[Top left photo shows the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE nestled in the Sydney Harbour in all its majesty and splendor. Top right photo shows our hosts during our brief stay in Sydney: Mr. & Mrs. Steve and Arlene “Beth” Lever. Bottom photo shows my bonny and beautiful cousin, Beth Lever, in such an enticing “Marilyn-Monroeish” pose. Though it was my cousin Beth Lever and her husband Steve Lever who played hosts to us, it was my former Secretary Minnie Ferguson in the Philippines then, who incessantly promoted the amazing beauty of Australia particularly the Sydney Harbor in our non-ending chats via Facebook and when I met her in the flesh with her charming husband Colin Ferguson in Sydney. For which reason, I intend to write a BLOG about their wonderful amorous entanglement too.]

There always is a feeling of fascination when you come to a new place, a new scene, and new surroundings. When I first traveled  to Europe in 1999, I got so fascinated in my visit to Rome in all its grandeur. I was awed and astonished by the St. Peter’s Basilica most particularly the tedious work in putting up, piece-by-piece, the dainty mosaic tiles which has adorned its ceilings and Michelangelo’s paintings too at the Sistine Chapel. I was so exuberantly titillated by that tale about the Trevi Fountain; that if you throw a coin unto the fountain, you surely will return to Rome. Indeed, I returned to Rome in 2011.

The Taj Majal in Agra as well as the Golden Temple in Amritsar, both in India got me similarly awestruck; and in Algeria in North Africa (intrigued by the usual stereotyping of Algiers, which is Algeria’s capital as locale for many spy-thriller novels), the Basilica of Saint Augustine where the remains of St. Augustine for some time got interred (until it was transferred to Pavia, Italy) amazed me particularly its Carrera marble and its breathtaking stained glass. It is unfortunate however that the basilica located in Muslim-dominated Annaba, Algeria is not a church anymore, but is a mere museum. It was a revelation too, when I traveled to Algeria in 2009 that St. Augustine is actually an African.

But having gone recently to Australia, I got so fascinated  with Sydney most especially its famous Sydney Harbour.

Indeed, Sydney Harbour is regarded as one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world. With more than 240 kilometers of shoreline and meandering waterways, there really is an abundance of sights and sounds to explore, discover and behold.

In this first trip of mine to Sydney, I surely cannot but proclaim to all and sundry that Sydney has one of the most stupendous, and truly spectacular city! The Sydney Harbour and the Darling Harbour feature amazing sights and scenes especially with the reported regular dazzling firework display at exactly 9:00 pm on that cool and breezy Saturday evening. Upscale bars teeming with fashionably attired yuppies dot the fringes of the harbour both at the Cockle Bay Wharf and at the opposite border near the Sydney Opera House. The skyline in that evening was truly dazzling and colorful too.

Sydney Harbour is one big aquatic playground too for Sydneysiders, and surely as was told to me by my cousin-in-law, the suave and sociable Steve Lever; on a warm sunny day, the harbour is vibrant blue and is dotted with hundreds of sailing boats, cruise boats and ferries.

The vibrant hub of Sydney Harbour is the Circular Quay, a ferry terminal located on the edge of the Sydney city centre. Ferries leave throughout the day to different parts of the harbour, connecting the city with Sydney’s waterside suburbs. Circular Quay is also the major transport hub for water taxis, harbour cruises, buses, trains and taxis. Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art and historic Customs House are also located at the Circular Quay.

On the southern side of Circular Quay a walkway leads to the Sydney Opera House. On the northern side, a short walk takes you to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A climb to the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge would enable one to have a panoramic view of the whole Sydney city as far as the eye can see.

For a quick transport, one can catch a ferry to Darling Harbour and visit tourist destinations thereat: Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife Sydney Zoo, Cockle Wharf Bay and King Street Wharf. At the Pyrmont Bay Wharf, you will be close to the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Harbourside Shopping Centre.

Many special events are based on or around Sydney Harbour throughout the year. Some of the major events when the harbour comes alive are the Vivid Festival when the city’s buildings are illuminated each night. When we visited the Sydney Harbour, the Festival of Chocolates was ongoing, where various goodies and wares are being sold. It was indeed serendipitous that among the booths at that Festival of Chocolates was a booth of Filipino entrepreneurs selling both pork and chicken  barbecue on sticks and the queue of customers lining up to taste their products was so long. Steve, my cousin-in-law, who sports a PROUDLY PINOY shirt, posed with me beside the booth which pompously announced its signage as HOY PINOY! Perhaps, the reason why I felt greater fascination with this trip to Sydney was the convergence of events: the Festival of Chocolates which featured the HOY PINOY booth teeming with seemingly-famished customers lined up in a long queue hankering for a taste of the Pinoy barbecue and the dazzling fireworks display that night at the Sydney Harbour. Photos of those Pinoy entrepreneurs are featured below.

Another majestic scenery in Sydney is the BLUE Mountains located in Ketoomba. The BLUE Mountains got its name according to what I heard from the phenomenon that happens every day usually at near dusk, as the emanating vapors from the vast bunches of eucalyptus trees in the Jamison Valley (underneath the ECHO point, which serves as the viewing deck for one to behold the majesty of the Blue Mountains) would gradually turn the color of the mountains from green to BLUE. Anyway, even it is still not yet dusk,  the farthest mountain ranges from the observation deck at the ECHO Point actually would look BLUE already. Sydney is truly ENTICING, just like the enticing photo of my cousin, the BONNY and BEAUTIFUL BETH!

Aussie…Aussie…Oi, Oi, Oi……Cherrio, as I wish to return to Aussie too someday.

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