Sydney is a beautiful city. Everywhere you look is picture perfect. The views from the harbors are stunning, the bridge is remarkable, and even the office buildings fit into the beauty of Sydney.
The weather is distinctly Southern Californian: bright blue skies and warm weather. They keep saying it is humid here, but compared to the humidity in Virginia or Washington, D.C., it is downright arid! A light breeze has been blowing over the water bringing just enough movement to the warm air and filtering through the towering glass of the Central Business District.
The people are also Southern Californian gorgeous. Men and woman of all ages are fit and tanned and stride purposefully around town. Most walk but some driving expensive sports cars like Ferraris and Maseratis.
Last night we went to the Opera House and saw the classic “The Barber of Seville.” The Opera House has no dress code and make most of their ticket sales the day of the show, so there was an eclectic mix of people in shorts and flip flops and people wearing expensive silks and tuxedos. From afar, the Opera House appears to be very light and its curves mimic the wings of seagulls as they dip in and out of the water. Up close the white appearance is from a series of diamond-shaped tiles set onto a heavy concrete structure. The various angular “domes” house a different theater or concert venue, each with impeccable acoustics. There was not a bad seat in the entire house, and every seat was taken.
The culture here is distinctly outdoorsy and most cafes open to one of the many harbors, docks or wharves to allow in the fresh air and light. The cuisine is good, although Melbourne still wins for diversity and sheer quantity of food options. There are American chains here such as Gap and Subway, but they do not overpower the local boutique shops or food options.
Sydney is distinctly more touristy then Melbourne and caters to both Australian tourists as well as international visitors. Shopping, particularly for souvenirs such as boomerangs and original Aboriginal artwork, is plentiful. Opals are the thing to buy in Australia and particularly in Sydney there is a huge variety of sizes and prices available. Bargaining is not common but in some shops, particularly if they are owned by new immigrants, the owners may be willing to negotiate on price.
Fashion in Sydney, surprisingly with all the vibrant hues of natural color, tends towards the neutral tones here with some patterns that are mostly Aboriginal in nature showing geometries in dots and lines.
Footwear for ladies is often flip-flops or sandals with a nod to the warm weather.
It is hard not to fall in love with Sydney. As in Melbourne, everyone is friendly, crime seems nonexistent, and the city is highly navigable with a mix of bus, train, monorail and ferry
services. The beaches are pristine and the overall vibe is very laid back.
It will be very difficult to leave!