks. A short walk through Sydney led us to Millers Point, where the Rehearsal Dinner was to be held at the Lord Nelson Brewery. Since we arrived early, we decided to sample another local pub and found ourselves in the very divey Captain Cook Hotel Bar. By this point I was ravenously hungry, so I inquired about a display of sandwiches and as to what the different types were. The bartender instructed us to help ourselves and after placing several on a napkin continued, “These are leftovers from the wake held here earlier.” What a way to go- holding your wake in the local pub. Loved it!