Saturday, December 10, 2011

48: Girls' Weekend in Sydney

Here's the group of girls at Queenstown Airport, ready to go away for a weekend in Sydney and looking dangerous already.

The view from the rooftop terrace of our YHA in the Rocks (No, you don't actually have to be a youth to stay there) is quite special, even if there is a crane in the way.

Dinner at Churrasco, a Brazillian style barbeque with all-you-can-eat meat. The waitresses bring round platters of beef, lamb, chicken, steaks, sausages, ribs, pork belly, deep-fried cheese balls, roasted pineapple, chunks of courgette, and many more delicacies.

You have a little two-sided card which can say 'Yes, please, feed me more' or you can flip it over to say, 'Not just at the moment, thanks, I'm stuffed!' The chicken hearts were outrageously tasty, and we had jugs of red sangria to wash it all down. Yes, one poor girl had to wear a special princess crown as it was her birthday, but she wore it well!

Bright and breezy the next morning, a dozen girls set off for some serious shopping - scary aren't they?

Meanwhile, as I was on crutches, I thought it best not to be too active or stray too far so I hung out in the Rocks for the day.

And I had Mad Alice who elected to stay with me and 'look after' me. Another scary concept!

After negotiating a number of steps, we were exhausted and in need of breakfast. Fortunately we stumbled across Guylian, a Belgian chocolate cafe, which does fabulous cappuccinos. We shared a slcied tropical fruit platter which was terribly healthy and cleansing, so we strayed a little with a couple of fresh baked pastries each served with a decadent bowl of chocolate dip.

We were now fortified to do some hopping and shopping of our own through the Rocks Market. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were plenty of people meandering through the streets and the stalls.

Between us we bought bright summer skirts, a handmade fringed suede shawl, Aboriginal artwork, Sydney-themed Christmas tree ornaments, a fun fascinator with a hummingbird in a flower, and a bracelet made out of orange peel and seeds. It's like that game of 'My aunt went to Paris...'

A quick refreshment break of iced tea with supposedly anti-oxidant properties. Mad Alice is already wearing one of the skirts she bought.

This sculpture by Bud Dumas in Playfair Street is called First Impressions (1979) - the three sides of the sandstone monument depict the soldiers, convicts and settlers, whose history comes alive in this area.

These fragrant mobiles are made out of dried seed pods of a variety of plants. They clack and clatter in the wind and they smell divine - cardamom, orange peel and cinnamon bark combine to make a fabulously yuletide scent wafting on the air.

Of course, there is not a hope of getting these back to New Zealand. The stall-holder overheard me say so, and she chipped in with, 'Don't even dream about it!' So I took photos and deep breaths, and left them behind.
By now my leg was tired (not to mention my triceps - it's tough hobbling about on crutches!) and was feeling thirsty, so we popped to the Australian Hotel for a pepper kangaroo pizza and a pint of Little Creatures Pale Ale.

Some of the shoppers returned with their swag.

We went out to the theatre to see a fantastic production of Richard III, and then relaxed and debriefed with our duty-free bubbles. We didn't see the signs about not drinking in our dorms until later - oops!

The view the next morning from the terrace was strangely similar but different. A massive cruise ship had pulled into the harbour and as I sat drinking my coffee, I could the football being played on their giant TV screen!
Once again, Mad Alice offered to spend the morning doing nothing much with me so we caught a taxi to Circular Quay and had breakfast (and a glass of Prosecco -well, we are on holiday!) at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar.

We took a trip to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which had many marvellous paintings and some boxing kangaroos... All too soon it was time to pack up all our new belongings and come home.

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