Saturday, December 14, 2019

New England Snowy Day - Jan 2015

Unfortunately, it's downloaded from Instagram and appears to be heavily compressed, losing much of the fidelity necessary to appreciate the snowy day.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Sydney 2019 Vacation

Alice and I had a great time in Sydney, Australia.  Originally, we planned to use our 9 days in Australia to visit a couple of areas.  That plan changed as we became aware of just how much Sydney itself offers.  So, we spent all 9 days in Sydney.  We were able to visit many points of interests and other locations.


Our favorite places for this trip are Featherdale Wildlife Park, Scenic World (despite its unimaginative name), The Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney ("botanic" and "garden" are not typos) and Taronga Zoo.


All of these locations should be at the top of the list when planning a vacation to Sydney for the first time.

Sydney Opera House Nonoperatic Concert

We enjoyed Peter Bence's concert at Sydney Opera House (What's on in Sydney: November 30 - December 1 (backup link), Peter Bence Tour (backup link)), called "Peter Bence: The Awesome Piano Tour".  Alice was originally concerned about seeing a concert by a pianist, but now feels this is one of the most enjoyable concerts that she has experienced.  It was an awesome surprize.

Dinner Cruise

We also thoroughly enjoyed our "Sydney Harbour Sky Deck Gold Penfolds Dinner Cruise" (backup link).  Because I upgraded the experience to "Gold" level, we had a particularly special night, including a priority boarding, welcome reception on the upper deck, special window table, our own dedicated maitre d' and a specially prepared 6-course dinner with wines to compliment each course.  Even without the Gold level status, this would've been a very enjoyable evening.  That said, we were the only Gold level passengers for this particular cruise, so this made things seem even more special for us.  We were literally the only passengers at the upper deck welcome reception.  For a short period, we had an entire deck to just ourselves.

Michael's Tour

My friend Michael Lord joined us for almost a whole day to show us around town on an incredible walking tour.  I can tell Michael loves his hometown!  We met up at Queen Victoria Building and then stopped by at Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park, St. Mary's Cathedral, The Mint, Parliament of New South Wales (no one chained themselves to the fence on this particular day), and The Domain before visiting Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Afterward, we had a terrific lunch at Otto Ristorante on the Finger Wharf.  Then, we walked around Farm Cove to Sydney Opera House.  We had dessert at Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe before taking the ferry to Manly, where we found an interesting Christmas Tree that seemed a bit lost.

After returning to Circular Quay, we explored The Rocks and Darling Harbour, including a light dinner at Pho-mo in Barangaroo.  Heading back, we passed by a large all-white outdoor dinner event at Tumbalong Park.  Passing by Paddy's Markets, we headed back.  I don't know the exact number of steps, but I believe Michael's pedometer app counted well over 23K for the day.  Thank you Michael for the Grand Tour!


Alice and I shopped at many locations, and there are many more that we missed.  Just to name a few places where we shopped: Market City, Queen Victoria Building (and adjacent underground and aboveground shops), Westfield Sydney, Westfield Bondi JunctionCentral Park Mall, The Strand Arcade and Circular Quay.  For mementos, we really tried to focus on buying "Australian Made" products, just because it seems silly to buy non-Australian made products on a vacation in Australia.

Other Points of Interest

Sydney Tower Eye was a good diversion one morning.  The entry point can be hard to find within the Westfield Sydney mall due to contradictory direction signage. We also found ourselves exploring the mildly interesting Museum of Contemporary Art one afternoon. 


Sydney is a very walkable city, with several well-placed T (train) stations.  Since our hotel was near Central Station, it was easy to get out and around town.  One thing to mention is that the railway public transport cars aren't friendly to large luggage (if you are travelling from or to the airport), particularly during busy hours.  So, if you don't rent a car, you still may wish to use Uber for the airport.  Other than that, you can walk most of the time.  We only used Uber when we were under specific time constraints, such as our dinner cruise and the concert.

Other Restaurants of Note

Basket Brothers has quirky breakfast choices.  Peacock Gardens has some great lobster dishes.


"Nipped in the butt" is being bitten on your posterior.⠀ ⠀ "Nip in the bud" is to stop something at an early stage to prevent undesirable consequences.⠀ ⠀ #meme #flower #idioms #grammar #english #grammarpolice

Monday, December 02, 2019

Modern aboriginal inspired art found @ #museumofcontemporaryartsydney #sydney #sydneyaustralia #australia #mcasydney #art #modernart

Modern art @ #museumofcontemporaryartsydney #3dart #modernart #art #sydney #sydneyaustralia #australia #mcasydney

A study of glittery perspective @ #TheStrandArcade #sydney #sydneyaustralia #australia #shoppingmall

Tall buildings that will soon be #casinos ain’t got nufin on me. #forcedperspective #darlingharbour #sydney #sydneyaustralia #australia #crownplazahotel #skyscraper #holdingabuildingtogether #dinnercruise #captaincookcruises

Get settled-in for our awesome #DinnerCruise on #captaincookcruises around #SydneyHarbour. Perfect evening. #sydney #sydneyaustralia #australia #sydneyoperahouse #sydneyharbourbridge #summer #summerevening #summertime #australiansummer #champagne