Sunday, August 19, 2012

{Weekend fun}

Sydney Biennale, Cockatoo Island.

Taronga Zoo. 

George Street.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sydney Opera House Tour {and The Royal Australian Botanical Gardens}

Part of the unique structure of the Sydney Opera House roof

Today I took a tour of one of the most remarkable buildings in the world: The Sydney Opera House.  I've been to Sydney prior to moving here and was able to walk around the Opera House but never had I been inside. For me, just standing next to this building is amazing and I've always wanted to attend a show here ever since I was old enough to recognize the famous venue. I always thought the Opera House was so historical and imagined all the world famous operas, ballets and performances that have been held here.

I'll spare you the Wikipedia description but some interesting facts I learned today are-

-When New South Wales decided to build an Opera House a design competition was held and over 230 submissions from 23 countries were received. Danish architect Jorn Ultzon won. He moved over from Denmark to Sydney with his family to oversee the project of building the new Sydney Opera House.

-It was estimated that the completion of the Opera House would be done in 4 years; it took 14 years! Completed in 1973... not that old after all.

-Since the project took so long and there were many delays and budgets increases the new government that had recently been elected had to step in and take charge. They refused to continue to pay Ultzon and an Australian Architect team took over. They were not following Ultzon's original design plans so he resigned and he returned back to Denmark. He never returned to Australia to see the completed Opera House. I found this so disappointing after all of his hard work, dedication and the fact he had relocated his family and office over to Sydney for this project.

-In the late 90's, the Sydney Opera House Trust wanted to refurbish the lobby entrance of the Concert Hall and tried to reconcile with Ultzon for his input. He agreed (on his terms of course) and appointed his architect son to overlook this. To this day, any improvements or changes done to the Opera House have to go through his son. Even though Ultzon never got to walk inside his creation, at least a piece of history gets to stay in the family.

Beautiful architecture- this is a good example of Ultzon's style.

While on this tour we learned about the architecture, inside and out. It's truly a work of art. We were able to go inside the Opera Theatre, Drama Theatre and Concert Hall,  which only made me want to see a show there even more badly than I did before. We were strictly prohibited from taking any photos inside any of the theatre's so unfortunately I don't have any.

Inside the Opera Theatre we got a little glance of a rehearsal taking place for South Pacific which is on right now.  We were lucky because they closed this theatre off for any touring after our group went through so they could resume full rehearsal. Being in this theatre took me back to all those plays I saw growing up as we watched my good friend and Actress / Stunt Double in Hollywood- Monica, perform. So Monica, if you read this- come visit me so we can go see a play together; I know you out of anyone would appreciate this! I have tickets for November to see the Australian Ballet practice and do a mini-performnce with the Sydney Orchestra in this very theatre and can't wait.

I also got to go inside the Drama Theatre which has your basic theatre style seating but an interesting fact is that the bottom 2 rows of seating are under sea level. Each seat in this theatre is set up so that any seat you get, no mater who is sitting in front of you, there will be a good view of the stage. Good to know.

Lastly, the Concert Hall was the most spectacular. Seating over 2,000 people and having a cathedral roof, the 10,000+ pipe organ at the front was truly a sight to see. The only way to describe being in this Hall was magical. I have never really desired to go see the symphony or an orchestra play but hands down I am going at least once to experience being in this Concert Hall.

Every foyer in the Opera House has a view of the Sydney Harbour (left). The purple carpet of the Concert Hall foyer (right). 

Concert Hall Foyer

Oh ya, one last fact for you- the seats in all the theatre's are so comfortable! They are ergonomically correct, made by an Orthopedic Surgeon. The frames are made from Australian Birch and the cushions are made with Australian wool so they are breathable. Guess this makes sitting through a 4-hour opera more bearable?

Sydney Harbour Bridge. Picture taken standing right outside the Opera House steps. Can't wait to watch New Years Eve fireworks over this bridge!

The roof is made of ceramic tile in a Chevron pattern (a very popular pattern at the moment, I might add)

Another view of the unique structure

After the tour I walked through The Royal Australian Botanical Gardens which is right next to the Opera House. Mom: I thought of you. I know you would love to visit here and walk through this. Enjoy the pictures.

City view from the Botanical Gardens

Tropical Centre-Australian Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney

Anyway, I didn't mean to write this much but the tour was great and I'm glad I went. Kevin's in NZ for work this week and I just wish he was there to join me but I'll totally go again. I'm sure I'll learn something new the next time I go. 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's a small world...and other fun news

In many aspects it's always exciting but sometimes challenging moving to a new place. At this point we've pretty much got the routine down: find a place to live, wait for our stuff to arrive from overseas, unpack and settle in, start your everyday routine. Leaving all the comforts of your last home and making new friends just come with the territory. So my long-time friend Shannon- who I've known since I was 14 years old, lived in Switzerland for about 4-years (I think!) working as an accountant. She knows how it is trying to adjust to living abroad so she kindly emailed her friend Kim, whom she met and became good friends with in Switzerland. She had me on copy and gave the two of us an introduction. Kim is from Sydney and has since moved back here so Kim and I got to meet for lunch in Manly Beach on Thursday! It was fun to meet her as we have a lot in common so- thanks Shannon! Oh ya, Shannon also happens to now live in Walla Walla where Kevin's family resides. I promised Shannon we would finally get together this September when Kevin and I are back there to visit.

Key West, Florida, Amy, Shannon, Mile 0 sign, vacation, wedding
In Key West Florida for the Mariani wedding, 2007 {Shannon (left), Godzilla aka-Amy (right)}

The next day Kevin and I signed a lease on an apartment! YAY! We were so excited to know that this weekend we didn't have to attend a bunch of open houses. We were hoping to find a house but this apartment will do for now. It seems like a pretty nice complex with a pool, tennis court, a gym AND it's a 10-minute walk to work for Kevin. BONUS! The lease is for 6-months so as we get to know Sydney a little better we may decide to look for another place but who knows... we may end up staying put. Only time will tell. 
Hope everyone has a good weekend. 

Amy and Kevin

Sunday, August 5, 2012

These boots are NOT made for walking

Hello friends and family! As most of you know we've made it to Sydney safe and sound. We are temporarily staying in a serviced apartment for 30-days until we can find a place to live. We've been here for 1-week so far and during that time Kevin has had to fly to California and was on the ground for 38 hours before heading back to Sydney. It's nice to have him here for a while before his next trip for work. Since we've been here, we have been looking and looking.... and looking for places to live and it's not an easy job. The rental market here is very slim and of course not knowing the area very well makes it difficult as well. We also don't have a car yet so we have been doing SO much walking! Some of you saw my Facebook post the other day where I said that we had walked about 3.5 miles from our apartment to downtown Sydney to meet some friends for dinner. I put on a pair of boots that I thought would be comfortable to walk in but by the time we got to dinner "my dogs were barkin"! I see a cute pair of ballet flats in my near future.

The weather has been so beautiful-lot's of sunny skies and today in particular was very warm so we decided to take advantage of this and get outside; we did the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk (6k's). Enjoy the pictures of an Australian winter.

Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach, Coastal Walk, beach, sun, beautiful, sunny, warm, clear water
Some scenes from the beach today {look at that clear water!}

A pool next to the sea {pool party anyone?}


A very old seaside graveyard

Amy and Kevin