Thursday, August 07, 2008

Australia Day 9: A Manly Morning & a Royal Afternoon

Today (July 11), we headed off to Manly, north suburb of Sydney and home of the Sea Eagles! (Remember, we cheered for them on our first night in "Oz"?) We took the ferry in the morning, and I wish I lived somewhere where I could take the ferry to work every day. It was so nice, waiting for the ferry to arrive, then waiting for the ferry guys to tie it up and put out the plank (I don't think that's what it's called on a ferry, I think that's what it's called on a pirate ship) and getting on the ferry and finding a spot in the sunshine. Love it!
The views from the ferry in Sydney Harbour are so pretty! Because we just didn't have enough pictures of this structure:

And here we are in front of the Opera House:

Some guy asked us to take a picture of him and we did. Since his turned out so well, we asked him to take one of us. Only David had the camera on the wrong setting (again...remember my blurry koala picture??) and we couldn't force the flash.
Here's my "aggravated face". And funny how David managed to make the flash work for that picture.

Now that I know what my aggravated face looks like, I need to really try to get aggravated less often.

Anyway, besides the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, the other vistas of Sydney are just as gorgeous.

I think the lady sitting near us told us this was Watson's Bay.
She was full of information. She told us about an Australian basketball player who just got signed to the Milwaukee Bucks. Andy something maybe. I'll have to look him up. She told us about the Navy yards we passed and about a monastery that is now being used as a "hospitality college" and about a place that was once used for quarantine but now is a resort or something. Just another friendly Aussie!

We arrived at Manly Wharf and tried to figure out what the heck we were wanting to do in Manly. We walked down the Corso toward the beach and took a picture, but weren't really in the beachy mood. It's hard to want to go to the beach when you're freezing! It was nice and sunny and I imagine the little restaurants etc. along the Corso and the side streets are just hoppin' when it's warm out!

After our very brief trip to the beach (I wanted to walk along it a while, but David--of course--was "starving")so we had to back-track a little and stop for lunch at a restaurant on the Corso. I thought we could find a cheaper (and probably better) restaurant along the side streets, but David couldn't wait. We went to the Watervue restaurant, which was run by some Europeans but we couldn't agree upon where their accents were from. We sat, waited, ate, and watched the guy with the menus chase the seagulls away every few minutes for a while. A long while because our food took a really long time. I had a chicken sandwich with avocado that was really good and came with chips. The hot and squooshy kind of chips, not the room temp and crispy kind. David had steak with mushroom sauce and salad. The last time he had ordered a steak (2 nights before), the lady offered about 6 different kids of "sauce" and looked at David like he had a third eyeball when he stated that he just wanted a plain steak). Our lunch was good, and we got free drinks for choosing the Watervue restaurant instead of the one next door which had basically the same menu.

We left and still didn't walk down the beach. Instead we found our way to the "park walk" or something that was listed on the tourist map we picked up when we got off the ferry. Along the way, we stopped at the library, but only for a minute. I wanted to stop and read some magazines, but David said, "you can't check out books here. We don't have a library card." Apparently David has never actually spent much time in a library. I tried to explain that you can't check out magazines anyway, you're meant to sit and read them there and nobody "cards" you while you are, but he just wanted to leave. We stopped at the post office to buy a few postcard stamps--so cute! Kangaroos! And mail a few of the post cards I had in my purse.

The "park walk" was really lame. I'm sure there were better places to go in Manly than the route we took. The most interesting thing on the route was watching this guy at the Lawn Bowling Club.

We headed back to the ferry and back to Circular Quay. We walked over to the Opera House to see if we might be able to get tickets for anything. I knew that we wouldn't, but I wanted to prove it to David. I had suggested getting tickets for an Opera House event while we were still at home and he didn't feel like thinking about it. As if we could get them the day before...hello-oh! It's the Opera House for Pete's sake!
We took a walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens. It was so peaceful and nice there. It was like being transported from the crowded and fast-paced city to a peaceful, calm and quiet park in one step. The sign says "Welcome to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Walk on the grass. Smell the flowers. Hug a tree." Or something like that. I liked that sign. We missed the free guided tour, so we just walked around on the grass and on the paved paths. I wish they wouldn't have been out of maps, because then we would've known all there was to see. We didn't see the half of it! Besides the plants and grass and stuff, there were also lots of fountains and sculptures which would've been nice to see. We did look briefly at the Government House (built in 1845) before we decided to sit in the grass and watch a man feeding birds.

We only managed to sit there for a little while. If I had had my knitting project or a book with me, I could've sat there all day. But truthfully, I was a little bored just sitting in the park with nothing to do but people-watch. Lots of runners going through the Gardens. I said, "If I lived here, I'd run through the Botanic Gardens every day". Especially since it was 2 or 3 pm when I saw these runners, and seen as I had just been getting up at 2 or 3 am to do long runs out of the hot and unforgiving sun, it seemed especially inviting.

We stopped back at the hotel, and back at the button shop (where I contemplated which buttons to buy for my February Lady sweater yarn and ended up buying the wrong color) before walking to the Queen Victoria Building. The QVB used to be something else, now it's a big mall...and I mean BIG...but is still popular for its architecture as well. The lady at the button shop told us it takes up a whole block, so we wouldn't miss it. She also said it was a "15 minute walk up George Street" and we had been walking for more than 15 minutes when we saw this:

It was a pretty building and a big building, but it turns out, the wrong building.
Back to George Street and it wasn't long before we saw the actual QVB. The button shop lady was right...we wouldn't have missed it. It was huge!

I read about the clock in my Australia book, so insisted on a picture.

The feeling going inside reminded me of going into Marshall Fields. Only even fancier!
The shops were completely overwhelming. You look down, you see more shops. You look up, you see more shops. Too many shops! I did go into Nine West but it was so tiny and crowded! And anyway, there was no way new shoes would fit in my suitcase. David needed a snack and wanted a Krispy Kreme. I didn't mind having one either. We walked around a little more, then all of a sudden we were outside. And not at the same outside that we went in. That meant we got to walk back via York Street and see Tapestry Craft one more time. I finally convinced David to go inside and he agreed that it was a lot of yarn then wanted to leave.

For dinner, David wanted to go back to Zia Pina's and, I think because 9 days is too long to be on a trip and I was just getting tired of reading about and finding restaurants, I agreed. It was packed! We had to sit upstairs, which was warm and cozy, but also a little scary. (Right before we left for Australia, I had watched an episode of Dateline or something about a big group of people who were on a balcony when the balcony collapsed). Anyway, the food took a long time and I didn't like what we ordered as much as what we ordered the first time. We had the Zia Pina Special pizza and pasta carbonara. David recommended the garlic bread (he had it the day he went for lunch) and that was sooooo delicious! We had originally looked at the gelato menu when we ordered in hopes of getting some gelato after dinner, but couldn't even finish our pizza. There was an American couple sitting right next to us, really, right next to us--the upstairs was so crowded there was maybe 4 or 5 inches between tables, and David wanted to talk to them but I thought we should just let them enjoy their dinner.
Our walk back to the hotel concluded our second to last full day in Australia.

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