Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sydney 2013 : Day 1 - A Fishy & Rocky Day

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Sydney 2013 / Day 1 - A Fishy & Rocky Day     | Go to Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5
                    Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels                        
Sydney 2013 : Day 1 - A Fishy & Rocky Day
 27th September 2013
Going to Sydney will be my third holiday Down Under, i.e. after previous trips to the Gold Coast and Melbourne. While the Gold Coast is full of adventure and theme parks, Melbourne, though a happening place. was more laid back. I have heard that Sydney is more vibrantly cosmopolitan, full of places within easy access to enjoy ourselves. With this in mind, I braced myself for what should be a wonderful time of scenic harbours, river cruises, mountain trekking, markets, a masculine island; and (would you believe it) some cycling to off-the-beaten track places too!
And... oh.... we visited a few art galleries too; we did really pack much into our five-day stay.

Incoming Train at Sydney Airport's station.
We took AirAsia's over-nighter leaving the LCCT-KLIA terminal at 11:00 pm. As usual the flight was almost full, but Lynn did have the good sense to book a vacant seat in between us under Air Asia's Empty Seat plan. With that extra space, we were hoping for a restful night's flight but as luck would have it there were a few babies and toddlers nearby crying in a sequential cacophony through the night.
There goes our hope for a restful flight - a bawl here and a shriek there, like a staccato alarm, interrupted our sedentary sleep; but let's not let this foul the start of our holidays. After all, imagine what the parents were going through with a handful of active tots crying through the night; AND we had been down that road before. So a bit of meditation and understanding should tamper our tempers.

Arriving in Sydney, we took a fast 20-minute train ride from the Kingsford-Smirth Airport down to the Central Station. From there it was almost a kilometer of lugging our luggage to the Meriton Serviced Apartments at Campbell Street, right in the heart of Sydney's Chinatown. It was still too early to check in, so we plonked our luggage at reception and went off gallivanting ... there's no time to waste. this being close to lunch time the first order of things was EATS!
Deciding where to go next was easy .....

..... where else, at this time of the day, but the Sydney Fish Market.
As we approached the place from a distance, the waft of fishiness blew straight into our faces. It was not an aroma of staleness but more one of freshness although not that of fresh lemon. But still it was a welcoming scent for our hungry stomachs.

The place is like a large wholesale market with individual stores, some facing an internal mall and many larger ones facing the car-park compound.

Available at many shops were an assortment of seafood. The varieties of fishes alone were spectacular, many of which this landlubber have not seen. With their weird looking heads, some looked like they came from some alien planet.

The giant legs of the Alaskan Crab is highly priced, it seems that the legs are where the gold is. The body of the crab itself apparently is not so meaty.

The shellfishes have odd names like "Periwinkles" and "Puppies"... puppies? Is it really a dog eat dog world here? Oops.... my bad..... it's "Pippies"!
(Note: a few days later, while on the ferry to Manly Island, a Sidneysider advised me that I should have tried the Balmain Bugs. Apparently it's a delicacy that looks like a prehistoric lobster or large mantis prawn.)

Here too can be found sea urchins. These spiky fellows does not look that appetizing, but to the Japanese (called "uni" in Japanese) they are a priced delicacy, to be savored raw. I have tried some before and yes, they are a delicacy (see Kyoto-Osaka blog).

Surprisingly in this fishy place, there is a very wide range of cheese available, with many varieties from all over the world.

There are several dining outlets here. Most have fresh seafood on display in cold shelves for customers to select. But to make things easier, there is also some set menu, and playing safe (seeing that we were not that familiar with Australian seafood) we went for the Lobster Platter at this shop called the Fish Market Cafe.
Like most of their dishes, it was served deep-fried in batter style with lots of chips hidden below the seafood.The seafood were definitely very fresh, but coming from a country with multi-ethnic cooking style, I found it quite bland.

Meanwhile, outside the birds were having a field day eating off scraps left by patrons. One have to be careful not to leave food unattended as the seagulls will swoop in and just peck food off from the dishes.

That little foodie adventure had filled up our time, it's time to check in.
Our single-bedroom apartment itself was luxurious and it came with full amenities - kitchen, washing-machine, dryers, dish-washer, oven, microwave ovens and even down to cutlery, utensils and crockery!

Our apartment up at the 35th floor has a fantastic view of down-town Sydney  the Blue Mountains can be seen peeking out from the horizon. This was just what we needed - a relaxing calm before taking a short but badly needed nap.

In the evening, we headed down again, this time to Circular Quay, one of the oldest spots in Sydney that has beautiful views of the harbour and it's surrounding neighbourhood.
The bus dropped us off at it's last stop which was a fair distance from the quay. But we were not complaining as the walk there with the cool evening breeze was actually quite nice.

It gave us our first close-up glimpse of the two iconic sites here - the Harbour Bridge...

... and the Opera House...

... and a dusk view of the moored cruise liners against the lighted city skyline.

The Rocks neighbourhood immediately adjacent to Circular Quay let diners have a good harbour view while dining.

Harbour view dining is expensive, so we headed further into The Rocks  a little bit away from the harbour. Strolling through these alleyways gave us a feel of how life must have been like during Sydney's early days. This maze of narrow lanes opened up to nice little nooks and corners and we found our dining niche at the Vintage Cafe.

The Vintage Cafe serves Spanish and Portuguese fare. The food here was good (we had Wild Barramundi Fish, Rump Steak with a couple of glasses of Sang Ria), but what made the night more memorable was this gentleman singing romantic Portuguese & Spanish songs to the soothing plucking of his guitar strings.

Giant hanging clocks at Queen Victoria Building.
On the way back we stopped by at the Queen Victoria Building. From the outside it looks like a grand colonial building but inside it is a large spanking shopping mall. Most of the shops were closed by then, so we popped into the Woolsworth outlet on the opposite side of the street where Lynn got some breakfast spread and much, much chocolate to take back home.

It had been a good day's introduction to Sydney, one with a Fishy beginning and a Rocky end.
Goodnight mates!

Related Blogs :

You may also like :

Cambodia : Phnom Penh Museums : December 2012
A surprisingly educational visit to the National Museum of Cambodia.

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Sydney 2013 / Day 1 - A Fishy & Rocky Day     | Go to Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via Facebook or Twitter)

No comments:

Post a Comment