Friday, July 09, 2010

Sydney Trip part 1

Unlike usual travel posts I am trying to live-blog my Sydney trip so that I don't make a super big post at the end.

I have been in Sydney for 5 days now, my experience and liking for the city has increased drastically since when I arrived here. I guess the first day was dull because of the long haul flight from United which was a terrible idea (departed 1.5 hrs late, flying time 13.5 hrs and No internet/Personal entertainment system) and the second day the Jet Lag was showing its effect.





I arrived on Friday and fortunately the evening had a CouchSurfing meetup at a nearby hotel, Pyrmont Bridge Hotel for watching FIFA match of Brazil vs Netherlands (sad story Brazil had lost). Amid the match I went out to check the international Fifa Fan Fest stage nearby which was nice. Multiple projected displays along with one FIFA cup shaped one.

Saturday started late partly because of the late night Fifa match watching and may be because of fatigue. I decided to take a walk along the Darling Harbour which is pretty beautiful and a very popular hangout spot for all ages. The evening I walked on the Harbour bridge and realize you can't really get any good shot of the bridge from anywhere nearby unlike Golden Gate bridge. You would get the best shot from Circular Quay area.






On Sunday I started exploring city with the "MyMulti3" pass that I bought for 57$ allowing me unlimited travel in 60 KM radius around city center. I figured I was to head to Bondi Junction and turned out it was too close and I didn't have enough of train journey so I head towards Cronulla beach. Almost near Cronulla but not sure where I was, I figured I was better off going to Bondi Beach again for its famousness and so I did.




Bondi beach is pretty. There were lot of people on the beach but the weather didn't encourage so many of them to try the waters. There were few brave surfers in wet suits though. The waves seems pretty good for surfing but I better not comment on what I haven't tried. :)










I spent the evening going to Circular Quay area. Which definitely has some of the most beautiful views of the city specially in the night.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

New York Trip

I went to New York on the Memorial day weekend, where I was joined by Priyam on our 2-3 day exploration of the Big Apple. I had a great time and the delay in composing this post shouldn't give any wrong idea about the same.





I absolutely loved few things about the city which include the Public transport and the busy well lit streets of the downtown and all major tourist attractions. Besides the weather was pretty good at that time much more pleasant than San Francisco city (its pretty hot by now though.).



We took the New York city pass for 79$ as we liked everything in the pass and wanted to try doing as many things as possible.

The city has some amazing Museums. We spend one full day covering just about half of the Metropolitan museum of arts (MeT), which is definitely the biggest Museum in U.S. Turns out that Loovre in Paris is the among the biggest in the world but I spend a much shorter time most likely because I didn't understand much of Art etc. and didn't have company of someone who did, which in this case was Priyam.








My observation at the MeT was that for up to 19th century the complexity and intricacy (details) etc. in the paintings were increasing as time progressed and then came Modern Art.


In the evening we went to the Empire State building, the line for which took about 2 hours after getting in the building at sunset time. Definitely missed the sunset view and wondered if coming may be around 10-11 pm would have made it easier. The view was definitely great though view we had next day from "Top of the Rocks" tower was far better.



The next day was for American Museum of Natural History which had a Planetarium show. The show was okay but the Museum is again impressive. You can definitely spend as much time as you want seeing all the exhibits which include life size imitation of many biological species, Meteor rocks and lot of chemical compounds. They have pretty interesting coverage on evolution and movement of ppl around the world in early days.


After the museum we went to Wall Street and took a tour of the Island by ferry

In the evening we went to Top of the Rocks tower for the Panormic view which I felt was better than that from the Empire State Building probably because you can see the Empire state building itself from this view :). After we took a stroll on the famous Broadway street and the times Square area which makes you feel like you are in Vegas with its similar lighting and billboards along with big displays and tickers.

Next day Priyam went to see MoMa but I had already had enough of art Museums and I decided to visit whatever beach was possible by public transport, that turned out to be RockPort beach. The easy connectivity by the Metro train makes it a popular destination as was seen by the big number of people on the beach.

The water was pretty cold but unlike California there were people in the water. So I decided to try it out, a little girl who was swimming with her father told me how it would be easy after few minutes and it was indeed so. I would have spent next 1-2 hours in the water, when I was initially fearing to soak my knees.


What happened next was interesting. Suddenly at about 5 PM or so everybody started leaving the beach at once. I could figure it was something to do with safety on the beach in the evening so I followed everyone. We all walked to the station and were to figure out that the station was closed and there was "Police, do not cross" ribbon everywhere. Anxiety! Fortunately people and cops spoke English and I learnt that we were better off walking to next station which was about 10 or so blocks away as this station was closed under the fear of overcrowding and it was not easy to determine when it would re-open.


After about an hour or so of uncertainty we were finally on way back to the city. The train was as busy as the busies subways I have seen in multiple cities (though not close to Rio's new year rush at all) and this was a Sunday evening.

Once I was back in the city I rushed to the Brooklyn bridge a photo on/of which was required to complete the trip to New York. Thankfully the Sunset was at late as about 8:30 pm giving me enough time to take photos of the bridge before and after it.