Fun Fact: The street crossing buttons make a Pew pew sound when it is time to cross. Another one: there are over 55 volcanos in auckland. I think only one is active.
Early flights mean that we don’t want to get totally adjusted to the time here. Our bedtime will be around 10pm. We Thought of heading to Denny’s last night for dinner but Wesley did not want to eat there so we had bananas instead. We fell asleep around 930 and woke up at 3 to get to the airport by 4. There is a giant LOTR stone dwarf in the airport! They sell honey supplements and merino wool products (also possum fur products) as national souvenirs. I cannot figure out why one would consume a honey pill and not just eat a spoon of it.
Our flight felt longer than it was. It was only 3 hours but having been on so many flights lately, it was unwanted. We arrived in Sydney and hopped a train to city center. It wasn’t too difficult to locate the right train and stop. The ticket selling humans were really helpful and we got on the right train. It only took a few minutes to get to Museum stop and find our way. We went to the hotel and dropped our bags off and went on our way.
We walked through Hyde Park, which was nicely abbreviated HP on emblems on the ground. We gleefully yelled “Harry Potter!” when we saw them. The park was beautiful. It had a large war memorial and a reflecting pool with ducks. We came to an obelisk and Sterling was excited to take a picture of it. At the edge of the park we saw a Starbucks. A frappucinno really hit the spot. They were a bit expensive but so worth it. We used the wifi to update facebook and check email and continued on. We headed in the direction of the harbor and came across a huge cathedral. We didn’t go in but we took the obligatory pictures. We wandered down the street to the harbor and Sterling got excited about the types of structures. She wanted to see some old buildings and such. Her needs were met in Sydney. It has a lovely older look in some parts of town. There’s the huge downtown but also contains some older buildings.
The botanical gardens ended up being along the way and that was an incredible place to wander into. It was beautiful and we took tons of pictures. We found a cockatoo and soon realized they’re native here. We finished up and tried to reach the harbor but we were running short on time. So we snapped a few pictures of the bridge and turned around to head toward the sky tower.
We arrived a little early but they let us in and we headed up to the top of the tower. I think we were the first ones there. Wow what an experience! We enjoyed a fantastic buffet lunch on a rotating section of the tower. The seating area rotates roughly once per hour so during our meal we got to see the entire city from the highest point in the city. Sterling fell in love with some sort of lavender custard. After finishing up lunch we asked a lady at the check in desk where the Baha’i temple was. She was nice enough to call the temple and find out how to get there. It was extraordinarily kind of her.
We took the train out to the appropriate stop and then awaited a bus to head toward the temple. The temple was out in the middle of nowhere north of the city. It’s surprising busses even head out that far. Once we arrived we were treated to a very friendly welcome of some baha’i’s. We watched an informational video about their religion and chatted with some of them for a bit about which temples we’d been to. We went and sat in the temple and thought about the big man in the sky for a bit and then explored the grounds a bit. I did something to their toilet and then we went to ask them how we could get to the beach. The woman didn’t seem to know where the beach was nor where the temple was when looking at the map. That didn’t stop her from talking to us for a while about what beach we SHOULD go to or how nice it was we came out to see them.
The other lady there was from Adelaide and when she heard we were headed there, decided to give us her phone number in case we need a ride. While surprisingly trusting and odd, it was really friendly of her and we might take her up on that if we get stuck somewhere. We finally escaped and went to wait for the bus. We got back to the train station and we decided that we’d go see olympic park yet tonight. That didn’t last since Sterling got really tired and decided we didn’t want to do that. Instead we go off the train and headed to the harbor to see the opera house since we’d missed it earlier. Wow! Some sort of special light show was going on and the opera house was all lit up by a projector across the harbor. The buildings also had some shinies on them. Words can’t really describe. It was amazing.
Tired, exausted, sleepy, and every other fatigue-type adjective, we walked back to our hotel to check in. Along the way we saw an australian opposum in the HP park and asked a local what it was. He gave us a long story about how we shouldn’t touch it and it will eat our fingers if we let him. We took some pictures and went to the hotel. I went and bought a razor since I really needed to shave while sterling checked in. The hotel room was massive. It was the size of your average 1 bedroom apartment. Twice the size of any standard hotel room you’d have in the US. We showered and shaved and used the internet a bit before passing out for a long day tour tomorrow.