Day 4 was filled with heaps of lone exploration, but I managed to not get lost and discovered some pretty incredible places in downtown Sydney. My first stop was the Anzac memorial, a site constructed for the Australian soldiers that fought in war while protecting their home country. The building is a beautiful monument to not only the fallen soldiers, but to some of the best architecture in all of Sydney.
On a spontaneous hunch, I decided to visit one of Sydney’s oldest buildings, The Royal Mint, also known as the Rum Hospital in its earlier days with an interesting story behind the name. Contractors were promised thousands of gallons of rum as a form of payment for building the hospital. The building was a place for surgeons and patient convicts that later became victims to brutal procedures of bloodletting and toxic concoctions (The Mint’s Official Website).
The museum of Australian Contemporary Art was next on my list due to its generous admission of $0 😉 The museum was filled with amazing art from artists of all ages and it consisted of art that was relatable and easily understandable. Two exhibits stood out to me the most. The first one was a letter exhibit. As I approached it, I could hear only silence; I soon learned why. Three booths were set up with letters in envelopes arranged all around. The letter project information card stated that museum visitors were allowed to read unsealed letters and the sealed letters would be sent to the respective addressee. The museum would take the responsibility to post addressed letters. Each booth contained a desk, chair, a pencil and paper in case you wanted to write a letter, putting pen to paper to really say what was on your mind.
My second favorite exhibit was one involving the life of refugees in the Australian detention center. Much of the artwork was illustrated by teenage refugees describing their daily lives in the detention center with endless days of feeling trapped, anguish, and hopelessness, far from the unrestricted freedom they truly deserved. The accounts of such refugees was eye-opening as I had little idea of the refugee population and their struggles in Australia.
Much of the reflecting on the artwork I had seen and observed occurred on a rooftop cafe on the top floor of the museum. I held a popular apple cider in hand while overlooking a view of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Even with overcast skies, the view was still very beautiful.