As time goes on, we tend to avoid going to Sydney as much as possible. The traffic is usually crazy and it's always noisy, crowded and a little bit frantic. This is the complete antithesis of our south coast environment.
However it's always good to visit the daughter and enjoy far better shopping opportunities as well as eat at one or two of a huge range of restaurants with a myriad of ethnic cuisines.
This time we were catching up with a special friend who had made a quick trip home from Canada for a few weeks.
Naturally the co driver had a list of quilt shops to visit. We left home early and made our way north through driving rain and then across the mid western suburbs of Sydney to Drummoyne and Material Obsession.
This quilt shop was housed in a very cute 19th century Sydney sandstone terrace house (replica?).
Luckily the Australian cricket team was completing the 4-0 demolition of the Indian team in the fourth test match in Adelaide so I took the opportunity to listen to some of the day's play on the car radio while purchases were being made.
Then we went on to Balmain, another older inner Sydney suburb, for lunch.
At random we picked a North African restaurant which specialized in Moroccan food. Not knowing much about this cuisine we asked them to 'surprise' us.
We ended up with a starter of hummus, babaghanouj and taramasalata with flat bread and then a sample platter of grilled haloumi, tabouli, spicy lamb and pine nuts and marinated sardines.
This was followed by char grilled harissa and garlic marinated octopus and cumin battered soft shelled crab with a date and lime sauce.
Then it was onto quilt shop #2, Calico and Ivy just a short walk down the road. More cricket for me, more purchases for the co driver.
We made it to the daughters in Rose Bay just before peak hour and wandered down the hill to our favourite Japanese Restaurant for dinner. Sushi, sashimi, teriyaki salmon, teriyaki chicken, gyoza and edamame were our choices.
This simple little place, Asakusa, never fails to deliver.
Next morning we drove along Sydney's eastern suburbs beaches Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte ending up at Clovelly for a light breakfast and coffee in a beach cafe overlooking the ocean.
The daughter had taken an unusual picture of Bondi Beach just before sunset a few weeks ago.
Then it was into the CBD (downtown) of Sydney for some serious shopping at Myers and David Jones before meeting up with Muriel at the Malaya Restaurant on Darling Harbour.
This area used to be a part of the commercial port of Sydney but was redeveloped when the advent of container shipping moved the main port from Sydney Harbour to Botany Bay. Cruise ships still tie up here but both sides of the bay are now shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, a convention and exhibition centre and the Maritime Museum as well as other tourist orientated attractions.
One of the the banquets on the Malaya menu looked intriguing and it did not disappoint.
Popiah, then lightly battered deep fried king prawns with chilli and satay beef skewers were the starters.
This was followed by curry prawns with roti cana, black pepper chicken, korma lamb, kwai du and finally chilli beansprouts and snow peas. And of course boiled rice throughout.
Phew! We all rolled out of the restaurant three hours later.
After a late afternoon coffee at one of the many cafes in the QVB we were overfed and talked out so, after farewelling Moo, we headed 'home' for a quiet night.
Surprisingly no one was interested in dinner.
It was an early rise to head south with breakfast at Hungry Jacks (Burger King) on the way.
Well you can't nosh it up every time!
It was a relative easy drive with very little traffic going our way and four hours later we were home.
A really enjoyable weekend away.