Ah, traveling. How I've missed you.
I recently had the opportunity to hop down to Sydney for a day and night. Sydney's pretty close to Brisbane - I think the flight is an hour and a bit - but you can taste the difference in the air. And feel it (I actually got to wear a light jacket! Glorious!).
I've been to Sydney before and have to say that, while I enjoyed it, I found the atmosphere a little... dare I say it... snooty. OK Sydney, we get it - you're fabulous. No need to get all pretentious about it. So it was nice to have another pass at this sunny, beautiful city and come away with a better impression.
I went to a restaurant called Bodega, a tapas bar tucked away from the water. When the cabbie pulled into a dark, pedestrian-looking street I was a little concerned about this restaurant's dodgy-factor, but I needn't have been. The place was high quality without that 'look at me I'm so pretty' vibe I've come to associate with stylish Sydney restaurants. The place was tiny, vibrant, full of colour and laughter. We sat at the bar and had the best Spanish wine I've ever tasted (and that now I can't remember the name of, damn me). We watched the pierced, waxed and tattooed staff do things to fish and chicken I've never seen done before in giant cast iron pans. We ate massive oysters, fancy fish fingers, and succulent spatchcock that fell off the bone. For dessert, we had affogatos. I can't emphasize how in love with this dessert I am. Creamy vanilla ice cream smothered with a shot of espresso and another of port? I'm appalled that I haven't discovered this before.
The next day I wandered the city on foot, visiting all those very Sydney icons and watching people go about their business. I braved the steely skies and took a walk through St James Park, where a man was making massive bubbles big enough to fit a group of schoolchildren in.
I walked through the Botanic Gardens, which are extensive and lovely and filled with funny-looking birds and bats that hang from tree limbs like giant seed pods.
I laughed when I saw an actual sign that read: 'Don't feed the birds, they bite' as it exactly described my Dad's very first day in Sydney. Yes, Dad. The signs ARE there for a reason.
I walked Sydney Harbour and around the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I took a stroll around The Rocks, a historic town section around the harbour, which had a farmer's market on. I treated myself to a fancy lunch at a wine bar.
I had another affogato and I did not regret it.
(Historic Governor's House)
(Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Opera House)
(SHB from the edge of The Rocks)
(The Opera House)
There's nothing like a day away to brighten the spirits and make you feel like you're actually living. Thanks, Sydney - I needed that.