On Sunday morning, May 1st, we walked two blocks down Hunter St. to George St., Sydney’s main street, and then turned right and walked seven more blocks to Circular Quay. I have to admit our first impressions were slightly negative. First of all, we discovered that the quay is not circular at all but more like the shape of a “U.” Later I discovered that the original name was “semicircular quay” which is closer to its exact shape but I guess was too many syllables and so over the years the name was shortened to “circular.” But you can’t help but notice that an elevated motorway bisects most of the quay, hiding the view of the other side. It reminded me of the infamous Embarcadero Freeway back home in San Francisco which was torn down in 1991 after decades of protests that the monstrosity blocked everyone’s view. Then a big earthquake in 1989 severely damaged the freeway and it was closed down. After a week or so everyone noticed that there were no traffic problems whatsoever, thus eliminating the main argument from the freeway supporters that tearing down the freeway would cause gridlock.
Sydney’s version of our Embarcadero Freeway is called the Cahill Expressway and it includes a pedestrian walkway and a train station that overlooks the middle of the quay. A line of trees along Alfred Street partially hides the view of the expressway. And there are flowers and fountains and benches on an extended sidewalk. We had a small brunch at one of the many outdoor cafes on this side of the quay and then walked under the expressway to the other side and voila!
The quay is full of gardens and walkways and shops and twice an many cafes / restaurants on the water side of the expressway. Buskers galore were spread out every few yards sending out all kinds of music. And people everywhere were just walking around or sitting around listening to the music. Or looking at the view. And what a view!
Arguably the world’s most beautiful building built in the 20th century dominates Bennelong Point, the tip of a tiny peninsula on the right side of the quay. It’s called the Sydney Opera House and I took about a hundred pictures, most of which probably look just like those taken by millions of other tourists every year. But I managed to take a few shots in my own style, too.
Then I looked over to the left side of the quay past the Overseas Passenger Terminal and a section of the city known as The Rocks and there stood the city’s other piece of architectural splendor, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, known to locals as “The Coathanger.” So I took another hundred shots. In between these two architectural icons the quay serves as the city’s main ferry terminal and there are a variety of seacraft ranging from tall sailing ships to jetboats that are available for harbor cruises. There goes another hundred shots!
Don’t worry: I won’t show you all 300 photos — just some of my favorite shots I took that day.
A very pleasant way to spend a few hours on a sunny Sydney Sunday!