Even though I was still adjusting to the new time zone, I managed to fill a day of sightseeing around Sydney. On the recommendation of my friend Cindy, I had breakfast at Bills in Darlinghurst. I sat at the communal table and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and some decadent banana ricotta pancakes.
After breakfast, I wandered through the jacaranda lined streets of Paddington, admiring the Victorian row homes until I reached Oxford Street at the Victoria Barracks. I followed Oxford Street, which is lined with shops housed in beautiful old buildings, and made my way to the Paddington Market, which is held every Saturday along Oxford Street. Vendors had tents full of clothes, artwork, jewelry and trinkets.
After wandering through the market, I boarded a bus that took me to the Circular Quay and made my way to the Rocks, one of the most historic neighborhoods in Sydney. The area is highly connected to Australia’s founding as a convict colony in 1788 and eventually developed a reputation for poverty and prostitution. In the 1970s, residents of the Rocks, including some descendants of the early settlers, successfully resisted further attempts to demolish historic buildings in the area. It is now a beautifully preserved area, popular with tourists. The Rocks Discovery Museum provides an excellent overview of the history of the area. The surviving historic buildings stand in contrast to the gleaming skyscrapers of downtown Sydney. There are a number of archaeological digs in the area and you can see an excavation in the lobby of a youth hostel.
The Rocks is also a good jumping off point for taking some snapshots of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I will return to this area in a couple days to do the BridgeClimb!
For the evening, Tim, his friend Sean and I dressed up as vampires and went to a Halloween party in Potts Point. The Aussies aren’t as into Halloween quite as much as Americans, but sometimes you’ll see Aussies walking around in costume or “fancy dress” as they say. Our wanderings that evening took us near infamous Kings Cross. You can easily spot Kings Cross by the Coca-Cola sign up on a hill. The area has had varied residents throughout its history: tycoons, bohemians, artists, writers, poets, journalists, gays, hotel proprietors, soldiers, junkies, and organized crime bosses. Presently, it still has elements of seediness and danger juxtaposed with wealth and style. Definitely a setting where you could find vampires!