Day 1 – Sydney

DSC_0002 A day that promised rain has unexpectedly shown none so that we enjoyed a typical late winter day in Sydney, mixed sun and cloud, breezes off the harbour and temperatures in the upper teens. We are staying in Greenwich, a part of Sydney, with Celia May, who with her husband John befriended us in 1973 when we arrived for our first Australian adventure. John died in DSC_0010February while on a trip to India with Celia, and we are missing him.

A short walk from Greenwich across a footbridge, overhung with gum trees, below which a stream flows is the best part of the trip into Sydney. Birdsong fills the air. Not more than a 10 minutes walk later we were on the train across the Harbour Bridge to Wynyard Station downtown. Of course I wanted to retrace our first long ago days in Sydney, down to The Rocks where the convicts landed, and later the Irish in 1845-48 fleeing the potato famine, on past the iconic Sydney Opera House and on to the Botanical Gardens, surely one of the loveliest sites for public space anywhere. Geoff and I commented on the foresight of Governor and Mrs. Macquarie, particularly Mrs. Macquarie, who set aside  prime waterfront, not for commerce or industry but for public use. School groups were touring, a yoga class was facing the water, runners were everywhere, several soccer games were scattered throughout the park, and Sydney-siders and tourists were walking on all the paths. We were amazed to see it so well used on a weekday.

From the park it is a short walk to the Art Gallery of New South Wales where admission is free. Geoff is attracted to bright, bold designs while I enjoy the more muted, restrained colours and themes. Decorating our new house may be a challenge! Architects for a dramatically new art gallery have been selected with a completion date of 2021.

We noted in the Telstra – Australian communication company – store that there was a sign noting that the store was located on “traditional lands” and the company was committed to reconciliation with aboriginal people.

Tonight we are in long sleeves and sweaters as we listen to a cold winter rain. By tomorrow “cool” will be a distant memory when we land in Darwin to 35 degree heat. More from the Northern Territory tomorrow.

~ Catherine

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