The internet is, as we all know, a marvelous thing. As we also may well be aware, a fairly large corner of the internet these days is taken up by facebook on which, I probably make more of my presence felt than I do on my very own blog. (For shame).
In any case, facebook reintroduced me to an old Kiwi friend from my cubicle days who now lives with her new husband, in Az, USA and recently she messaged me querying whether I was up for meeting her brotherinlaw and if so would I play host to some degree! As it happend, within minutes of agreeing I had a query from Hoff (the b-i-l in question) and within a week he was here in Oz and we were making plans to meet!!
This is the programme we worked out. It was an awesome time! If you want me to do the same for you let me know!!! I’m always up for showing off or recommending sights in this amazing city!!!
We met at lunchtime at Circular Quay where I was fresh off the boat, and on Saturday the initial plan was to take a ferry out to Watsons Bay for fish and chips at Doyles but the weather was a bit grey and not nearly gorgeous enough to show off the harbour in her best light so we opted instead for laksa at Malay Chinese. Not a bad choice to introduce someone to laksa for the first time at the best laksa restaurant in Sydney!!
We then walked from there to Darling Harbour, past the Queen Victoria Building and down to the Powerhouse Museum which was housing an exhibition of Star Wars paraphenalia. It was crowded, due to it being the weekend AND school holidays and perhaps we could have had a bit more of an interesting look around the Australia Museum, but it was a reasonable way to pass an afternoon nonetheless… Once we were done we took a restorative coffee on the way back towards the Rocks where we were planning on having dinner, and watched the world and its dog go past. Had a game of spot the tourist adding points for guessing WHERE they were from…
Newly fortified we went up to the Rocks for dinner at Caminettos , chosen because the food is pretty good and reasonably priced. It was also a lovely precursor to what was going to be an evening of Italian Opera at the Sydney Opera House where we attended the double billed opera Cav and Pag (“Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci“). Which, given that Hoff was and Opera virgin was actually a pretty good choice for a first time. I loved it! We had seats in the circle where the surtitles were at eye height so there was no neck craning to check the translations and try to see what was going on and the music was fabulous, even for me, whose bent runs more to light opera than the real thing… I felt pretty blessed to have been invited and I think Hoff was happy to have the company of someone whose musical tastes are flexible and who gets so engrossed that they don’t notice when their escort has nodded off in places… Then of course I was back on the ferry and up to the Beaches for home.
We met up at much the same time on Sunday only to find the Watsons Bay ferry was jammed full, so we started with a coffee at Rossini’s on Circular Quay to kill time before the next one. At $4 for a teacup sized coffee it was was overpriced, no doubt due to its prime location and maybe I’d not have begrudged such a price if the coffee was good… but sadly no… I hope their food is better!!! Haven’t tried… anyone?
We bolted the coffee down when it was clear that Sydney Ferries had added an extra service to Watsons to accommodate the large crowds clearly in need of Fish and Chips and so we got over there for lunch and a New. The fish and chips are still great, though under pressure of the large crowds I think the chips were being rushed through a bit… got a bit soggier than I remember… and the portions were smaller than last time, which, however, actually is good, because I never manage to eat it all!!! Then we walked along the beach to settle the food in and caught the ferry back to Circular Quay.
We were taking advantage of Sydney Transports Daytripper passes which give you unlimited metropolitan travel on the Trains, Ferries and Buses and so we caught the train to Central Station and then a Bus to Bronte Beach. I have to give kudos to the STA at this point as unlimited travel for a day at $17 is totally worth it, particularly when my fare from Manly and back is $12.60 on its own you very quickly get more than you’d pay for in normal terms. I was also really impressed with their 131500 info line where you can get a real person to tell you where to go… I know… brilliant.
We got to Bronte where we walked the gentle coast walk from there to Bondi (45min from Bronte to the Icebergs), which on a stunning day, such as it was, couldn’t have been better. We finished off at the ‘bergs for a beer at this Bondi icon’s club room where we met up with 2 other of the Hoff’s acquaintances and then, at their recommendation walked along Bondi Beach to North Bondi Italian Food where I was completely spoiled with a gorgeous dinner where we started with Salmon Carpaccio (yes, I actually ate raw fish, and it wasn’t smoked.. AND it was yummy) and finished with a perfect Lamb Cacciatore (I think), in which the meat was absolutely divine! Can’t please a Kiwi girl better than with beautifully cooked lamb!!!
The day was amazing, and the company great! But seriously, get yourself down here, I’d love to do the same with you…