Australia is home not only to many of the most poisonous animals im the world, but also to similar strains of infectious diseases. My third and fourth weeks in Sydney I spent in bed battling a horrible flu-like illness. Unfortunately this coincided with my parents’ 3 day visit to Sydney, but at least they were able to bring me food and medicine! Perhaps I caught the germs for this virus on the bike tour sponsored by IFSA-Butler which took us to many nooks and crannies throughout the city a few days before I was glued to my bed. A car impaled by a large boulder is parked next to the finger wharves and serves as modern art which used to rival the allure of the Opera House; in fact, the two used to be placed right next to each other. I suppose its change of location was implemented because the two strange-looking structures right next to each other would surely overwhelm the public, and the city could not find a crane large enough to lift the Opera House. We rang the bells lodged on the front of our bikes as we pummeled through innocent tourists attending the Aroma Festival, which had many local shops advertising their coffees, teas, and chocolates. Latin singers and orchestral performances decorated Circular Quay and it felt like the entire city had come out to play. The tour ended at the observatorium which is lodged next to the Harbor Bridge and overlooks the Harbor as well as the city. I must admit that riding my bike across the bridge provided a similar view of Sydney- its height is certainly deceptive in photographs and from far away, but when you are on the bridge you feel like you are on top of the world (or at least as much “on top of the world” as you can be when you are actually at the bottom of the Earth).
The harbor is also quite scenic at a closer distance: IFSA-Butler connected us with a Harbor Cruise for a good price which lasted for 3 hours and even provided dinner. At nighttime, from the water, Sydney looks like a city bathed in soft gold, purple, and blue hues. We sailed straight underneath the Harbor Bridge where we could see birds that looked gold from the lights circling, and they almost looked like the southern hemisphere constellations which glowed brightly that night. Even the Opera House was glowing from all the colors reflecting from the urban areas. I signed up for that cruise again, but my train broke down on the way to Sydney and I had to miss my second showing of the scenery!
I had been skeptical about the structural appeal of the opera house until I stepped foot inside the building to see an opera with my parents. Not only are there restaurants on several floors, but also an affordable bar and absolutely spectacular views which rival only those seen from the harbor cruise. The windows are pure glass which makes you feel like you are actually outside on the water, away from the bustling city. We saw a rendition of “Of Mice and Men” which was a unique opera because it used video footage in addition to live acting.
My parents were also impressed by the winter festival which lasted for about 2 weeks in the CBD next to Hyde Park. Fake snow billowed from hefty machines outside the old army barracks while the temperature sailed to 75 degrees and everybody was in the streets jovially celebrating the winter weather. Now I am only waiting for “winter” to finally end so that I can have more adventures at the beach!