A Super-Size Sidewalk Safari in Australia

I spent three weeks in Australia earlier this spring (a combination of work and vacation).  As always, I like to seize the opportunity to explore.  I've heard people say:  "Everything is bigger in Australia".  I found that sentiment to be especially true for my Sidewalk Safaris.  I had some time over the weekend to take a couple of massive walks.  The first, on Saturday afternoon, measured 8.6 miles.  This was especially impressive since I had arrived in Sydney that very morning after a 14 hour flight from San Francisco.  Walking was one of the only things I could do to keep myself awake.  Here's the route that I took.

View Saturday in Sydney in a larger map
I took the train from the airport to the St. James station and walked to my hotel in Darling Harbour.

Along the way, I saw some fine brick architecture in the heart of the city with old time advertisements gracing the side.
My hotel has a beautiful view of the Sydney Aquarium and harbour.
I found a cute breakfast place run by partners from Vienna and Holland near my hotel.  I frequented Waldemere's several times during my trip.  I appreciated the strong Flat White that they served me to fuel my day.
I also liked this collection of colored glass gracing the inside of the cafe.
I particularly liked how old and new were so easily juxtaposed in Sydney.
Sydney feels very familiar but very foreign at the same time.  I saw some really interesting birds with enormous black beaks in Hyde Park.
Hyde Park also featured some idyllic fountains.
I continued my serendipitous bird watching and caught a glimpse of a lone cockatoo ruling a nearby lamppost.
I was headed toward Paddington and decided to veer onto a more residential side street.  I was rewarded with this odd hobby horse staring down at me.
Throughout my walk, I noticed that the trees in Sydney have really interesting texture to their bark.

I stopped to rest for a moment and consult my map.  It was unseasonably warm in Sydney considering the time of year (April = Fall).

Crossing streets took some getting used to since traffic drives on the left.  My instinct was always to look the wrong way.
I found this awesome pastel arachnid on a square on the way to Paddington.
Chalk art and graffiti appear to be universal (I've certainly seen my share in San Francisco).  This was a lovely sentiment "I like you just the way you are...."
The colorful polka dots adorning World on Glenmore Rd. were astounding.
Some communication is best kept low-tech:  "Luke!  You are a landscaper from Paddington.  We kissed at Q Bar a few weeks ago, Where are you?"  I wonder if Kat was ever able to track him down...
I liked this sign for the local pharmacist -- Maddo the Chemist from Paddo.
I stopped into the Paddington Markets to do a little shoppinng.

I also chanced upon the Paddington Reservoir which was converted into a park and really neat.

Some of the houses had a bit of a New Orleans feel with all the intricate wrought iron on the balconies.
I continued from Paddington into Woollahra.
...and then to the entrance of Centennial Park.
I stopped in to see a free exhibit at the Australian Centre for Photography.
The jet lag was definitely starting to get to me, so I stopped at Ampersand Cafe Bookstore for a latte in the stacks.
As someone that walks a lot, I really like the neon signs depicting body-less legs at all the crosswalks in Sydney.
This triplet house near Woolloomooloo basked in the sun as I walked down this quiet pedestrian street.
I got a chuckle when I saw the sign for Bland St.  I imagine it's not as bad as it sounds.
I made it all the way to the Woolloomooloo dock.  Russell Crowe supposedly owns a place in the luxury apartment complex along the wharf.
Harry's Cafe de Wheels is a popular dockside destination for meat pies.
Australians seem to be pretty particular about rules.  I saw this sign along the dock at Woolloomooloo.

Here are a select few rules from the placard...

You Must Not

  • leave any item including rubbish on the Marina (that seems logical)
  • make noise or use offensive language (crap...)
  • Moor a derelict or unseaworthy vessel on your lot (I guess that's the equivalent of putting a car up on blocks on your lawn)
You Must

  • be adequately clothed (who determines how much clothing is adequate?)
I decided to extend my walk even further and head to the Royal Botanic Gardens.  I loved this sign (much less restrictive than the Marina Rules)...

"Please walk on the grass.  We also invite you to smell the roses, hug the trees, talk to the birds and picnic on the lawns".


There were definitely a lot of cockatoos in the vicinity.  They love to squawk!


I also saw this sad looking fellow.  Looks like he got himself a little roughed up somewhere...
There is a huge colony of bats (flying foxes) in the park.




The flowers in the Botanic Garden were spectacular.
I made my way to the exit gate of the park and got another chuckle...
"If you find yourself locked inside the Gardens, please call our Rangers who will let you out.  For your own safety, don't climb the fence."
I walked along the Harbour and took in beautiful views of Sydney's signature Opera House.
...and the iconic Harbour Bridge.
I could even see Luna Park on the North Shore.  Luna Park is modeled after it's namesake in Coney Island in New York City.
Exhausted from a full day's walk, I headed to Red Oak Beer Cafe for dinner.
They offered up an unusual pizza with rocket (arugula), pumpkin, chicken, and cinnamon.  Delicious!

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