Sydney for EASTER or VIVID –

If you are travelling to Sydney read on..image

I always book a Silver Service cab to take me to the Sydney airport from wherever I am. They are reliable, an excellent service. However they are more difficult to locate on arrival in Sydney so I usually take pot luck with a taxi off the ramp or better still take the train to the city then find a cab…much cheaper.
On arrival I had pre -booked  Corporate Cabs Australia and they didn’t turn up!!

I’ve blogged about Sydney several times, check out this blog for day trip ideas and other tips.

Cafes, there are hundreds to choose from and some are doing very innovative food creations.

Menu items that caught my attention in Sydney this week were:
At my local Clovelly cafe The Top Hat I spied these:

Toast with sour cherry, fresh figs, ricotta and honey served on sour cherry toast.

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Drinks
Cold Drip Japanese filter coffee served on ice

Iced Chai
Affogato Expresso served with scoop of ice cream; Yes we have affogato on menus too, desert menus but this was on their drinks menu-
You could easily swap the Sour cherry toast for raisin bread I think!

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Lot 19 Cafe in Elizabeth Bay –
Poached eggs in clay on ratatouille with grana Padang and dipping toast
Juice
The Horny Bunny – Apple carrot ginger and celery.

I only had coffee and that was excellent and the folk were friendly.

Lunch
Fratelli Paradiso

A fabulous small Italian restaurant serving fresh cuisine, menu sample here.
Calamari Sant’ Andrea
squid fried, rocket, balsamic  22
Crudo
tuna ‘tonnato’  23
Bufala
heirloom, figs 24
Risotto
prawns, clams, cuttlefish, bottarga 29
Movies
I headed to the historic old Art Noveau Ritz Theatre in Randwick – interesting one car park building but no vacancies – not good for business and the street parking was only 1 hour! Anyway I enjoyed the movie; The Lady in the Van with Maggie Smith. A great $9.00 worth- I thought Maggie Smith brilliant, I’d expect nothing less. The story is one most of us would rather not face – about being old and dealing with the elderly!
Re the theatre, it was built in 1937, it is an example of the art deco cinema architecture that found a home in Australia during the 1920s and 1930’s and has 5-6 theatres. It seems to have lost much of its elegance and style which is rather sad but it does run the best art movies.IMG_3612IMG_3609

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The Opera Houseimage
I parked underneath in the enormous car park. They validate your ticket if you attend a show, parking was only $19.00 for 2 hours. So always ask. Sometimes there is a seal basking on the steps – a local resident so watch for him ( or her!)  One of Sydney’s top restaurants is in the Opera House complex. Treat your self before or after the theatre Reservations suggested.
Lunch (Friday – Sunday 12:00pm – 2:00pm): 2 courses $100, 3 courses $130
Dinner (Monday – Sunday 6:30pm – 10:00pm): 3 courses à la carte menu $130

Another fun place to visit is The Grounds at Alexandria. A great selection of eateries  and a few animals to amuse the children. Look out for Kevin Bacon!

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Bus tickets sometimes cannot be purchased on board the buses, so buy an Opal card at a diary and put ten or twenty dollars on it, no expiry date. Efficient way to get in and out of the city. Parking in the city can easily be $50.00 for two hours!!

So this is just a few brief comments on our nearest getaway, Australia.. Air fares are cheaper than ever and Sydney has sooo much on offer. Watch for VIVID in May and June. The sails of Sydney Opera House will be lit with works by Indigenous artists for the first time this year for the Vivid Sydney festival from May 27 to June 18.

To photograph Vivid watch this video. and impress your friends with amazing images.

The shopping is amazing, remember to claim your tax back as you depart Sydney airport. Westfield in the city Level 4 has 3-4 fantastic women’s shoe stores, trust me I know!! There food hall is excellent, yes they have a  Michelin Chinese eatery there. Din Tai Fung Restaurant… I love it. 188 Pitt Street | Shop 504, Level 5.

An Aussie  funny to wind up with. 

”  We live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbour call the local council   P & W office to request the removal of the WOMBAT CROSSING sign on our road.
The reason: ‘Too many wombats are being hit by cars out here! I don’t think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.”
True Story from Australia.

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Are you talking flags –

My favourite I finally managed to download from the internet.

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We are being asked to consider changing our flag in New Zealand. A very emotive subject and a tad risqué to the encumbent Prime Minister perhaps. Anyway I searched a few designs that are being considered.. I have no idea if these are final Government choices or not.It would be good to have a design that showed we were not Australians on first glance!

The Returned Services Association is questioning why the Government is so determined to replace the New Zealand flag saying ‘no one is protesting in the streets. I think we are by and large quite apathetic and don’t feel strongly or we surely would be protesting in the streets. In America everyone flies flags, it is wonderful. I wish we were more patriotic. A pride in your flag is something special. We are improving slowly, especially when there is a major sporting  fixture happening. However few people fly flags on their properties, I wonder why? Some schools don’t fly flags. In Newmarket,  where I live, we used to have three flags flying however these too have disappeared in the past year 😦 Retailers don’t seem to have the cash, not even Westfield!!

Anyway just for fun; please tell us your favourite design in the reply box  from this selection I found on line. I numbered them 0 to 5 to make it easy. And please comment if you want to retain the current flag or not. I am happy to see change however I would like it to retain something of our past 100 or so years.  I like the first two designs… and would not be adverse to either.The silver fern on the black could be a little larger so when it blows in the wind we still can see what it is! I personally do not like the green colour being introduced.

Here is the referendum bill detail. The formal flag design suggestion process will start in early May and close in mid July 2015, with flag design guidelines and requirements published online at http://www.flag.govt.nz

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black flag

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Sydney challenges.

I’ve lived long enough and travelled enough to know parking spaces are no joy ride! Parking buildings have tight narrow ramps and sharp corners. Parking lots can have row after row of cars for mile on mile. I’ve been  lost before; years ago in a car park at Disneyland in California, so I know the pitfalls.
Now days I am wiser to the parking dilemma.  Or am I??  I often photograph the carpark and number so I won’t lose my car…it has been helpful on many an occasion. imageSo why did car parking become a nightmare for me recently? I drove to Bondi Junction shopping centre, early in the morning so I found a park easily. P3 Q4 Green. What could be simpler! I had the photo safely in my phone. So I headed to the supermarket  and bought a few supplies and then headed back to P3 green level….

I walked and walked looking for Q 4 any Q would have been exciting. .I found A,B, J!K!M!N!O! but no Q. I asked a few women who shook their heads politely in a negative fashion. I searched for a map or a help phone all to no avail! If you are going to have a heart attack don’t do it here as there is no way you can call for help!! Anyway I didn’t have a heart attack, I just had a meltdown. Finally I spied a little old lady with a Myers store manager helping her to her car. I took my chance and stopped them, I mean I’d been 15 minutes searching for Q4 – they were both so sweet as I fought back the tears!! So once he helped the little old lady this charming young man turned his attention to moi. After 12 more minutes he finally found Q and there was the car waiting patiently for me. Interestingly he struggled to find Q, so I did feel better. No wonder I had trouble. By now my confidence is shattered and I’m never returning to Westfield at Bondi Junction, the tears have turned to laughing at myself and anger at the lack of signage and assistance. I did phone Westfield  who admitted I wasn’t the first person to have a problem and she would pass it on- yeah right!!
Other “New” Australians tell me you get used to it…. Really?? The city roads have appalling signage too, Auckland is bad but!!!
Being a tourist in Sydney is one thing, living the suburban life is far more difficult. Parking is as scarce as hens teeth, permits are often required so when you do see a space read the cryptic signs very carefully.  Better still use public transport. That too can be tricky for the uninitiated. I jumped on a bus in Circular Quay and said to the driver ‘ how much to Bondi Junction?’ He looked at me and said ‘lady you need a ticket!’  I said ‘where do I get a ticket?’  ‘He said just sit down lady as he gesticulated to me to be seated, turned out it was a prepay bus only but he let me travel for free☺️☺️.How was I supposed to know!
So if your life is dull head to Sydney for adventures with a difference!! Jokes aside I love Sydney..it just happens to be challenging me- until next time keep smiling😀😀