On Top of the Bottom of the World

day zero project, Sydney

Blogland, it is long overdue that I tell you the tale of the Sydney Harbour Bridge day.

A couple weeks ago, I met up with a fellow expat blogger for a getting-to-know-you-getting-to-know-all-about-if-we-like-each-other-in-real-life coffee date in The Rocks. Coffee (and almond croissant, and lemon tarte, and also conversation) went swimmingly, so we decided to continue Bloggers Loose in the City Day with a blog-worthy excursion to the Sydney Harbour Bridge (yes, I do believe that we both went into it thinking, “Oh good! I can blog about this!”).

I’m a bridge lover. When I was in grad school, I had a more than mild obsession with the Brooklyn Bridge and all the stories surrounding it. And, I had the great experience of living in Sarasota when they were building the beautiful Ringling Causeway, which Partner-in-Crime and I got in the habit of walking over most every weekend. It was almost too mind blowing to watch barges with literally tons of material arrive in the middle of the harbor and somehow become a bridge. The mechanics of bridge making both terrifies and amazes me.
Some people get transfixed by the lore of of trains. I like bridges.
My favorite impression of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, prior to coming to Australia, was the image of Phillipe Petit (best known as The Man on Wire Guy) crossing it on his tightrope.
Well, now that I’m in Sydney, it is far and away time for me to make my own – rather less dramatic, I’d say – memories of The Old Coathanger.
We opted to visit the bridge from the Pylon Lookout, a museum that is literally in one of the pylons. College Friend had discovered it and suggested that it was worthy of the $9.50 entrance fee, primarily for the views.
The extorter ticket taker, suggested that we go to the top first, and then see the museum on the way down, but we did find ourselves rather disinclined (dis-inclined … get it? … hmmmkay) … to climb all those stairs at once. And, in fact, I’m glad we didn’t because the museum would have been anti-climactic ( … … get it? … … anyway). Still, it was a nice precursor, especially for a lover of bridge folklore. The first level featured some of the architectural models and details about the building of the bridge. Then, on the next level, there was more about the opening of the bridge.
This was a neat photo of the bridge opening that was blown up to occupy a whole wall in the museum.
The best story about the festivities is that of Francis de Groot, a member of a right-wing paramilitary group, who was angry about something or other and stormed the bridge on horseback during the opening reception. He slashed the ceremonial ribbon with his sword before the official ribbon cutting took place.
I also liked this cartoon that ran in the paper the day after the bridge opening, in recognition of the construction/celebration hangover the whole city had:
After perusing the memorabilia, we went out onto the observation deck, which allows visitors to walk around 360 degrees of the pylon. To the north, you see over the harbour to North Sydney:
To the west, you can see the city, and all the way to the Blue Mountains in the distance (sorry, doesn’t look like I snapped a good shot of that view. Just imagine the eucalyptus haze filling the air).
To the South, you see The Rocks and Circular Quay. Here’s the Circular Quay view with a ferry coming into port:
Just to the East, of course, is Bennelong Point and the money shot:
We live somewhere off there in the distance a ways, as well.
A couple more photos from the top of the bottom of the world:
Photobucket Bridge Climbers – more daring (and rich) than I was feeling.

Photobucket My artsy shot. We were lucky and had a truly gorgeous day.

After our descent, Fellow Blogger and I decided that we still liked each other, and that while we were there, we might as well walk across the bridge.

Look! We were there!:


From the middle of the bridge:


The walk across the bridge was rather easy, and we ended up in Kirribilli, where we found ourselves beholden to fish and chips (I’m finding myself beholden to fish and chips with surprising regularity, of late, but that certainly must be worthy of a future blog post). Finally, we made our way back to town by catching a ferry, which really must be considered the most worthy form of transportation that one can choose. I’ve decided that I need to find a job in North Sydney, just so that I can ride ferries daily.

And so, with that adventure undertaken, my personal love affair with my a new bridge begins. Bridge and I will be making more memories soon, when I run across it during the Sydney Running Festival later this month.

It’s just you and me, Bridge.

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