Today is a national holiday in Australia. It is ANZAC Day (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) which commemorates the involvement of Australia and New Zealand in World War I and all subsequent wars. It was on this day at dawn that the ANZAC tropes landed at Gallipoli in Turkey. There are going to be several ceremonies, a parade, etc but I am not sure yet if we are going to be a spectator to any event as it is schedule to rain today (I can't tell yet as it is still dark - 05:00). Yes, I did get up early again but this time it is not quite so early I guess I am getting better adjusted finally!! Well, we finally decided to leave the hotel and make our way downtown. Our plan was to take the ferry to Manly so we could get a good view/tour of the harbor but I changed my mind and decided to get off the subway and walk up to St. Mary's Cathedral to see the inside.
As we exited the subway the parade was going on so we decided to walk along the route for a bit and watch. We ended up watching the parade for almost two hours. It was really different from all other military parades I have seen . This one was truly dedicated to the veterans. Between groups of veterans there were high school bands but it was all about celebrating the veterans and their sacrifices.
It was a good change. Although Australia is a small country in number of inhabitants, they (and the Kiwis) have been involved in armed conflict all over the world and throughout the years. I was surprised to see they were in Vietnam for many years as well as other conflict areas in the recent past which, we in the USA, may not be aware of. I'm glad we changed our plans and made a stop there.
There was an issue with one of my memory cards so I needed to return to the hotel since I had no more memory for harbor pictures (we were only one stop on the subway away and bought a day pass for unlimited travel) and it was lunch time. Back at the hotel, I fixed the problem, we had lunch and headed out again this time straight to Sydney Harbour to catch the Manly ferry.
The sun had come out as we were riding the subway, so it really ended up being another great reason to have stopped to watch the parade!! The views of the Sydney Opera House are really nice from the middle of the harbor. Being a Sunday, there were a lot of sail boats out in the water and the wind was blowing quite a bit which made it great for them. It looked as if we were in the middle of a regatta at times!! We arrived at Manly Beach and turned right back around for the ferry ride back. I am sure we could have walked around town and the island but too much walking is not the best idea for Mom. The ride back was quite windy but it also offered some great views of the city skyline, the "pinchgut" island, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Since it was still quite early when we docked, we decided to go visit the world famous Bondi beach as it was only a couple stops passed our hotel on the subway line. Once we arrived there, we hoped on a bus and rode 10 minutes to the beach. It is just like the postcards one sees of Bondi beach.
I had the feeling of being on the Australian version of Miami each!! The wind was blowing hard so there were not too many people out on the beach. There were a few braves ones in the water waiting for that "perfect surfing wave". The retaining wall above the beach was a true work of art in
graffiti and Mom and I had some fun taking pictures in front of some of the art work. I could see myself laying on the beach in the summer months enjoying the sun and the water!! As we were walking up the access ramp, there was a "skateboard park" so we decided to watch some of the people displaying their skills on what appears to have been a swimming pool at one time. Very interesting and fun to watch.