It was a day lined up with some interesting activities. First, I wanted to visit the General Post Office to purchase stamps and to post postcards. Next, I had to find my way to Playfair Street for The Rocks Walking Tour. I had also arranged at the last minute to have lunch with one of my friends, RL. My friend had also offered to give me a lift to Watsons Bay by car if I would like though I took a while before I could decide on whether to take up her kind offer. At 4 p.m., I had the Sydney Opera House's Essential Tour to participate in. Last but not the least, I would catch a highly anticipated concert by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House.
With so many activities lined up for the day, please allow me to write about the day in more managable parts.
After a wonderful treat to a delicious breakfast, by when I had figured that the staff at the Ceezens restaurant all knew me by my face, I was ready to set off for Playfair Street. Before that, I had one mission to accomplish. I had to purchase postage so as to post postcards to various parts of the world. I had headed to World Square building's post office but it was still not opened at that time in the morning. So, I decided I could find my way to the General Post Office at 1 Martin Place. There was a post shop at the General Post Office building at 1 Martin Place that in some ways hinted to the rich history of the building.
It was when I was writing this post that I learnt that the General Post Office in Sydney has a rich history. I learnt from wikipedia that Sydney's General Post Office was designed by colonial architech, James Barnet. It was constructed in stages from 1866 to 1891 after the former General Post Office was demolised in 1862. This building was the headquarters of the New South Wales postal system until 1996, when the building was sold and refurbished. I suppose that would meant that whatever mails that were sent out from the General Post Office would absorb some air of heritage on them?
The Westin hotel that stood at what was formerly the atrium of the General Post Office reminded me fondly of Singapore's Fullerton Hotel. Here is a photograph for you to have a glimpse of how similar the air-wells of these two places seem to be.
After I had purchased the postage and mailed out the postcards at hand, I studied the buses at a nearby bus-stop before hopping onto one of the buses to head for Circular Quay. I saw a number of beautiful historic colonial buildings but I could not quite figure out their history as a tourist.
Whatever it was, I had to ensure that I could find my way to Playfair Street before 10.30 a.m. It was past 9.30 a.m. already and I had not bought my ticket to The Rocks Walking Tour. So I figured that I had to find my way to Playfair Street soon. Honestly speaking, Playfair Street seemed to be quite a remote lane on its own. My eyes could not find it on both the different maps of Sydney that I had on hand. However, when I was back in Singapore writing this post, I realised that it was merely that I had not looked closely enough at the maps. Anyway, that day, I had to rely on nearby streets and landmarks to find my way to Playfair Street. Along the way, I passed by the Rocks market. There were some nice local produce on sale.
I got lost when I took a wrong turn along Argyle Street. I later learnt that an easier way to get to Playfair Street was to walk up to the end of George Street. Taking the route to Playfair Street via Argyle Street could be rather confusing for a tourist who is new to the vicinity.
The blessing in disguise was that when one seemed to take a wrong turn and got herself lost, it would also meant two things: the blessing to see new sights and the blessing to ask for and to receive help. I saw a nice church building, The Garrison Church, along the way. Then, much later, I met a kind lady who lived along Gloucester area and she gave me clear instructions to get to somewhere close to Playfair Street.
Soon enough, I found myself approaching Playfair Street from the back of it. I was feeling relieved that I reached 23 Playfair Street definitely early enough to purchase a ticket to The Rocks Walking Tour. My tour guide, Leisa, welcomed me. Since I was early for the 10.30 a.m. tour, I explored nearby parts of Playfair Street.
I was looking forward to The Rocks Walking Tour. Stay tuned for more please.
People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) I was lost, and yet found my way to Playfair Street with the help of the kind lady who gave me the directions.
2) I was punctual for the Rocks Walking Tour and could get myself a ticket despite purchasing it on the day itself.
3) I was grateful for a safe journey to Playfair Street.
A new thing that I did:
I have found my way to Playfair Street. It was my first time visiting Playfair Street.
My learning points:
The blessings in disguise when one seemed to take a wrong turn and got herself lost were the blessing to see new sights and the blessing to ask for and to receive help.
General Post Office, Sydney
1 Martin Place
The Rocks Walking Tours
23 Playfair Street
Tel: + 61 2 9247 6678
Fax: + 61 2 9241 1502