We left Manila for Sydney via PAL at 1015Pm and arrived around 845AM local time. The 7hour travel time could have been a good sleepover but everyone was too excited to get some shut-eye. We arrived at our hotel just before lunch all groggy but raring to maximize our first day. Washing our fatigues away with cold showers, we were all set.
As mentioned, our hotel was conveniently located within Sydney CBD. Close to most points of interest. Across our hotel was the revered Queen Victoria Building – a late nineteenth-century building designed by the architect George McRae as a marketplace. QVB is my favorite among the “Must See” places in the city. I am always transported back into the Victorian Era imagining ladies in their dainty dresses with their parasols shopping and chatting around.
Built as a monument to the long reigning monarch, QVB construction took place in dire times, as Sydney was in a severe recession. The elaborate Romanesque architecture was specially planned for the grand building so the Government could employ many out-of-work craftsmen – stonemasons, plasterers, and stained window artists – in a worthwhile project.
It is a stunning old world shopping mall constantly maintained to display its splendor. The tiled floors, stained glass windows, balustrades and arches are all restored with an eye for detail. Most stellar to the building’s noteworthy interiors is the Royal Clock. It was designed by Neil Glasser and made by Thwaites & Reed of Hastings in England, and when activated, displays scenes of English royalty. The plaque on the side of the clock reads “By appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Turret Clockmakers Thwaites & Reed Ltd Hastings England.
It is a good place to shop, dine or just wander around. The building has four shopping floors with about two hundred shops and boutiques, including retail covering fashion, jewelry, antiques and Australian crafts. At first thought, we said we would all meet after an hour, some of us ended up getting lost – happily. Re-emerging with some very good, authentic finds.