My husband had booked a table for 10 at Casa do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant in the suburb of Marrickville (Sydney), an unassuming restaurant in the hall of the Marrickville tennis club. It seems to be a meeting spot for the Portuguese community, sports people and the local residents who know where to get good food 😋😋.
So on Sunday 17th June we left home early under the watchful eyes of the neighbour's cat to catch a bus into the city and then a train to Petersham.
Sydney trains are double-decker unlike the Perth ones and their seats are interesting in that they can be turned to face either way depending which way the train is going.
|The neighbour's cat watches us, the double decker train and the Marrickville tennis club|
We arrived earlier than we needed to, so we had time to stop for a coffee and a Berliner with custard for Jose and a hot chocolate and Portuguese custard tart for myself at the Sweet Belem bakery. Before we left we bought 3 Broas (corn and rye bread loaves) which I love and which I brought to Perth, I already had clients for 2 of them...
|Sweet Belem cake shop/cafe, our coffee and hot chocolate and cakes, the Broa (bread) on top of counter|
After our pit-stop we caught another bus just around the corner to Marrickville.
As we alighted I saw an interesting market on the side - the Marrickville Organic market at Addison Road.
We meandered through the very interesting market where you could find old books, funky clothing, plants, organic fruit and vegetables, honey, fresh seafood, and there were lots of food stands, tarot reading tent and even mini ponies for kids to ride.
|Marrickville organic market|
|Marrickville organic market. An automated recycling station for bottles and cans which I had never seen before|
After leaving the market, with the help of GPS on Jose's mobile, we walked for about 10 minutes until we arrived at the Tennis Club where the restaurant was. On the way were some good looking cute Victorian cottages.
|Victorian terrace houses in Marrickville|
We were the first to arrive at the restaurant close to midday, and it was packed with a crowd of elder Spaniards having some kind of celebration, eating to the sound of danceable Spanish music.
Glad our table had been booked as there weren't many tables available, not for 10 people anyway.
I ate baked codfish with potatoes and ended the meal with the sweet Molotoff pudding made with egg whites and caramel sauce.
At the end of our meal, my friend and I still joined some Spanish couples and danced a couple of dances. And believe or not we only left the restaurant at 5,30!!
One of the guys offered to drive us home which was nice.
|Codfish with potatoes, Molotoff pudding, bread, butter and olives, our table and the Spanish crowd|
My flight back to Perth was at 5,30pm on Monday 18th June, so I had plenty of time to still do something in Sydney during the day.
In the morning I packed my carry-on suitcase and caught the bus into the city centre.
At the Circular Quay station I asked if they had a storage facility so I could leave my suitcase and walk around unhindered. The lady at the Opal Travel kiosk indicated one across the Passenger Terminal not too far away. For the sum of $9 I left my bag at the Smarte Carte baggage storage, and was asked to pick it up by 4pm.
I walked around the Rocks area - the touristic and historic area established shortly after the colony's formation in 1788 and one of Sydney's most interesting areas in my opinion.
I walked through the Argyle Cut tunnel that gives access to Darling Harbour and Millers Point to climb Observation Hill on the other side of the tunnel and visit Sydney's Observatory. On the other side of the tunnel was Garrison Church, the first military church built in colonial Australia, with the first service in 1844.
A film crew with their big vans parked around the corner was all over the Church's entrance, so I didn't go in.
I climbed Observatory Hill and was surprised at the 180 degree million dollar views from the park over Sydney Harbour and Sydney bridge and Luna Park in Milson's Point. There's also a bandstand and a lot of public art.
Around the corner is the Sydney Observatory built in 1858, serving as a public observatory and a museum with free entry.The central tower features a time ball which signalled the time to ships and to the General Post office in Martin Place, and it's still raised to the top of its post and dropped at 1pm every day.
There was an exhibition with old photos of some of Sydney's areas and another about the ravages that the weather can wreck with heavy rains that can cause floods, or heat waves that can melt candles like a surrealist painting.
|Sydney Observatory. The time ball is at the bottom of the tower|
When I left the Observatory it had started to rain and I had to rush back to the luggage storage depot.
Under the Argyle Cut bridge there was a bridal couple taking cover from the rain with their photographer.
I picked my bag, walked to Circular Quay station and caught the train to the Domestic Airport, arriving about one a half hours before my flight time, so I sat down and read a book I had taken to read and hadn't read.
|Before and after photos of Sydney and the Ravages of the weather|
|Sydney Bridge, The Argyle cut and the bridal couple taking cover from the rain|
On the 4,30 hour flight I watched "The Post" a film with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, which I enjoyed and then a few episodes of a TV series "The Bold type", light, funny and could be addictive watching.
And so ended my 5 day stay in Sydney.
Hours: Wed to Sat 11am–3pm, 6pm–9pm, Sun to Tue 12am–3pm
Baggage Storage by Smarte Carte, Shop 43, 1/3 Hickson Rd, The Rocks NSW 2000, Ph: (02) 9247 1709.