Monday, October 20, 2008

The Rocks, Turkish Festival and the Opera House

We set out on a city sight seeing tour a couple of weekends back. After alighting from the bus at Circular Quay, we walked down to the area of the city called 'The Rocks', passing along the way, the Customs House.

The Rocks is one of the oldest parts of the city. We visited Cadman's Cottage, the oldest private house still standing in Sydney. Mind you, this is less than 200 hundred years old! It is situated on the western side of Circular Quay.

We then walked along The Rocks markets to the base of Sydney Harbour Bridge. This offered great views of Syndey Harbour and the Opera House. We then climbed up to the Observatory Park which gave us views out over the western part of the harbour.

We had Turkish food for lunch at The Rocks, and then walked back towards Circular Quay. There was a Turkish festival taking place at the Quay, with a live band playing foot tapping music, and food stalls all around. We had some great Turkish sweets and tea with the music playing in the background.

There was plenty of action at the Quay. There was a street performer who somehow squeezed herself into a tiny glass box. There was a musician strumming away on his guitar. There were also 2 aborigines playing the didgeridoo.

We then made our way (yet again!) to the Opera House. After the customary lap of the building, we headed back home.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Manly Jazz Festival

The first weekend of October is celebrated as Labour Day Weekend, with the following Monday being a public holiday. This is the time of numerous events across Sydney, one of which is the International Jazz Festival at Manly.

Manly is an ocean beach a few kilometres to the north of Syndey city. The best way to reach there is by ferry. I boarded the 12 noon ferry from Circular Quay on a grey, overcast Monday. I was on the port side of the ferry, and had good views over the bush covered slopes of Middle Head on Sydney Harbour.

The ferry wharf is on the inner, harbour side of Manly, from where it is a 10 minute walk along the pedestrian only 'Corso' to the ocean side beach. For the jazz festival, there were stages set up along the Corso, near the wharf and on the ocean beach. I started at the stage close to the wharf end of the Corso, and made my way up the Corso to the beach. By the time I reached the beach side stage, the sun had broken through the clouds, and it turned into a nice, fine afternoon.

After lunch of packed sandwiches, I set about exploring Manly. Walking south along Manly beach, one reaches South Steyne beach. This is a small beach backed into tree covered hills. There is a walking track up the hill, which leads on to look out points along the cliff. These provide wonderful views over Manly and the beaches running north along the Pacific Ocean, right up to Narrabeen. 

I then walked back, and by now, the sun was again behind clouds, and it started raining. But it didn't stop the jazz musicians from playing. The music continued to be good, and the crowds just as strong. Luckily, it didn't rain for long, and the sun came out again as I was listening to the last programme of the festival.

The ferry ride back was an experience, simply for the strong winds that made it almost impossible to stand on the bow of the boat. My eyes were watering from the winds, but it was worth it for the beautiful views of the Opera House and the skyline of Sydney city against a backdrop of the sun setting behind clouds.

The day ended with a train ride to Sydney Central followed by a bus ride back home.