Where two next?

Antipodean travelogue through the eyes of two - one textile and one building lover. It'll be hard to differentiate the two!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sydney Opera House (Day 14) Part 1

If the "Australia balloon" pic in a previous post epitomised our travels up North, then perhaps the following pic, with the Australia flag billowing in the foreground of the Sydney Opera House, sums up our time in the state of New South Wales.

We decided to start our second day with a tour of the Opera House. They recommend that you go on one of the earlier tours as later on in the day rehearsals can make parts of the tour off limits. We had been thinking about going to see a concert but the evening shows were booked out and our days were already full. They have a show every night in the Opera House which make it one of the busiest Opera Houses in the world. The name is a bit of a misnoma in that all types of plays, musicals, classical concerts and operas are held in the venue. Here's a few more pics from the tour of the interior.

While we were on our tour the main theatre was being used for a rehearsal of Brahms Symphonies 1 & 3, the concert we had hoped to catch one evening. Luckily the tour was allowed into the theatre and we listened to the conductor asking a section of the orchestra to repeat a piece of music over and over again until he was satisfied with the outcome. Only then would he move on. It whet our appetite to the point, that once the tour was finished, we went and bought two tickets to an afternoon showing.
During the construction of the Opera House there was a change in government and the original architect Jorn Utzon eventually resigned the commission in frustration. Utzon was never to return to the Opera House and has therefore never seen it completed first hand. The interior was therefore finished by another architect. It was a real pity that this happened and now, many years later Utzon, at 80 years of age, is back working on the Opera House, his son carrying out his father's instruction's on site. Utzon senior still determined not to set foot in the place.
In college we didn't study this building or the likes of the Taj Mahal. In Architectural circles they seem to have less significance. Perhaps they are too obvious, I don't actually know why. I liked the building but cannot say that it meant any more to me than that, I wasn't bowled over, or reduced to silence. (Again Sharon has reminded me that that would be a feat in itself!) Perhaps I'll return to it on a later date but for now the answers are not forthcoming. Needless to say it is a remarkable achievement nonetheless and one which quite rightly won him the Pritzker Prize.
That was our morning on Day 14, after lunch we headed off to the Zoo, but more on that later. The following pics are of one of the few rooms that Utzon has completed the interior of since being recommissioned.

The mural on the wall above is an original work by him and the pic below is of his signature. I thought it more appropriate that he might sign off this post.

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Syndey (Day 13)

Did you know that hiring a suit could be an adventure?

Well it can, especially for two Paddy's in the big city. First, let me give you some of the background. I was due to be best man for a friend of mine in Tasmania on the 3rd March and the groom cleverly decided to pick a suit hire company that had bases in Sydney, Tassie and Melbourne (the groomsman was living in Melbourne) so we could measure up in good time for the wedding.

We thought at the start it was going to be easy enough, we were staying on George's St, and the suit hire was just up the road on Liverpool St., at least that's what we thought. Being a man I was going to walk the length and breath of Liverpool St. until I found it. My wife on the other hand had other ideas and as it would turn out better ideas, but only marginally.

We therefore went into an internet cafe and typed in Spurling (the name of the suit hire company) and it gave you a choice of locations in New South Wales, Country or Metropolitan. We clicked Metropolitan. Then we clicked on Liverpool and it gave the address as No. 375 Macquarie St.

It crossed our mind that Liverpool might be a district as opposed to a street, so I checked our map, but couldn't find it anywhere. Not to worry we thought, as there was a Macquarie St. a short taxi ride away. We hailed a taxi and set off across the city. About ten minutes later we arrived at No. 250 Macquarie St. and the taxi driver informed us that we were at the end of the road and therefore our taxi ride. As it would turn out though not the end of our journey!

We hoped out and I decided to ask for help. We asked a not so friendly guy at a stall for No. 375 and he said I was the second person to ask him that today, and then just ignored me! After that I decided to try a waitress down the street. Half way through the conversation she seemed to get paranoid and started looking around her. Eventually she asked us was she on TV!!!!!! We were dumb founded and as our faces obviously warranted an explanation she duly obliged. Apparently some Aussie TV show sends people on treasure hunts around the city and she thought that we might be part of the show! We put her mind at rest and, although she seemed a little deflated, she explained that Liverpool was indeed a district and was about an hours train ride away!!!!!!!

She was incredible helpful and confirmed that there was another district, Chatswood, about a twenty minute train journey away and that might suit us better. (no pun intended) At this stage we both must have been salivating. I know I had to stop myself from hugging her. To top it all off, she rang the shop to make sure they existed and got the address for us. We thanked her profusely, after she had given us directions to the train station, and set off again with high hopes.

We decided to ring the suit hire ourselves before we got onto the train to make sure that he could fit me in (this would turn out to be slightly ironic). A short stroll and a train ride later we were in Chatswood District. The suit hire was on Victoria Avenue and since it was off our map we were not sure where we were going. Luckily there was a sign in the train station for an exit onto Victoria Avenue. Our luck was changing or so we thought.

We left the station and headed down the road looking for No. 445. We got to the end of the road and again the number didn't exist. After some more walking, a lot of head scratching, we decided to ask for help. It turned out that the avenue continued on the other side of the station, but because of construction works and its hoarding you could only cross over by a temporarily raised pedestrian crossing.

A couple of deep breaths and a few flights of steps later we duly arrived on the remainder of the Avenue. Another walk up and down the street (it was in a shopping mall) we eventually found it, only to be confronted by a guy whose nickname in school must have been Lurch! He even had the ingraciating manner.

He asked me my suit size and gave me a pair of trousers to try on while he fetched the jacket. I came out looking like a clown insofar as I held the top of the trousers out to demonstrate the fact that he got my size wrong by about 10 inches! Not to worry he rectified the problem and proceeded to give me the jacket.

I remember an episode of “Friends” where they talked about the TV cameras adding ten pounds and if that's the case, then this guy had lenses for eyes as the jacket was way too big also. I stood there bemused as he pushed the shoulder pads towards each other and said and I quote "well you don't want it to be too tight!"

We had come along way, well actually a very short way, but over quite a long time. That said I somehow managed to compose myself and suggest that about three sizes smaller might be more appropriate. We eventually got sorted and his next job was to write the measurements down and fax them to their sister shop in Tassie. I had all these thoughts of him putting down all the wrong sizes and me ending up at the wedding wearing clown pants with shoulder pads dripping down my arms! To be fair though, on the day of collection in Tassie, everything worked out well.

That was our first morning in Sydney, and probably the most exciting thing that happened on the day as we were tired from our travels. Sharon did attend a Stitch & Bitch session that evening while I stayed in the Hotel gathering my energy for the next day’s adventures. If you want to read about Sharon's knitting experiences on our first day in Sydney, check out her blog here.

Day 13, unlucky for some!


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