Tuesday, June 04, 2013

And finally: Sydney

Sydney. A few years ago when I first contemplated a trip to Australia, Judy Wilkenfeld told me that it would be a shame to visit Australia and not come to Sydney. With this advice in mind, I scheduled an extra day to see as much as I could of the city. She was right and it was glorious.

I arrived the night before and drove into Newtown where I'd be staying at the Billabong Gardens Hostel. Tracy Verdugo directed me to this place which was in a fun, hip, graffiti strewn area not too far from the airport. Alternative and happening. I shot pictures left and right as I negotiated the traffic coming into town.

There was so much to see.

For example, these little houses and their fanciful names: Lilac, Aster, Lily and Rose.

The streets in Newtown are old and narrow. Supposedly one way but people driving as they pleased. Corners that were difficult to turn. All the parking was permit only. No place for me to park my car and the little streets leading me around in circles. I was at my wit's end when a neighborhood lady, hearing of my distress, let me park in her tiny driveway overnight. Thank you, nameless stranger. My first angel.

So I set out with 2 bags to walk to my hostel but immediately lost my way in the narrow streets. On foot. With no GPS, no map. Asked some mothers with babies in strollers where my street was. They looked up a map on their iphones and showed me exactly where I was. (Going in the wrong direction!)

 Thank you nameless angels #2. My hands were exhausted and I was winded from pulling the suitcases; tired and really in need of a sit down. You were my lighthouses on a stormy sea.

So directed, I settled into my quiet and private room for the night and made a sketch of my bathroom sink. The place was delightfully funky but really clean and there was instant coffee, tea, and real cream which was quite welcome the next morning. It's amazing how a little means a lot when it's all you have.

My sketch of the bathroom sink.

The next morning Judy Judy Judy showed up right on time to whirl me around the city.

 How can I properly introduce you to this woman who wears so many hats?
She an artist who teaches and writes Visual Anthologies, is a history researcher, an ambassador of goodwill, a great mother, storyteller and world traveller.

She has a ballet slipper under a bell jar in her studio that opened a door in my imagination to a fairytale world of Russian ballerinas and a dancing grandfather who emigrated to Sydney from Lithuania. Who made ballet slippers, is there anything more enchanting?

There is also another world in her history too, a dark place where a grandmother, aunt and uncle disappeared in a concentration camp in Poland. Judy's work includes restoring the histories to other families who've lost members during that dark time. She travels and researches. She gives people back the histories that were taken from them.

This kind and admirable woman.  

The first place she took me to was The Rocks where the first English convicts landed in 1788 and started the town of Sydney. That's the Harbor Bridge behind me.

Those rows of sandstone buildings behind that vessel were possibly dens of iniquity at some time in their history.  

Turn in the other direction and you're looking right at the Sydney Opera House. Every New Years Eve I like to watch the fireworks going off in the harbor over the Opera House. That's what I always think of when I picture Sydney.

Judy wanted to give me a closer look at the Opera House. That guard in the bright green vest is to turn anyone away from doing that.

But Judy knew how to get closer and I was able to see the tiles on the roofs that cover those arching shapes. It was magnificent.

My life is complete.

We walked around the historic area and explored a bit.

The old doors are very short and some quite narrow. The people were smaller then.

This sandstone sculpture stands in the middle of one of the streets.

I loved the colors on the building above. And the design of the detailing. Of course we had to stop for refreshment.

Smoko = morning tea.

Here are some of the little shops with tiny rooms and narrow, low doorways. The iron lacework over the balconies are typical.

A big, iron letter box. I'm evidently mailing my fingers. 

And here burns one of the gas lights that used to be lit each night by watchmen. Imagine the streets darkened and filled with seamen and other scurvy types. It was a different world than the clean, beautiful neighborhood we visited.

Just standing in the doorway. By my lucky number.

The Queen Victoria Building.

I liked the honeycomb pattern on this portico.

Judy had to stand in the street and risk her life to get this shot. The reason the sign is here is because during the Olympics people from countries like the U.S. were looking the wrong way before stepping out into oncoming traffic. 

How long has it been since you've seen a phone booth? Very English.

St. Mary's Catholic cathedral.

This was a sculpture made out of traffic cones. Pretty cool.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales which is right across from Hyde Park.

Date palms with ferns growing out of the trunks. Loved this.

Oh, I'm getting rummy from so much time on this post. After a great Chinese lunch in Newtown it was time for me to head to the airport so Judy and I parted with a happy hug.

Here are the Judys all Photoshopped up. Ms. Wilkenfeld doesn't need it but I do - lol.

Thank you, Judy, for an unforgettable day in Sydney. It was everything I'd hoped it would be.

Only two photos left in the camera then. 

Both taken at the Waikiki Airport where I stopped in mid-Pacific to change planes.

And on to home.

And thus ends the great Australian adventure. Love and thank you to Jacky, Ro, Trish, Tracy, Judy and all the un-named angels including my guardian angel that made my trip safe and excellent. Soon we'll return to the regular programming.



katie said...

Thank you for sharing your Austrailian journey here with us Judy - I delighted in your tour! xo

Karen Cole said...

Your face and words are filled with so much joy. So happy your trip to "down under", left you up, up, up!

carlanda brown williamson said...

thank you for this wonderful vicarious journey with you. xo

Parabolic Muse said...

Oh, wow.
Just awesome.
and you are the awesomest part!!

Jacky said...

I love Sydney, the Rocks...but yes, so easy to get lost! You were so adventurous staying at the Billabong your sketch of the bathroom. You fitted in so much. Must be nice to be home again for a relax. I'm sure John is enjoying having you home again....but we miss you!

Jacky xox

Kathy said...

Oh Judy, I enjoyed this so much. No matter what you say, I think you are a brave girl, indeed! Thank you for sharing.

patti said...

Love that you loved Sydney Judy! Thanks for the tour of my own city! Glad too, that you made the space for it in you trip.

Susan said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful travelogue. What wonderful memories!

Bren Graham Thebeau said...

I've so enjoyed seeing Australia through your eyes, thank you for sharing she an amazing place/peoples with us

Gigi said...

Thanks for sharing your adventures! And the sketch of your hotel bathroom sink. (bathroom sink!)

huntla1 said...

Thank you so much for sharing you Australian adventure in such detail. I loved all of your photos and wished I was with you all along the way. There was only one thing I was a little disappointed in. I have looked and waited because I was sure that it was me you were mailing your fingers to. Seriously, who else could you have sent them too? But, alas, you found someone else because they have not arrived her. Disappointment. But on a happier note, only a few short weeks and we are at Encausticamp. I am both, excited and terrified about the trip. Duane won't be coming so that means I don't have my best supporter. I will manage fine, but I don't do it often so it frightens me just a little. Looking forward to seeing you. Hugs!

Lynn Cohen said...

Again, I loved traveling with you vicariously! What beauty saw, what exeriences you had! And Judy Judy Judy with Judy is such icing on the cake!

Any idea the name of the tall ship you photographed twice? My DH would love to know that.


jinxxxygirl said...

Judy Judy Judy! You won!!!Send me your snail mail addy and i will get the 'feather card' in the mail to you!

nuleaf at comcast dot net

Leslie said...

Wow! What a great trip! I'd have loved to have been there with you two!

Seth said...

Thanks a million times over for taking us along with you on this adventure down under. What an experience. And a double dose of Judys! In Sydney! Does it get better than that?!?!?

somepinkflowers said...

{{ just me
again back for another Tour
your smiling face
love love
your sketch
of the BATHROOM ...

life is grand
when anything
& everything is ART !! }}

Angi in hana said...

Never wanted to go to sydney until now! Tx for sharing! Aloha, angi in hana