Sydney, for me, was colour, everywhere I turned there was a delightful shade of soft peach or a glistening blue. The houses were painted in warm oranges, pinks and reds; emphasised by the baking heat and the bright sunshine. Yet the city’s harbour location was ever present with the vivid turquoise sea lying under the endless blue sky, both dotted white with sailing boats and whisps of clouds.
My stay in Sydney began in the most perfect way: a visit to the opera. I stepped inside the iconic shell-like structure, as if being swallowed up by a giant clam as the daylight sky gave way to night. I saw The Merry Widow, which was brilliant although I had to fight off my jet lag as I focused on the glamorous costumes.
I walked around the botanical gardens where there was a large living wall floral display: hundreds of plants clung to the vertical surface, spelling out the word ‘Pollination’, which was the theme of the exhibit. Among the leaves I came across the most psychedelic of plants, it had deep green leaves with splotches of neon pink. The plant manages to sum up Australia with its stunning beauty but also the aspect of danger which lies in its deadly wildlife.
A visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art, situated by the Circular Quay and just across from the Sydney Opera House, revealed the tensions involved in the Australian Identity. Wall hangings display sayings and slang, portraying the everyday life of many Australians, but other artworks address the issues of colonisation and the rights of the Indidenous population. It was a treat for the eyes but also food for the mind.
The highlight of my visit to Sydney was a swim in the MacCallum Pool. Despite the murky water (it was very green in the depper areas and thin layer of slime covered the bottom) it was a wonderful to take part in something so everyday and swim alongside the locals opposite a view which is known the world over.
Next stop: The Southern Highlands