The first thing you notice aboot Sydney is this is one large city. Over 5 million people live here, that’s as many as the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
The second thing you notice aboot Sydney after picking up your rental car is that the traffic is heavy, and is in a hurry to get where they are going. Our rental here is lots smaller than the one we used in New Zealand, and it doesn’t’ speak to us in a language that neither of us has learned to speak yet. In fact, says nothing at all in any language, but sill the streets seem narrower.
Saint Mark’s Lodge in the district of Randwick has been our home for the past couple of days here in Sydney. The lodge is an older building. Is immaculately kept, has most of the amenities that one comes to expect in this part of the world. Its locally owned and operated and the price is by far more favorable than the city center hotels or even the airport. It isn’t walking distance to the Circular Quay, and that is where the harbor, the harbor bridge, and opera house sit.
Not wanting to deal with the city traffic or having to find and pay for a parking spot for our car that has no voice, we decided to use public transit, and that put us on bus 373.
The buses here are spotlessly clean. Run frequently. The seats are padded, not hard plastic. Lots of riders thank the driver when they exit the bus, and you pay for rides on all the public transit, buses, trains, and ferry boats with one card called Opal that you can get at almost every convenience store or from kiosks at the stations. You scan the card when you get on and again when you exit. The scanners tell you how much money you have left on your Opal, and when you exit how much the ride cost. You can “top up” the card at the station kiosks, or with a phone app. And the drivers besides wheeling their huge vehicles up and down these tiny streets have all been very helpful.
Our second ride on 373 to the quay we had a mission, to climb the Harbor Bridge.
For a couple hundred dollars you can go in a small group (eight) and walk up to the top of the bridge on the outer arch. You can’t bring anything with you like cameras, bracelets, or anything else that might fall off yourself. You must walk through a metal detector to make sure you left everything behind in the lockers provided. You must take a breathalyzer to make sure you are not intoxicated. They outfit you up with straps for your glasses, a stylish jump suit, a rain jacket, headphones so you can hear your glide, a hat and a spiffy belt so you can be connected to safety cable that runs along the side of the catwalk.The walk is not hard. It has lots of steps, but you stop frequently to rest and learn a little about the construction and workers from your guide, in our case a very pleasant young lady who was never stumped by any questions.
The view is, well the best one of Sydney and the only downer is that you couldn’t sit up there with your own camera and tripod and make your own photos.
If you get here do The Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb.