Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sydney Harbor

You've seen the postcards, probably. We knew that Sydney was one of the world's great cities, but it's hard to describe how impressive it is. We met up with our Madison friend Peg and her kids, and walked to the Circular Quay (pronounced, we learned, "key"). To say it was breathtaking is a cliche, and also the understatement of the year (another cliche). It was packed.

Is there a more iconic modern structure in the world than the Sydney Opera House?

It's actually three separate buildings -- the opera house, a concert hall, and a smaller restaurant (and playhouse, I think). The initial design was by a Dane, Jorn Utzon (draw a diagnoal line through the O in Jorn to get the full effect), who said he got his inspriation while peeling an orange. The sails are parabolic solids carved out of spheres. It's definitely a "wow" building.

We had always figured that the white shells were metal - aluminum, perhaps. Nope: ceramic tile on what looks to be a concrete substrate.

Here's the other great Sydney structure: the Harbour Bridge. It too nine years to build, and is the second-longest single span bridge in the world. You can take a walking tour up and down the top. (photo credit Adam).


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