Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Weekend in Sydney

We drove the three and half hours north to Sydney on the Friday morning arriving in the CBD around lunchtime. Although I have spent a great deal of my life in this city, 25 years or so, the more I visit now the less I like it. Don't get me wrong, it's an exciting place with lots to see and do and nowhere else in the world has such a stunning harbour setting. But living a relatively isolated lifestyle on the quiet south coast near a town with only one set of traffic lights is quite a contrast to the hustle and bustle of being at close quarters with four and half million other people, most of whom seem to wanting to get to the same place at the same time.
We had set our hearts on a lunch of steamed Chinese dumplings at Sky Phoenix but the restaurant was closed due to considerable renovations of the Centre Point Tower complex.
So we walked a little and ended up on one of the streets near the famous shopping area of the Queen Victoria Building where we found an excellent Japanese restaurant for one of their lunch boxes, which is a sampling of everything good to eat, Japanese. And there were only another two or three westerners in there which was also a good sign.
Then the co driver and I parted ways so she could do her shopping, book shop and Rocks Night Markets thing and I picked up the daughter and we headed to the Sydney Fish Markets for a cooking school class. They had been closed for quite a while refurbishing the school. What a difference! The lecture room had been modernised with three overhead cameras with large screens so you got a close up of what the demonstrator was doing plus comfortable tiered seating and desks. And the walls had been covered in Atlantic salmon skins cut to the size of house bricks and painted sea blue. Very effective. The student cooking stations were all shiny stainless steel and had the latest equipment. After preparing the meals, we moved to a restaurant style room over looking the harbour to eat them. Apart from learning new things about the handling of seafood, we cooked garlic prawns, pippies in white wine sauce with basil and coriander and fried garfish fillets with salsa verde plus a salad. This was all washed down with a bottle of Rioja Crianza (100% Tempranillo) from Spain.
Next morning we all headed for Chowder Bay on the harbour's north side for brunch at Ripples.
Originally the centre of the Sydney whaling industry in the early 1800's, a mooring for the American whaling fleet and later as a restricted federal defence area, the bay has been given back to the people. Nothing better than sitting outside on the restaurant deck looking over the harbour back towards Sydney city on a clear bright morning. And the food is great too!
That afternoon the co driver and the daughter headed for the Observatory Hotel in the Rocks area of Sydney and a day spa.
I spent the afternoon alone flicking between two cricket games on TV between Australia and the West Indies in Brisbane and New Zealand and Pakistan in Dunedin. Both were pretty exciting.
That night we drove a short distance to North Sydney for a middle eastern meal at Safi.
We decided to have the banquet. A few hours later after 15 courses plus coffee we rolled out of there and headed for bed.
Next morning, after breakfast, we hit the road for home. A great weekend away!
Sadly on arrival I found the calf I had been nurturing for a few months had died. He seemed fine when we left and I was even considering returning him and his mother to the herd.
But the very next day there was a new one in the lower paddock so hopefully our run of bad luck with new borns has ended.


Aleycia said...

Looks like lots of fun! I would love to visit someday! Sorry about your calf. said...

bummer about the little cow. glad you had a fun trip to the big city!

mabel said...

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