Monday, February 23, 2009



After a week or more of rain, Sydney’s weather is supposed to improve today. It is still overcast and rainy when we head to breakfast, but, by the time we are ready to start exploring, things look better with blue sky off in the distance.

We take a taxi up to QVB, the Queen Victoria Building. We walk over to the town Hall with its clock tower, finished in the 1880’s, and to St. Andrew’s Cathedral, built in 1819. The QVB is a beautiful Victorian building, built in the 1890’s as a produce market. It is five floors, two underground and three above with a copper dome and a glass ceiling. Carolyn is still looking for opals so after checking the directory we head to the top floor to a small one-man shop and, with the help of a delightful sales lady, walk out with five stones. They are a pair of boulder opals for earrings, two other really nice, irregular shaped, bolder opals, one with the blue colors and one with the reds, for pendants and a black opal that will match a pair of stones Dana got for Carolyn while she was teaching in Australia in 1995. The search and the wait were worth it.

While Carolyn shops for opals, Dick explores and finds a fountain pen shop with a gorgeous heavily decorated pen for only $9000AU, but he decides he can live without it for that price. We find a neat antique jewelry store with a great collection of Victorian things. Carolyn visits with the owner and finds that he has just found a Victorian Diary Locket in 18ct gold. The locket was made around 1900 by a famous Melbourne jeweler. It has all the proof marking and is very nice. Needless to say, we walk out with the locket and all the documentation on it. It is real piece of Australiana; a great find if you like that kind of stuff!

By the time we start our walk back to the Rocks and the hotel, it is after 2:00PM, the skies have cleared and the humidity has come out with a vengeance! We stop and check out another shopping area, The Strand, built in 1891. It is a shopping arcade filled with many little shops and cafes and is covered by glass roof. It reminds us of many such places in London and Paris. We also admire Martin Place. It opened in 1891 and is now a traffic free plaza with the beautiful Renaissance style Post office built in 1866. After cooling off and resting for awhile at the hotel,we head down to the end of the Rocks to Campbell’s Storehouses and an Italian place, The Italian Village, which has been recommended, for an early supper. As has happened several times on this trip so far, we are greeted with an Australian version of Italian which is akin to most cruise ship’s attempt at Tex-Mex! We won’t go hungry, but it definitely is not very good or worth the high price! The Steak dinner in the hotel last night was much better and almost half the price. It is still light when we finish so we walk around the area and take some pictures in the good light. Then we take a taxi back to the hotel and bed.

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