February 14, 2017
Sydney Opera House Tour, CMA, Barangaroo
The tour of Sydney Opera House did not disappoint. I learn lots of interesting tidbits that make it all fun. Did you know that they had a concert just for dogs on their outside concert area? Yup, they made music that was only audible to k-9s. The pups sat and listened to the concerts as their owners sat in the quiet for the concert to end. How weirdly funny is that?
Another fun fact allows me to show off a recent travel experience of my own. The architect of the opera house, Danish Utzon Jorn, was very familiar with Kronbourg Castle, in Denmark. My beloved and I visited this castle only last fall. The tour guide said that the site for the opera house reminded Jorn of his Kronbourg Castle. He based his design for the opera house on the properties of Kronbourg which he admired. I could see that!
The architect’s father was a ship designer, that also influenced Jorn’s design. Most people identify the white shells as sails, but also the large interior windows of the opera house are mounted as they are in ships, slanted at an angle. During the evenings, there is no reflection from the inside, only views of the harbor lights on the outside.
The exterior is covered with tiles, most are an off-white, but the exterior segments are outlined with beige. There are also gloss, but also matte tiles. This is to allow it to glow, but to not look too harsh. These are the funny little facts that I forget, but maybe will come to the surface should Alex Trebec ask.
Jorn had a real time of it with the opera house. It was way, way over budget, took many, many more years than anticipated. He was blamed. He resigned. It was completed without him and he never returned to Australia to see it completed. The bitter sweet ending is that years after it was completed, he was asked to design more parts to it, including an interior that is really breathtaking. He was in his eighties then and didn’t journey to Sydney, but he did get the recognition that he was due.
As we tour the opera house, the cloudy skies break open and sheets of water flood off the building. It was an interesting perspective.
Rain, meh…what to do? The CMA (Again, initials!) Contemporary Museum of Art is an interesting way to explore Sydney from inside. It is very close to the opera house and we duck in. Some exhibits are very moving, or disturbing, some are stupid. I do try to better understand modern art, I took a couple of years of art history in college, toured Europe with an art professor. I adore most types of art, but modern….It isn’t like I haven’t tried? One exhibit was an electrical plug on a wall and a power strip. Another exhibit was a video presentation of three women dressed like clowns who repeated the same deep questions, “What shall I say?”, “What shall I do?” There was an exhibit of an old concrete sink.
I went into the ladies room, which was pretty cool, by the way. A museum guide was standing in there with a clipboard. I swear to you, my first thought was that this was an exhibit and I’d be in huge trouble for using the potty! Thank god, I heard a flush, a woman came out and the museum guide went in! Phew! (I am so not cool, apologies to my adored daughter, who is an artist.)
The sun comes out and we head to Darling Harbor. How great a name? It is far from “darling”, it’s a massive area of modern hotels, condos, and entertainment. We encounter a very long line for the aquarium, with many, many sunburned cranky children. Barry and I decide…you got it….a cocktail would be nicer. The Cargo Bar offers up some refreshing distraction from the now hot sun and tourists (Yes, I know that we are tourists…)
Walking back toward The Lord Nelson, we explore the Barangaroo area. This area got just a little mention in our tour books, so we were were mightily surprised by this newly developed area the day before when we spied one end from our hotel. Barangaroo also has modern buildings, but also a really unique park with native grasses and huge monolithic rock features. It is the anti English park, so different from the Royal Botanical Gardens or Hyde Park. It’s waterfront is modern and hip. The whole planted park is the roof of the future Barangaroo transit station!
We ate at a BBQ place, nothing says “Be may Valentine” like a hunk of ribs. We fell into bed with 10.18 miles on Fitbit.