Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Visit to Sydney - day 5 & 6 ( Petersham & Royal Botanic Gardens) & SIGNS

Tuesday 5th March - arriving at Circular Quay that morning I came across another giant cruiser - Radiance of the Seas.

At Circular Quay station, I caught the next train to Redfern (1 station down from Central Station). 
The old inner city suburb of Redfern, with its lovely heritage terrace houses near the super modern University buildings is very popular with students.

Redfern - old terrace houses and modern university buildings

I was on the hunt for some murals, but it was hot and humid and after finding a couple of murals I got back on the train towards Petersham (4 stations further), known as the Portuguese quarter. 

In Petersham, the Sweet Belem Confectionery where I envisaged sitting down to eat a couple of custard tarts and buy corn bread (broa) was closed (Mondays and Tuesdays) 😞.
I had to settle for a light lunch across the road in the Portuguese restaurant - Costa do Sol.

At the Italian/Portuguese Convenience store on the main road, I bought Portuguese wine to take to dinner with our neighbours, and Quince paste (marmelada) for my son and daughter in law, who had requested it.

Shopping done, I took the train into the city, and as the stops weren't being announced I didn't get out on the right one.  Thanks to the "Opal" app (Sydney transport) I got off at the next stop and then had to take 2 buses home, following the route religiously on the app so I wouldn't get lost 😌.

At 7pm, after Jose got home and tended to his little garden, we went upstairs to his Iranian neighbours who had invited us for lasagna. We took the Portuguese wine which they loved and for dessert we enjoyed a Chocolate mousse which I made earlier.

They have two Persian cats, an older very shy male - Tom and a young and playful female - Sophie. We had a great dinner, wonderful conversation and I'm so glad they keep an eye on Jose.

Tom (peering over the balcony) and Sophie (on the dining chair), Jose's little courtyard and garden patch (under the trees) and the granny flat where he lives (next to garage)

Wednesday, 6th March - I would be leaving Sydney towards the end of the afternoon, so I met up with Jose at Central Station where his company has offices, to leave my suitcase so I could walk around unhindered.

I wanted to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens for the "Plants that bite exhibition" at the Calyx.
The Calyx - some ducks and Ibis by the pond
The plant wall and the "biting" plants scattered in the middle and in hanging baskets

After the exhibition I wandered around the Botanic Gardens until I reached the Tropical Garden area, with it's exotic plants.

   The signs about the biting plants were informative.

  On the way out a few statues, and the pretty views over the city. 

Sculptures in the Botanic gardens

I had to be back at Central Station just before 3pm, as Jose had a meeting at 3, so I left the park towards Circular Quay and suddenly the sky started to get quite dark and heavy as you can see on the next photos.
As soon as I arrived at the main concourse the rain started pelting down!

The Opera House, Sydney Bridge and the "Radiance of the Seas"
I called Jose when I arrived at the station, and he met me by the timetable board to hand me my luggage. We said our goodbyes and I walked to platform 23 from where the train to the Domestic and International airport departs about every 10 minutes, taking about 15 minutes.

 It had been a very hot (35C) and humid day in Sydney (we can have hotter days in Perth, but usually our summers are dry), so I was sweaty and clammy and as soon I arrived at the airport I went straight to the toilets for a change of clothes! 
I felt much better then, and I'm sure my travelling companions were happier around me too 😁.

Domestic airport 
  The flight departed about half an hour late, we landed in Perth at about 7,30pm and caught a taxi home where I arrived 20 minutes later.

During the flight I watched two movies - the brilliant romantic musical "A star is born" which I'm sure would have been a much better experience in the big screen and "If Beale street could talk", a romantic drama which I found a bit sad.
Have you seen any of these, and did you enjoy them?

And for me it's back to my normal routine at home and work.

"A star is born" with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper - brilliant acting and superb music (youtube)

 "If Beale street could talk" - the struggle of a young black couple to clear his name from a crime he didn't commit. (youtube)

Monday, 18 March 2019

Monday Murals - Bondi Beach II

These photos were taken during my visit to Sydney in October 2018, when I visited Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi Beach.

The Bondi Graffiti Wall became popular in the late 70's with graffiti and street artists, and in the last decade has became a legal space for artists to display their work.
Artists have to apply to the Council to secure a spot, which is awarded for 6 months, and then the spot gets painted over by a new artist.

There are only two permanent murals - Frangipani Girl and the ANZAC memorial, both by Sydney artist Droogie, and they get regular restorations funded by the Council.

If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you;
just follow the Linky steps below.   Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks, Sami. 

Frangipani Girl:
Painted in 2003, it honours local 15 year old Chloe Byron, one of the 202 people who died in a bomb attack at the Sari Club in Bali on 12th October 2002. She was know for her active participation in many local sporting clubs and a Bondi surfer with her Dad David. 

A list of Bondi residents who lost their life in the Bali 2002 bombing

Anzac Memorial:
Also painted in 2003, it was painted using a photo given to him by an old Bondi Digger.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Visit to Sydney - day 3 & 4 (Birthday lunch and visit to Cockatoo Island)

On Sunday 3rd March - Jose had arranged for a birthday lunch with our Sydney friends at Casa do Benfica, in the suburb of Marrickville.
A former clubhouse for the Benfica sports club in Lisbon, even though it has kept the name it's now just a Portuguese restaurant attached to the Marrickville tennis club. 

We got a lift from Jose's landlord and his wife, a lovely younger Iranian couple who have "adopted" him into their social lives, for which I'm very grateful. 
Three other Portuguese friends who live in Sydney were present and believe it or not it was a typical Portuguese weekend family lunch that lasted from just after 12 pm when we arrived until 5pm when we left!!

Top left to right : The Iranian neighbours next to Jose, me and my friend Bebe and husband.
Bottom left to right: M a former Perth friend now living in Sydney, Jose and neighbours. M's husband standing and another young couple we met through them.

The varied menu includes a lot of Portuguese specialties and I chose a Tuna steak with potatoes, something I hadn't eaten in years. The food was delicious as always (we usually have a meal there every time I visit Sydney).

Tuna steak with onions, boiled potatoes and salad

After the long lunch we drove home, through the Anzac Bridge.

View of the city before crossing the Anzac Bridge

Monday, 4th March - I met up with my friend Bebe at Circular Quay, so we could catch a ferry to Cockatoo Island.
The MS Queen Elizabeth was docked at Circular Quay that morning.

We caught the next ferry and could admire the beautiful views of Sydney from the water. 

The Barangaroo Reserve area (top), Opera House and Bridge and Circular Quay and Queen Elizabeth cruiser

Panoramic photo - leaving Circular Quay
After a couple of stops we docked at Cockatoo island, a UNESCO world heritage listed island in the middle of Sydney harbour.

Lovely houses on the way
Cockatoo Island entrance and map showing the island (green) in the middle of the Sydney harbour
At the Visitors Centre we paid for our audio tour earphones ($5) and started our walk around the island.
Cockatoo Island was used as a convict settlement from 1839 to 1869, and prisoners were subject to harsh living conditions, solitary confinement, etc.
From 1869 to 1888 an industrial school for girls and reformatory operated on the island and after the girls were moved out it again became a jail until 1908.

Shipbuilding began in 1870 and by 1913 the island became the Naval Dockyard of the Royal Australian Navy. Due to international competition shipbuilding, end of submarine refit program, unions, strikes, etc., by 1991 the dockyards closed.

Tunnels, Dockyard from where ships were sent to sea and workshop
In recent times the island has been the location of movies, namely "Wolverine" where the industrial interiors and set scenes were constructed in the workshops, and in Angelina Jolie's  film "Unbroken" about Louis Zamperini, the Olympian and Japanese prisoner set during World War II, where the workshops and outdoor areas were used in the scenes.

Pictures pertaining to the dockyard era of the island, and one of the areas used in the film "Unbroken".
The island is also used for concerts and has a few houses and tents that are rented out as holiday accommodation. 
After lunch at a "container coffee shop", my friend and I sat down in front of this big house admiring the view and having a chat.

Houses with fabulous views rented for holidays

Panoramic photo - from Cockatoo island (Sydney in the distance,in the middle)
On our ferry return we alighted at the Barangaroo Reserve wharf and walked to the nearby Darling Harbour.

Arriving at Barangaroo reserve ferry wharf, the city and the Barangaroo area from a distance
A new "green" building caught my eye, but I also liked the old Shelbourne Hotel built in 1902, which can be seen from the pedestrian bridge out of Darling Harbour, from where the Sydney Tower can be spotted.

Super modern green building and the 1902 Shelbourne Hotel (bottom right)
We caught the train from Town Hall station to Central station and walked about a block or two so Bebe could show me a "green" apartment block at 2 Broadway, Chippendale right across from the Technical University.
One Central Park, a 623 apartment block was voted the best tall building in the world in 2014, among 87 other entries.
It features 1,120 square metres of vertical gardens with 35,200 plants of 383 different species, an internal water recycling plant and a low-carbon generation power plant.
It has also been awarded a five-star green star by the Green Building Council Australia.
The building has a pool, spa and gym at the top and shopping centre below.

One Central Park, a 5 star rated green building. It must be amazing in Spring
 Just around the corner in Kensington street, historic workers cottages and industrial warehouses are home to a few Asian eateries, Chinese lanterns and a few murals - the very cool Spice Alley.

Spice Alley in Kensington street (near Central station)

It was almost 5pm, time when Jose leaves work from the offices at Central Station, and I gave him a ring so he could wait for me.
We arranged to meet under the train station departure board, and when he arrived we bade farewell to Bebe as we were going in different directions.
We caught the train to Circular Quay and then the 207 bus home to Middle Cove.
Another full day visiting locations I hadn't yet seen.

Central Station building and inside

Suspension Bridge from 1892 in Northbridge - on the way home

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Visit to Sydney - Day 2 and Signs (Art gallery, Botanic Gardens and birthday dinner)

Saturday, 2nd March - It was my birthday and after breakfast we caught the 207 bus into the city.
After alighting from the bus we walked to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. 
On the way there I spotted what looked like a tree hanging from a building. I went into the lane to investigate and found that it was a "fake tree" statue.  Strange 😕

Some statues, flower borders on pedestrian areas between buildings, and the ever present Ibis or bin chicken as it's also known.

At the gallery I joined a long queue to buy tickets for the  exhibition "Masters of modern art from the Hermitage" that was ending the following day.

Art Gallery of NSW - the building, entry and one of the galleries (bottom right)

With tickets purchased ($28 each) we joined the crowds of people in front of every piece of art. A lot of people would take selfies in front of every painting making it difficult to take pictures...

There were 65 artworks from French artists including Monet, Gaugin, Cézanne, Pissarro, Picasso, Matisse and Signac.

Cezanne (top 2), Monet and Gaugin (my favourites)

Portraits by : Andre Derain, Felix Valloton, Henri Matisse. Left right: Kees van Dongen ,Henri Matisse and Kandinsky (left)

Paul Signac - I quite liked this technique
Pablo Picasso (top and bottom right) and Henri Matisse (bottom left)
Top: Henri Mangun, Henri Matisse.  Bottom : Henri Matisse, Camille Pissaro
After this exhibition we walked around the rest of the Museum (free area) and it was almost closing time (5pm) when we left the gallery.
During my visit to the Art Gallery in June 2018, the statue of Captain Cook was in front of a massive window looking out at the bay. Now the statue was centre stage in another gallery.

Various works of art with Captain Cook at the centre of the gallery

Across the road at the Royal Botanic gardens, the "Plants that bite" exhibition at the Calyx had already closed at 4pm, and a wedding reception was being prepared. While the bride and groom posed for photos around the park, the guests mingled near the Calyx.

The bride and groom taking photos, the little boy in the suit had a dummy/pacifier, the Calyx and the tables being set for the wedding inside the Calyx exhibition room that could be seen through the sign on the side of the building

We walked around, found the koala topiary, visited the herb garden and sat down quietly while listening to the birds on the trees.

Herb garden & flowers
Before dark we walked to Circular Quay to take the train just one stop down to Green Square.

Panoramic photo of the Opera House, Bridge, cruise ship on Circular Quay and some of the surrounding buildings
A lot of the train commuters were dressed up to join the Mardi Gras parade in the city.
I would have loved to see this very popular parade, but there was no time for it, we just saw two of the floats.

From Green Square station we walked 20 min until we reached "The Grounds of Alexandria". I had found this quirky restaurant through a blog I read recently and I chose it for my birthday dinner.
It opened in 2012 on a former industrial area and consists of a restaurant, garden, bakery & patisserie, coffee roastery, animal farm, florist and markets.
The area didn't disappoint for sure and we explored some of the areas and then went to the "Potting Shed" restaurant for our dinner.

The various areas in the Ground of Alexandria
Chickens and a piglet in the animal shed, people were roasting marshmallows when we arrived (1 left after dinner)
Note the sign at the entrance of the Potting Shed

The food was tasty, presentation was fabulous, the desserts were exquisite, cocktails very expensive (but we had a glass of wine only)...

Our starter - Mussels with coconut cream, battered fish for me, Scotch fillet for Jose, mango parfait (yummy) and Ruby chocolate mousse

After dinner we caught a waiting taxi to the Green Square station, a train back to the city and then a bus home where we arrived well past 11pm.
It was a full day but very enjoyable and I got to do all I had wanted for my birthday 😍

And joining the "Signs" meme today I leave you with some of the signs seen at the New South Wales Art gallery.
For other signs follow this link: