Archive for May, 2012

Melbourne, Australia

May 17, 2012

Melbourne was the last city that we had an orchestra join us.   Sharing the stage with “Orchestra Victoria” was very memorable. (see pic)   I’ve really enjoyed these past several performances with the orchestras- they add a special little something…..goosebumps perhaps?

I tried kangaroo for the first time in Melbourne.  Eating roo just days after I was hangin’ out with one was a little weird, but hey- when in Rome…   It was pretty tasty, like a cross between steak and venison.  (see pic)

Melbourne is known for its shopping.  I’m not a shopper, but I can see why people that do like to shop love Melbourne.  Malls, boutiques, and stores were everywhere!  There is a central train station that the city seems to have been built around, and next to it was a large church.  The church choir had a nightly performance that we ducked into for a bit.  Both the choir and the church were beautiful! (see pic)

As we were headed to the airport in the early morning, there were several hot air balloons over the city.  It was quite a sight, with the sun coming up over the horizon.

On to Tasmania!

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Sydney

May 7, 2012

Sydney- My favorite Australian city so far. Performing in the Sydney Opera House was quite a treat. Two nights in a row with the West Australian Symphony Orhcestra was even better, and one of those nights happened to be my birthday!  I was surprised to find that the Opera House is really a complex of theaters and halls all linked together beneath its famous shells. To give you an idea- the Sydney ballet was performing the same night as our sold out concert- just in a different “shell.” During soundcheck, I sat out in the house during a song I wasn’t playing on to take it all in. The acoustics were amazing!

The view from the dressing room was of the famous Harbour Bridge. (see pic) I decided to go outside and play in front of the Opera House to have a little something different for the blog. I only got in about 50 windy seconds of playing before Security came. Oh well- It was fun while it lasted! (see video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxBSlsqRXdU   When the sun went down, the illuminated Opera House was quite a sight. (see pic)    (I took several pictures of the interior and backstage of the Opera House.  If this is something that you are interested in, you are welcome to visit www.facebook.com/cameronhhandel to see the rest that I’ll be posting soon!)

We had three days off on tour, and we got to spend them all in Sydney!  Taking the ferry to Manly beach instead of a cab was a no brainer. The wharf was bustling with all sorts of entertainment.  I especially liked the didgeridoo player. (see pic) The show I used to be in called “Blast!” used to have a didge feature.  Learning to play it wasn’t easy! www.blasttheshow.com    The ferry took us right past the opera house and I got to take pictures from different angles. I had no idea the side facing the water looked like this! (see pic)

The cliffs on the way to the beach were breathtaking.  (see pic)   Manly beach wasn’t anymore manly than the other beaches, but it sure was pretty!  I had my heart set on surfing in Australia, but the water was just too cold without a wetsuit. I probably could have packed one back in the 70 lb limit days for luggage, but there is no room with the 50 lb limit! I had fun watching the surfers, and we also hit up Bondi Beach at sunset. Bondi is a famous surf spot, but I saw more people hangin’ ten at Manly.  (see pics)

The next day was Anzac Day- equivalent to our Memorial Day.  The streets were closed for 5 hours in order to accommodate a massive parade.  Vets from every branch of every city seemed to have been there.  (see pic) I also got to hear several brass bands and bagpipers. Anzac Day is a big deal- as it should be!

The nicest surprise yet came on my third day off.  I found out that I have a second cousin living in Sydney- Emily Goldston. Her Granddad and my Grandmom were siblings!  She’s been living there for the past several years and I found her through the good ole’ Face Book.  I spent the day with Emily and her husband and had an awesome time.  They were very hospitable and drove me around the entire city.  I learned a lot that day!  They wanted to make sure I tried some of Sydney’s coffee, apparently it is taken very seriously.  Let me tell you- it was amazing. (see pic)   After sightseeing for the day, we ended up at a delicious, authentic Vietnamese restaurant.

I’ll never forget my time in this amazing city!


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