Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sydney Sojourn.

Hello and happy Sunday night/ whatever day you are reading this.

I whisked my fella up to Sydney for a weekend! Never let it be said that I am not romantic! If I want to be whisked away someplace nice, then I need to do some whisking! Quid pro quo etc.

The aim of the game was to see the Archibald Prize exhibition, the Bald Archies, see some sights and eat some food and maybe spend some money. I like to see the Archibald Prize Exhibition each year. I like art but have a particular soft spot for portraiture.

Sydney put on some glorious weather for us. Thankyou, El Nino or La Nina or global warming or whatever. It was grand.

Friday was a completely FULL ON day for me. It was the third day that week that I had to be in front of a camera (long story but being in front of a camera is a new thing for me). I had had very little time to sit down or eat or toilet or do any of those things. So I was glad when I got to down tools and go home and pack. Though the moment I relaxed I got a terrible headache. Luckily, the fella has club lounge membership, so I got to avail myself of the food and soothing drinks they had there....they had those thick yummy barbecue rice crackers there, plus liquorice allsorts, and my moderation muscle gets very weak with a bit of hunger, fatigue and alcohol on board. The plane ride was uneventful, apart from the presence of these new iPad entertainment thingies that Qantas are using. We had dinner on the plane, but on arrival in Sydney we decided that we needed a wander and a post-dinner-dinner.

We wound up at a restaurant called Wildfire, which sits in the overseas passenger terminal, between the Rocks and Circular Quay. The restaurant had a lovely celebratory air about it, with panoramic windows, big chandelier thingies and mood lighting. Plus a perfect view of the opera house.
I started out with a glass of Moet and some oysters - I had a one of each of the pacific oysters, the rock oysters and the angasi oysters (who knew there were so many breeds?) drizzled with lemon and a shallot vinaigrette (the only way oysters should be consumed IMHO). Plus there were chips cooked in duck fat. What is not to love?

The kicker, though, was the dessert!

We ordered banoffee pie. I was expecting a biscuit base, toffee, sliced bananas, whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle. This photo was what we received

This would've won a masterchef professionals creation/remix test. The "banana" was thin toffee, filled with banana and whipped cream. Beneath it was salted caramel and chocolate biscuit crumbs. The icecream was chocolate flavoured. It was fun and surprising.

The next morning, after the over-indulgences of the night before, we decided a long walk was in order, hence we hoofed it to Surry Hills to try and get to the famous Bourke St Bakery. We worked up an appetite on our walk, so we saw the queue snaking around the corner at the bakery, and promptly went across the road for brekky at a place called the Bookstore cafe. Not bad but not brilliant.

Sustained by our brekky, we trundled down Crown St, which had lots of great shops, my favourite of which was The Cook, His Wife and Her Shoes. They sold Chie Mihara shoes, which are hard to get in Australia. Sadly the price point is a bit high for me at the moment, so I had to be content with looking and swooning.

We made the trip by foot to the Art Gallery of NSW, in the Domain. We checked out the exhibition of the Archibald Prize finalists. Some of my favourites were

  • The pic of Asher Keddie by Vincent Fantauzzo. Incidentally, those two are in a relationship and the painting was called "Love Face". Also, I have a major girl crush on Asher Keddie, which will come out in full force when Offspring finally returns. Anywho, Vincent is a true master - you can see every strand of her blonde hair, with tufts floating free from her ponytail in an errant breeze. You can see her shirt is made of brushed cotton. You can see the luminescence of her turquoise eyes. You could feel the love there.
  • A painting of Dr. Catherine Hamblin (Australian Obstetrician, worked in Ethiopia, treated obstetric fistula). The painter captured her beautifully - she looked compassionate, tired and tough all at the same time, and exuded gravitas. Her hands were masterful - I imagined all the breech deliveries she had yanked out in her years.
  • A self-portrait of an artist who had suffered from a retinal detachment. You can tell it was a portrait, but it was very distorted. I was struck by how brave it was to come and do a painting when his eyesight had suffered a devastating insult.
  • The winner, painted by the quirky and distinctive Del Kathryn Barton, of Hugo Weaving (who looks very quirky and distinctive) with a skinny ugly cat.
We chilled out in the afternoon, watched a movie (Silver Linings Playbook - great performances) and then frocked up to go out to Cafe Sydney. More oysters and champagne were consumed. Otherwise the food was good, not revolutionary, but the kicker was the view, see:
FYI I wanted to go to Aria but it was booked out.

Again we went to bed approximately 7/4 full.

Today, we spent the day with friends of the fella, in Leichhardt. His friend, the husband, makes THE BEST pancakes, which were consumed with maple syrup, bacon and strong coffee.

After that, we all made a trip to the Bald Archies (the satire of the Archibald prize). Gina Rinehart, Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan and Alan Jones were big targets. Well worth a trip, the artworks certainly catched the zeitgeist better than those in the Archibald.

We then went for a wander about Watsons Bay, stunning weather, stunning views set amongst Australia's most expensive real estate. We went on the coastal cliff walk. There were lots of signs for Lifeline, saying "There is hope, call us".  Similar signs were on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I wondered how many suicides such signs would stop, or whether anyone would be on the other end of the phone if somebody called lifeline. I tried not to get too bogged down in that, and concentrated on the magnificent views, and here is my iPhone interpretation:

I am now very reluctantly heading back to apply nose to grindstone tomorrow.....

Wherever you are, or plan to go, have a great week. Even if you are familiar with your town, go off the beaten track a bit. You may be surprised at what you find.

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