After what can only be described as a disturbed night’s sleep – three lads burst into the dorm at about 3 am and were seemingly unaware of the sleeping people already within – I am a little bit hazy as I wake. I head for a shower to wake me from my dreams, then head off to the top level for a bit of brekkie. I have a couple of slices of toast but am really craving something more. I head out of the hostel fairly early and take a walk along Pitt Street.
It is heaving and I decide that I don’t really fancy a day in the city. I have a decision to make – I know I want a beach – but is to be Bondi or Manly. I deliberate for a few moments and decide on the latter, so head for Circular Quay and jump on the ferry. The journey across the harbour makes the trip worthwhile in itself. The views on the Opera House and Harbour Bridge together is breathtaking and my camera is constantly clicking. A good twenty minutes later, I alight at Manly and make my way slowly through the Sunday market. Though there are lots of amazing little purchases, I decide to resist temptation.
As I come to the end of the market, a little cafe catches my eye. They have a big brekkie deal and my tummy tells me that it will be my next stop. Almost instantly, I am having a veggie brekkie brunch and feeling suitably satisfied. Once replete, I take the short stroll to the beachfront, where I see so many people munching on ice cream, that my tummy once again makes a request. I indulge in a double scoop with cream and sit on the beach watching the world go by. Manly on Sunday in unsurprisingly busy, yet the beach seems far from manic. I finish my ice cream and take a stroll along the shore, before checking the time and deciding to venture back to the CBD.
On the way I see signs for the Manly Gallery and am tempted in for a peak. The gallery is small but sweet, which a fascinating, diverse collection. I notice the time and realise if I don’t run, I will have to fill another 30 minutes before the next ferry. I leave the gallery and just make the connection. I decide to stop by the Opera House and pick up my tickets for Faustus that evening, before taking a stroll through the Botanic Gardens. The Botanic Gardens are immense. Their sheer size is impressive, but it is the range of wildlife that inhabits this city centre-based garden is impressive.
Though the birds capture everyone else’s attention, I am entranced by the beautiful bats. I have noted in my travels that the bats in Australia are distinctly larger than the bats back home in Birmingham, but these uninhibited creatures come so close that you can really see their size. My fascination with the bats lasts longer than I had imagined it would and I find myself running again – this time for the Sydney Opera House. Luckily it is not far and before I know it I am seated ready for the show to start. Faustus blows me away.
It is a fusion of satisfaction at having seen the inside of the Sydney Opera House and the stellar production I have witnessed. It is still early as I head back into the harbour and I decide to try to take some pictures of the harbour at night, before taking a stroll through the rocks. I spot Lady Gaga checking in at her hotel on my walk back to my hostel, the swathes of fans crowding around the entrance is astounding. I stop to buy a pizza, which I take back to the hostel and devour before sleep.