Today's weather wasn't quite so good, but I headed downtown anyway. I got to Darling Harbor about 10, and walked down to the Maritime Museum. That was a long, cold walk - it was on the opposite side of the harbor from where I started, and the wind was really whipping around. The museum was quite nice - there's nice US/Australia friendship display at the front - it was put up back in the late 80's for the bicentennial of the founding of the first British colony here. The museum has a lot of other interesting displays as well - lots of information on the harbor, on the history of the 19th century whaling industry, and on the development of the harbor area through time. I spent a couple of enjoyable hours there before going back out to brave the elements.
It was a cold walk in search of lunch - I wasn't about to pick one of the carry out places that expect you to eat at an outside table! I stumbled on a place called "The Meat and Wine Co." - and it was a nice place, with an interesting menu. I selected a nice grilled chicken dish and a glass of wine - they warned me about the hot sauce before I tried it, and they weren't kidding! It was a good, filling lunch. They had an interesting frozen berry mousse concoction for dessert - it was quite good, although I think my wife would like it better than I did - she loves tart desserts.
After lunch I decided to duck into the IMAX theater and catch "Ghosts of the Abyss" - a nice little gem of a movie that documents Cameron's filming of the Titanic. It was something else in IMAX 3D - well worth seeing. The footage of the 1st class dining room windows alone was worth the price of admission - highly recommended.
After the movie, I had to figure out what to do with the rest of the afternoon. I headed over to the Sydney Tower, but the ticket agent convinced me that it was better to wait until dark - the cloud cover would make for a dull view during the day. She whisked out a map and gave me some quick advice. Off I went to Hyde Park, a nice little park in downtown Sydney. At one end is the Anzac Memorial, built after the first world war. The entrances were blocked, with no reason given. It's a very somber building - reminded me of a lot of the Civil War memorials I've seen in the northeast and midwest US. I walked back up the park towards the fountain - the trees on either side of the path offer a very "Cathedral" type framing of the park - very nice effect. Midway down was a spire dedicated in 1857 by the (then) mayor of Sydney, but there was no further explanation. I'm kind of curious as to what it was built to commemorate!
I kep going down the street, passing the Convicts Barracks Museum. I was tempted, but by now it was nearly 4:00 pm, and I wanted to get into the Sydney Museum. It's small (which is good, I only left myself 45 minutes to see it!) - but quite interesting. It has a nice section on the history of the city, including a mockup of the way the city looked in the 1840's. There was a section on the (apparently famous) Red Cedars of Australia, and a lot on the early history of the city. It didn't take long to go through, but it was worth seeing.
I headed out around 5 - couldn't cut back through the Botanical Gardens (they were closing at dark). So I headed back to the Tower, since the sun had set and it was getting dark. Sydney Tower is a lot like the Tower in Toronto, or the one in Tokyo - offers quite a spectacular view of the city all the same. I bought a couple of things to take home, and headed back to the train station. A few minutes on city rail, and I was back at the hotel in Chatswood. It was a nice day (if cold from the wind). I probably don't have any more tourist time this trip - next week is going to be busy with talks and customer visits. I should definitely come back here when it's summer locally.