Archive for June 12th, 2010

Sibling Rivalry – Melbourne and Sydney

With time running out, we had to take in Australia’s two biggest cities in four days, beginning with Melbourne. Although fairly big (3 million or so), Melbourne had an easy going feel about it, almost quaint. Here a downtown mall atrium encloses an historic building.

This is not a city stuck in the past, as it had plenty of very modern architecture along with the older buildings.

And a symbolic fire that is kept downtown at this time every year in honor of an Aboriginal tradition.

And who said malls were invented in the USA, here is a Victorian era mall in downtown Melbourne.

The city had a civilized yet cutting edge vibe, kind of old Britain meets Seattle.

Not that I saw many of these being worn.

On the full day drive between Melbourne and Sydney, we had to stop at a winery for Gretchen to sample some boutique Australian wines. She was happy I was driving.

If Melbourne is the younger sibling who doesn’t like to be told what to do, Sydney is the oldest with all the ambition to shoot right to the top.

Even the chess set was bigger.

Bigger, brasher, flush with confidence and money, Sydney aims to be world class, in style if not in substance. And they are very proud of their iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.

We stayed in an edgy area called Kings Cross, where apparently this sign has been a fixture for years.

They still celebrate the Queen’s birthday here. Who said the Queen is above crass commercialism?

Like most of Australia, Sydney has a large Asian population.

Buskers and street performers could be found throughout the city.

LA has Muscle Beach and Sydney has Bondi Beach, though it was pretty quiet since it was winter. But that didn’t deter Gretchen from picking up the surf board.

Local Bondi Beach history and color is celebrated with many murals, and remember to throw that tin in the rubbish bin mate.

The city center was lively and vibrant both by day.

And by night.

They even have an old time amusement park across the river as therapy for those who have a clown phobia.

One thing that gives Sydney it’s character is it’s magnificent harbor, with numerous bays and inlets.

Oh yea, and there’s this Opera House they are real proud of.

It’s quite a grand piece of architecture that actually contains 3 theaters as well as an opera house. The European architect who designed it (who recently died) never got to see it in person after it was completed.

We however did get to walk over this bridge, and take in an acrobatic performance at the Sydney Opera House.

And with that great night, our time in Australia came to an end, and Gretchen headed home and I am off to New Zealand. A great distance indeed to reach, this land down under, but a great trip was made even better by having Gretchen by my side.