Sunday, 15 June 2014

Sydney Part 2: Touristy things we did with a pram and a weekly transport pass...

The forshore walk from Jubilee Park, around Glebe Point
and toward Black Watle Cafe, city in the background.
As a group of four adults and two children, our spot in Glebe, Sydney, was pretty well placed. On our first morning (after slow coffees and endless ABC4Kids episodes), we finally made our way down the street to Jubilee Park. At 10am all the Sydneysiders were out: personal trainers and their willing victims, groups of 
pram pushing Mum’s resplendent in Lorna Jane and walkers with their dogs, flat whites and boat shoes, generally enjoying what was a beautifully warm and clear autumn day.

Park fun in a Nana-knitted jumper.

We walked around Glebe Point toward Darling Harbour, stopping off at the Blackwattle Café, a reclaimed house from the early 1800s, sitting in a grassy area overlooking the ANZAC Bridge into the city. We had fantastic coffees and very nice muffins, toast and jam: no cardboard here, just beautiful heavy sourdough.
The menu looked great and this was one of Kathy’s (our landlord at our accommodation) picks of a great eat… They even had a kids’ basket of toys and books, which says not only that children are accommodated, but tolerated with some semblance of pleasure.

The Black Wattle Cafe, ANZAC bridge and Circular Quay in the background

Tall ships in Darling Harbour.
Next on the day’s jobs was a stop at the Sydney Fish Markets. With every other busload of Chinese tourists. It was packed, and I marvelled at how an English language menu can be the only one in full sight yet those of the Asian contingent seemed to have an altogether separate, exotic and better version of what I was reading. Somehow, out of all that seafoody goodness I managed to buy a tray of deepfried OK-ness, while the people one table over had the most unbelievable looking dish- all weird fish, ginger and God knows what else.  We needed an interpreter! Anyway, we also managed to get some great sushi and fresh oysters, no wine though (due to First-Night-Catch-Up Syndrome) and the kids had lots of fun chasing seagulls and then playing in the seagull-poo infested fake grass. Having walked a few kilometres and eaten heaps the general consenus was to head home for afternoon Nana Naps and a recharge before the night’s shenanigans began.

Old and new: got to love some Aussie icons
at Circular Quay.

We had meant to buy a weekly pass for Sydney’s transport system, but on the day’s walk had failed to find a corner store selling them. So, as Murphy states, when we decided to just cheat our way through the two light rail stops to ours, of course Mr I’m-An-Inspector-And-I-Don’t-Care-What-Stupid-Tourist-Card-You’re-Playing-Pay-The-Fare-NOW came along, we all felt a little silly.

Anyway, naps were had and having few plans for dinner we headed up to Glebe Point Road and found ourselves at the Toxteth Hotel. If you haven’t been to Sydney in the last 10 years or so, you won’t know that every second pub is a ‘gastro-pub’ (or awesome place to eat while you down your pale ale) and every other pub has had a makeover worthy of ‘The Block’ or ‘My House Rules’ or ‘Blatant Bunnings Advertisement’ show. The Toxteth seems to be all of these, with some impressive looking meals and a smoking section and bistro area with fern working the walls like something from Carnarvon Gorge. And they didn’t mind that Marguerite and Caesar made a cubby out of some stools and a bench. Noice.

Dinner was me cooking thai for everyone plus Christian, his fiancé and in-laws. The house had its own separate dinning room (fancy!) and we had a lovely time meeting the skoon familie, eating and drinking…

Tannie Karen in action- Marguerite clearly hating the love.

The Uys Huis, the Safas and the Bridge on a ferry. Does it get any more iconic???
The next day, armed with our weekly public transport passes, we made our way via light rail and a ferry ride to Circular Quay and the Manly ferries, via the Luna Park Face (tick), under the Sydney Harbour Bridge (double tick) and passed the Opera House (triple tick). To be immediately stopped by the gate guy and told our passes go everywhere but Manly, and that this had been a pretty recent change. He was very apologetic and even took us aside to say that if it wasn’t for the eight angry looking ticket inspectors behind him (which there were), he’d just let us through. But alas, no.  So we made do with all the other touristy tossers who’d bought the wrong tickets and headed via the harbour to Watson’s Bay instead.

Stefan and Fiela, Watson's Bay in the background.

Marguerite and Sally Fox.

I suppose the best thing about Watson’s Bay is that a short walk up the hill is a lookout over the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the Sydney Harbour. It’s a beautiful walk along the cliff tops (even if it is a popular top-yourself spot) and there are magnificent views back to the city. We lucked upon one of those temperate sunny blue days and photo opportunities abounded everywhere.
The Heads of Sydney, looking North toward Manly.  (Damn you weekly pass!)

The beautiful view from the top of Watson's Bay back toward the city.

After a play in the park, we headed for excellent burgers, (if a little pricey at $18) beers and a cheeky Mudgee rosé at the Watson’s Bay chic Hotel while we waited for the ferry back to the city. Three times. We kept missing it, having a lovely time looking out over the water and enjoying what is a great pub, even though it’s a little wanky and pretentious. But then it’s hard to get away from that in Sydney… Ha ha!

At the awesome Watson's Bay park.

Still at the park.

Time to leave the park.

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