Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Year's Eve in Sydney!

We had a German lunch of sausages and beer here.
We are back in Sydney again. This time was planned as we decided back in September that being in Sydney for the New Year's Eve fireworks would be a once in a lifetime experience for us. Being rather cautious sailors, we decided not to join the chaos in the harbor and left the boat in Pittwater. The hotels make you buy the NYE package and pay in full when you make your reservation. Let me just say that this is the most expensive Holiday Inn room we have ever had - and it is nothing special.

Interesting mix of architecture in Sydney.
The Sydney NYE event makes it special and so the high room rates. And if you want a dinner, they start at abut $150 per person and go from there. Some have fireworks tickets included. We don't need tickets because we go up to the pool deck on the roof for a barbeque and drinks. The view is perfect as we are between the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. There are eight barges in the river so there will be fireworks the full length as far as you can see in either direction. Oh, yes, our room came with a bottle of champagne and chocolates decorated with fireworks paintings.

Inside the Queen Victoria Building
Since the room packages are for three nights, we came in on the bus on the 30th and will leave on January 2, 2016! (How did it get to be 2016 so soon?) Our time has been happily spent sightseeing and enjoying this fabulous city. It is filled with people and great places to eat. There are beautiful gardens and, of course, the waterfront to enjoy. We saw the Queen Victoria Building that has been repurposed into a vertical shopping mall. The Museum of Contemporary Art was fun.

Old and new tastefully integrated within the city.

Martin Place near the Royal Botanical Garden

When we retuned to the hotel from our explorations on the 31st,, we had to show our room key to get in the door. Only registered guests and no friends are admitted. There is no jamming extra people into your room or on the rooftop for the celebration. Hotel guest only. I like that plan.

If you rub this boar's nose, you should have good fortune!

We have friends out in the harbor on their boats and others down on the street in the crowds, but we can see it all from our room! Nice. But, of course, we will go up to the roof!

In the Royal Botanical Garden
There are so many places to walk to in the downtown area. It is a little like San Francisco with the hills and mixture of old Victorian buildings mixed in with the variety of modern structures.

And there are so many little shops as well as major stores. I wonder who supports all of them. We did visit a very exclusive pearl store and saw the most valuable pearls in the world. It is the Paspaley family business and the legend is as follows:

The crowds are arriving at Circular Quay
"One pearler emerged from the harsh early days of natural pearl diving to create a glittering future. As a refugee, the late Nicholas Paspaley MBE crossed the world’s oceans on a tramp steamer from a tiny island in Greece to reach his destiny on the remote northern coast of Australia, where rich pearl beds teemed with life and hidden treasures."

They farm pearls in pristine waters on the northwest coast of Australia. The water is the least polluted in all of the oceans and oysters make exquisite pearls. It is an amazing company that supplies most of the world's high-end pearls. I found a few beauties, but left them there for someone else.

Staking out their place for a good view of the fireworks
that are still ten hours away and it is hot!
I used the time between dinner and the 9 PM fireworks to upload photos and catch up on my blog. The early fireworks are for families; the real show is at midnight so we will be back up on the roof for those, too.

There was a lot of entertainment going on out on the water and on land to keep the crowd of about 1.5 million people occupied before and between shows. I heard they had added 1000 buses for the night to get people out of the city and back to the suburbs as no vehicles were allowed anywhere near the waterfront.

There was a light display on the bridge, a water gun fight between two tug boats, a show of airplanes, and a parade of lighted boats all over or on the water. While on land, there were musicians, mimes, jugglers, and a vast array of activities.

The crowds are filling the streets and enjoying drinks and signing. They have three more hours to go and I imagine they will be in fine shape by the time the big event sets off!

The whole waterfront on both sides of the river were lined with spectators for several miles on either side of the bridge. And the various bays were jammed with boats of every size and type. It will be interesting after the midnight show when they all try to raise anchor and head to their marinas! We will be finishing the chocolates and champagne and relaxing without their worries!

Here's to you: Happy New Year and Health and Success in 2016.

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