Day #102 - Sydney Sunrise and Serene Shadows

The Anzac Memorial
Waking up on the first morning of a fresh year is always a moment to think about new beginnings and all the opportunities ahead. Many people start their New Year's resolution in earnest on this day; we on on the other hand, decided to make a tranquil escape to the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour.
We took a gentle walk through the city's central area, where the mode was slightly muted after a night of excitement and celebration. As we walked, I took time to take a look at some of the Victorian buildings that are tucked in among the modern buildings, many that wouldn't look out of place in London. That, along with all the London and UK based road names, was a constant reminder of the historic links between the two countries.
When we stepped inside the garden gates, the residual city noise faded, replaced by the melodic murmur of water over rocks and the delicate chirping of hidden birds. Stepping onto the winding paths, we felt like we'd been transported to a world far removed from the urban frenzy - even if the garden was overlooked by towering city skyscrapers!

The gardens embody a harmonious blend of ancient Chinese tradition and modern Australian spirit. Born from the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations, it stands as a testament to the enduring friendship between Sydney and its sister city, Guangzhou.
For us, having visited five Japanese gardens so far on this trip (Epcot, Portland, Vancouver Island, San Francisco & Kona) we were curious to see how a Chinese one differed and what was similar. To the untrained eye (like ours) there were definitely more similarities than differences. Apparently, Chinese gardens aim for grander landscapes celebrating human harmony, while Japanese gardens seek serene vignettes reflecting natural beauty and spiritual connection. Whatever the process, the result was stunning. 
The afternoon was taken up with a rooftop pool swim and hot tub session, submitting my tax return and enjoying an interesting film:
For the evening, we returned to the restaurant we had Schnitzel on our first night. This time we went for steak along with some spring rolls as a nod to our Chinese experience. 
It needed to be a quiet and early night tonight since we have an early morning flight and needed to pack. Tomorrow we say goodbye to Sydney (you've been great) and hello to our sixth country - Bali.