Thursday, March 3, 2011

Last Day in Sydney

Today was the big day for going on the Bridge Climb. I was going on the 10:35 climb so I had to leave the hotel around 10. I had what I thought was a pretty good breakfast since I knew it would be some time before I had the opportunity for lunch. I had used Google Maps to figure out where I was going, but unfortunately it failed to show that I had to go up a level to get to the correct street. I had to ask a local postman to direct me. The way the streets run in “The Rocks” is a little confusing. I checked in for my time slot and went to the waiting area where they were showing a video of what to expect. If nothing else, I can say that they are thorough. I met a young woman from San Francisco who was on holiday for a few weeks. We had a great time chatting and going through the readying process.
The "before" shot
We had to put on special jumpsuits (so very stylish!) and take off all jewelry, watches, basically anything that could drop from your person. We were given a cap which was clipped to our suit and a clip for our “sunnies”. We then had to get in the harness that would tether us to the bridge. I swear that thing must have weighed 10 pounds! We were strapped in and then finally given our radios and ear phones to hear the commentary as we went up. We even had to go through a simulator to make sure we were physically fit enough to go up the ladders. This whole process took about an hour and then it was time to head on out. There were 12 in our group – people from New Zealand, the UK and the Netherlands. In total the climb took just about 2 hours and was not for the faint of heart. The bridge is in the process of being repainted, but the most difficult task is removing the lead based paint. It costs about 17 million dollar a year to paint it. We also learned that there are 6 million hand driven rivets in the structure that took 6 years to build. We did have to navigate through some rather small areas and went up 5 ladders to get to the base of the arch. From there we took the many steps to get to the top where we had the most amazing view. 
On the way up
At the top
I was very happy that I waited until I was here to book my climb since the weather has been so changeable. I will say that there couldn’t have been a better day for it. We could see all the way out to where we entered on the ship, we could see Darling Harbour and the ANZAC bridge. The amusement park that we could see across the harbor was where the steel factory used to be. In total there were 16 men who died in the building of the bridge, many of whom fell to their death from up above. At the top we were 134 m above the water, or as our guide put it 5.4 seconds. We did some photos at the top – we weren’t allowed to take our cameras up, so they do them for you. All in all we climbed over 1400 stairs, talk about a work out! It was worth every penny and just an amazing experience. By the time we were down and unsuited it was almost 2 PM and I was starving. I went back to see how Mom was doing and had a bite of lunch. The great thing about our hotel is that it’s in such a great location, so Mom can see so much of the harbor and the city so she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out. We spent the afternoon trying to figure out the packing situation and I went to get a few souvenirs. We also sat out on the balcony for a while to take in the view for our one last sunset. Tonight we met Scott and Nicole for dinner at Quay. I met them back in September in Italy when I was in cooking school and the 3 of us bonded immediately. 
I miss them already!
They flew down from Brisbane for the evening so they could see us and have dinner. We had the best time – it was as though we were right back at the Villa sipping wine and sharing stories. Dinner was amazing! Evidently it is the top rated restaurant in all of Australia, and I can understand why. We did the 4 course dinner with everything from Mud Crab (sounds terrible, but is so good), to marron (cross between a crawfish and a prawn), then groper for the entrĂ©e (a type of reef fish – I thought it was grouper), and then a snow egg for dessert. 
Infamous Snow Egg
There is a story with the egg, but I won’t get into it now, just a photo. Of course we shut down the restaurant and it was 1 AM by the time we got back. It was just so great to see the both of them that I didn’t want the evening to end. When we returned we still had to face our luggage since we hope to check it through to LAX. Of course this meant trying to pack just what we need for Singapore in the carry on luggage. The long and short is that our bags are heavier now than on the trip over, but I think we figured it out. It’s well after 2 AM and we have to get up at 5 to get ourselves to the airport. Wow, hope I can sleep on the plane tomorrow. 
Just another beautiful shot
And at night


Anonymous said...

I would like to know what the snow egg is as I've never eaten one and it looks an unusual dessert. I've really enjoyed the blog as usual. I feel like I visited the places too. Safe journey home.

Beth said...

I know the bridge walk was amazing, you are much braver than I was as I did not attempt the bridge walk. I did not think I could overcome my fear of heights on that one. Sounds like you have had an amazing trip. Hope to talk to you when you get back to hear more.