Antipodes – Welcome to Australia

We arrive in Sydney from Denpasar.

It’s winter here. Temperatures plunge to 10 degrees Celsius. We neglect the blog as we concentrate on finding a camper-van so we can head north, back into the warmth.

This turns out to be a challenge. We look at several vans, but the ones that fall in our price range have sky-high mileage (like three or four or five hundred thousand kilometers) and look unreliable. We find a rental at a reasonable rate and we leave Sydney in a few days.

It’s great to be back in a place where you can drink water out of a tap without becoming deathly ill. And they have sidewalks. Among other things.

We go to a dance performance at the Sydney Opera House.

Utzon’s Folly

When it’s sunny, it’s pleasant to walk.

Sydney, Circular Quay

After we sort out our transportation, we visit a few excellent museums.

Harbour Bridge

And more.

The quality of museums here is superb – much better than I remember from 1979. Australia is well over its ‘cultural cringe’ phase and is now duly celebrating its status as one of the best places to live on Earth (almost by accident, like Canada), and the twisty path it took to get here.

Hyde Park Barracks

We visit the excellent Art Gallery of New South Wales.

A gigantic chrome Captain Cook broods over Sydney Cove

This painting, by Elioth Gruner, has a magnetic effect on me. I’m not sure why. I can imagine myself in a former life, moustachio’d, in a stripey gentleman’s bathing costume, sitting in a beach chair. It’s a windy, sunny afternoon, 1915. I’m looking at the war news in my Sydney Morning Herald. I look up from the page when a young woman asks me directions to the tram stop. It’s a Zen moment I never forget.

‘Cheers, mate.’

Your mileage may vary.

Sight or Insight of the Day – Sydney