No koala sitings. No kangaroo trekking. No snorkeling or endless reading on sandy beaches, nope! Following months on end of jam-packed schedules (work and children) my better half and I were in neither an overly active nor overly restful state of mind. Unable to completely pull away from our creative endeavors, we found ourselves in a "loungey-city" mood for lack of a better word, and indulged it by weaving our way through Sydney and Melbourne along whichever street happened to strike our fancy, some hidden, some not. And it was just puuurrrrrfect.
Australia is the sixth continent I am fortunate enough to have visited and it is easy to fall in love. I knew that the Opera House was beautiful, that the feel, much like Southern Calfornia, would be relaxed, that the weather was temperate, that they drove on the left, and that kangaroos were largely considered pests. Ah, but there is so much more to the land down under.
1. The Aussies know how to make a good cup of coffee.
“Two what?” I ask puzzled on the heels of Bernordo’s “two flat whites please.” He correctly states that I will love what he just ordered: a perfect cross between a cappuccino and a latte. Served up with a smile, the flat white never disappoints. Not with the taste. Not with the presentation. And there are popups everywhere.
2. The Sydney Opera House is not just beautiful, it is exquisite.
Sure, we have all seen photos of the giant building reminiscent of white sails, but believe me when I say they are, well, just photos. The magnificence of the structure is impossible to portray for three reasons:
- Every view is a surprise in a Forest Gump box of chocolates sort of way. One minute you are touching a sun scorched curved surface, and the next you are on the floor trying to capture the perfect shot. After you've clicked a hundred times you take it all in again with selfish eyes that share the glory with none other than your own swooning heart.
- The beauty is in equal parts structure and setting. With the imposing Harbour Bridge in view, the Opera House stands in all its glory and is arguably as stunning when viewed from the water, where an intimate outdoor concert venue and amusement park remind us that there is no backdrop quite as enchanting as the sea.
- It’s Day and Night. Literally. You will become so entranced by the natural and man-made beauty on your first stroll, you’ll want to return at night. We choose to enjoy the "set changes" offered by the vanishing sunlight as night fell. The entire scene, beautifully enhanced by lights on the glistening surface and above, deemed us grateful for having been able to witness such veritable beauty.
And that was just the beginning. The highlight of our trip was enjoying Madama Butterfly in its penultimate night with Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura whose powerfully emotional portrayal of Cio Cio San brought me to tears. Our preordered interval drinks were served up with breathtaking views of the Harbour. We exited the theatre to a grand finale of fireworks making our romantic evening rival any other on Earth.
Stay tuned for Six things I discovered about Australia (and a few things I already knew) - Part II for the last four discoveries.