Tag Archives: Australia

Oz trip — Botanical Gardens

We finally reached the Opera house and I groaned seeing the zillion steps for the first time. It was not so bad because of the cool breeze. It was a hot day but not humid and the cool breeze enticed you to drop things and fall asleep on the steps. No, we did not do tht but it was close ūüôā This snap is a good example of how difficult it is to take snaps in this tourist-crowded place. But, it was fun as well. You can see the guy in a white shirt posing for someone’s camera.¬†

Most ppl were seated at the steps and we decided to do tht as well. A family with a bunch of kids were having a snack. All of a sudden we realized that the number of silvergulls shot up. Soon the kids were tossing crumbs and the birds were enjoying the crumbs and fighting for them. We enjoyed the way the birds jumped and fought for the crumbs. Soon the snacks were finished but the gulls did not understand or chose not to. They started inching closer. The mother shooed the gulls away but they did not go away. The gulls were sure that there was more to be had even when there was not. We left just as the fight got serious. One of the kids started screaming and the family moved away. The gulls left immediately.

We went inside the opera house but because we were not watching any play or buying any tickets, we did not stay long. The Arien was busy shooting pics of the Harbour bridge from the Opera house. I felt we were getting good exercise. Back home, both of us have sedentary jobs and though the Arien manages an hour of gymming, I do nothing. We were both quite tired after the walk and we were yet to visit the Botanical Gardens.

As soon as we reached the Botanical garden, the Arien shot more snaps. He was taking pictures of a sailboat and trees. The place reminded me a lot of the Botanical gardens in Ooty.  But, the place was very clean. There were a lot of families having picnics at the botanical gardens. It was a very nice and calm place. We also noticed 3 fitness-crazy ppl. 2 guys and a gal, dressed in black. They were doing a bit of running, push-ups, spot-jumping, followed by running. It was scary. The gal was able to keep up with the guys. Impressive! 

There were a lot of birds as well which was very surprising for us. The Arien went a lil crazy with the bird snaps. It is so difficult to get a great picture of any bird. We noticed a bird, which looked a lot like a parrot, but was not a parrot. The arien informed me that it was a white cockatoo.¬†Its actually the sulphur-crested cockatoo. Hmmm.. I have learnt a lot ’bout¬†wildlife from the Arien.¬†

There was a boy, another tourist, I presume, who was feeding the cockatoo. The Arien shot a zillion shots of which a few are good. Just when you had everything angled for a good shot, the cockatoo would turn its head away from you and you would have a funny snap. These are a few of the good ones.

I got a bit bored, to be honest. The Arien took forever to take those snaps. And the birds would simply not smile, I mean,¬†look at the camera.¬†You get the picture, rite¬†ūüôā

And then we saw the¬†cormorant australian wood duck swimming in the small pond. The Arien of course, knew the name. I had no clue. I thought¬†the bird¬†resembled a duck ūüôā She happily posed for the pics and the Arien was able to get a neat pic.¬†

We noticed a chick sunbathing and in my extreme ignorance asked if it was the duckling. The Arien told me that the chick was a purple swamphen. We saw the mom walking nearby – not pretty at all.¬†I was sure this chick could not possibly belong to the swamphen but¬†of course¬†-I was proven wrong.¬†¬†It is not good to have this bet with the Arien. I always lose. So, we had caught sight of the silvergull, the cockatoo,¬†the cormorant australian wood duck, and the purple swamphen — on one sunny day wen we visited the Botanical gardens. And we were not that into bird watching… wooohooo!! This improved the Arien’s mood. From starting off with a cranky mood, he was now planning¬†which ones¬†to share.¬†The credit goes to Botanical Gardens for totally distracting the Arien and keeping him in good temper.¬†

The Arien also shot pictures of the Opera house from the Botanical Gardens. You can see the Opera house and a bit of the Harbour Bridge as well. It was a good shot. He was pretty impressed with that shot as it captured both.

The last shot for the day was an upside down tree which looked very pretty that the Arien was least interested in. It was fenced in РI think to prevent folks from climbing on it and marring its beauty.  The Arien was quite surprised that the picture looked nice. We decided to leave after taking that snap. It had been a good day, relaxing. It also provided us an amazing photo-op which we took full advantage of. 

We returned to our room re-charged – having thoroughly enjoyed the respite.

Short and Tense Holiday in Oz — Opera House and Harbour Bridge

If the years of unplanned holidays has taught us anything, it is that we are always ready to leave¬†at a moment’s notice. However, travelling by car to the nearest holiday destination is one thing but travelling out of the country to provide solace to a close relative¬†is entirely different.¬†And we realized that soon enough.¬†The trip was anything but a holiday but we were together and we were not working.¬† To most ppl, that is a holiday!¬† Anyway, not being a typical holiday, we did not do our usual big-time touristy stuff. However, when I noticed¬†the Arien get all cranky after a week, I suggested a short trip to the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens.

We took the train as we were quite comfortable travelling in it. We had figured out the routes and found that it was a lot cheaper than hiring a taxi. The first thing we noticed when we stepped off the station was Hungry Jacks. Its a burger place that serves veggie burgers as well. When we first visited the place, I thought I had to order only the finger chips or french fries. It was a delight to know that they served veggie burgers as well. So after a quick lunch of burgers, we realized we were not in a mood to do anything but walk and laze the afternoon away. As we started walking towards the opera house, we saw the Australian aborigines. They had an entertainement routine and were inviting tourists to sit next to them and were open to being photographed. We spent some time staring as were most of the ppl and then moved on.

It was a warm, sunny day and we were quite surprised at the number of cafes that served food outside. I was quite suprised at the prices they were quoting Рhardly cheap! I also walked into a souvenier shop to buy smthng but it was quite expensive. Jes as we stepped out of the shop, we saw this cute pigeon or dove that was walking near the sidewalk, having a go at all the crumbs that had fallen from folks who were eating. It had such a proud air that the Arien stopped to take a picture. The Arien informed me later that it was a seagull and not really a pigeon. Somehow I had pictured seagulls as big birds and so I refused to believe him until I googled it later in the room. Well, he was right and wrong. It was a type of seagull known as the silvergull.

We continued walking as the Arien shot pictures of the place. It was such a lovely photo-op. For a few minutes we totally forgot everything but ourselves and enjoyed it.

The sydney harbour bridge looked lovely and the Arien took several shots before he got the shot that I am using as the banner. Because we were at a distance, we always ended up getting a part of the gigantic ship that was moored near the bridge whenever we tried to take a picture of the bridge. From the snap, you may not notice that there people who are atop the bridge.

That is one of key entertainments at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Its supposed to¬†be a 3 hour slow climb that¬†most folks can attempt but¬†from the reviews, most¬†folks consider it expensive. I would have loved to do it but we were not doing it this time. So, I did the next best thing. Took a picture of the folks who were going to climb the bridge.¬†Iassume that they were going to climb the bridge.¬†It was probably some¬†dress code ūüė¶

Anyway, we kept on walking. Australians are a friendly bunch. As the Arien took pics, an old couple asked us to stand together while the husband offered to take a¬†picture of us. I think we were zapped. I recovered first and¬†said Thank you. Our first snap together in Australia. Yeah!! That was so sweet!¬†Australians perform¬†these¬†random acts of kindness all the time.¬†When we first reached Australia, I was lugging¬†2 huge suitcases and a small one while the Arien was paying the taxi fare. Along comes¬†a¬†guy¬†and hefts the suitcases – all of them –¬†into the lift and asks me if I needed anything else.¬†My¬†mouth was open – ready to scream for help and I had difficulty saying “Thank you” but I managed it. The guy left with a smile. It was ob. to me that it was not a big deal for him. He saw that I needed help and he helped. I was left with a very pleasant feeling about Australians and once again after the photo, I was left with the pleasant feeling re-inforced.¬†

Moving on, at the far distance, we could make out the Luna Amusement park. You can just see the clown’s face and teeth at this distance. The Arien was not in a mood for the amusement park rides and neither was I.¬†We were happy to take¬†a snap of the place and moved on¬†towards the opera house. I know it sounds like the Opera house is a zillion miles from the station¬†but it is not. You¬†get so distracted by all that you see that it takes forever to reach the Opera House.¬†So, blame it on the distractions ūüôā

We were finally a lot closer to the opera house. Almost everyone who is going there is a tourist and so you will end up with¬†a snap of the place and a¬†tourist posing in another corner — it was a challenge to take a decent shot. The Arien did his best. In some pics, the tourists add life to the place as this one did.¬†The place¬†was crowded but not disorderly. We also visited the Botanical Gardens. More on that in another post.