Monday, September 22nd – Sydney – Day 1
We woke to blue skies and a huge harbor ahead. The Legend came to Australia to replace the Carnival Spirit, which is being moved to Alaska. The Legend, which is significantly larger than the Spirit, is making quite a splash in the Sydney news media. We waited at the mouth of the harbor for the local news helicopter to show. Once they did, we made our slow, cumbersome way into dock.
In Noumea, the Australian Girls Choir joined the ship. Now, at 6:00 o’clock in the morning, 2,500 passengers (give or take a few) and most of the crew lined the top decks waving Australian flags while the choir sang Australian favorites and the flag team performed a dramatic presentation of flags. We docked directly across from the Sydney Opera House — a spectacular view … and we were there for this historic moment. Even got to watch on local TV later that night.
Since our hotel check-in wasn’t until 2:00pm, we elected a relaxed debarkation and didn’t leave the ship until almost 10:00am. A short taxi drive later ($40.00 worth!) down George Street (Atlanta’s equivalent of Peachtree Street), we arrived at the Meriton Serviced Apartments. What a great bunch of people there!. Not only did they let us leave our bags, they made several suggestions about changing US Dollars to Aussie Dollars, a free bus, and the best places to eat in the area.
We set off on foot back along George Street, which runs in a north/south direction. Along the way, we found several money exchange places and converted some currency. We also found the green and white 555 bus that runs from the Circular Quay (pronounced kee) where the ship docked to Chinatown (near our hotel). Funny, the locals call it Thainatown because of the proliferation of Thai restaurants.
We rode the bus for a full loop, and then got off and walked several blocks to the east. Sydney is a hodgepodge of modern eclectic, historical protected building, and a cultural diversity that is impossible to explain. You really need to experience it for yourself.
Thoroughly wowed, we found our way back to the Meriton and settled into our room. Serviced apartments are similar to a hotel, but we think they’re better. Our quarters contained one small bedroom with king size bed, a closet (one side for hanging clothes, the other side with drawers for folded things), and a flat screen TV on the wall. We also had a living room area with a 48” flat screen, sofa, chair, small table with 2 chairs, an offset full kitchen area (full size fridge, cook top, toaster oven, electric kettle, and full complement of dishes), a desk area, and lovely bathroom with walk-in shower. Oh yes, mirrors everywhere!
Later, we ventured out again to sample one of the recommended Thai restaurants.