Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Sydney weekend

It’s the middle of winter in Canberra, freezing cold, but not enough snow to ski on. So what to do?

Go to Sydney of course for some warmth, sunshine and culture.

Well, we managed two out of three. This weekend just past was the windiest and coldest for for a long time but we still had an excellent weekend, driving down to Kangaroo valley, just to take a look at it and staying overnight in the village.

We thought it would be a bit warmer than Canberra, but it wasn’t – howling penetrating bone chilling winds, but even so we had a good time, eating at Cafe Bella, and giggling like school children in the second hand bookshop at a display of postcards of 1930’s children’s book covers, including one unfortunately named ‘Invisible Dick’. Well, it was a more innocent time.

Sunday we drove to Sydney, but rather than going direct, ambled via Berry and the Royal National Park to our hotel in Woolamaloo on the old wharf.

It was freezing. Sydney is supposed to be warm even in winter. Well it wasn’t. However we had a good time, ate at China Doll on Sunday night, and on Monday did tourist things, catching the Manly ferry for the ride out to the heads with fish and chips for lunch while watching the surfers brave the waves, and then back to Sydney, a walk round the Opera house and back to the hotel via the Botanic Gardens.

Monday night we treated ourselves t oa superb meal at the Moncur Bistro (no relation, it’s named after the street) in Woolhara, and then, rather than brave the cold, curled up in front of the tv in the hotel.

Tuesday, amazingly, the wind had dropped, and it was warm and sunny. We spent our last morning at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which has some quite nice orientalist paintings as well as some early twentieth century Australian paintings (including Grace Cossington Smith’s Sock Knitter, which actually looks a better picture in reality than it does reproduced in an art book) and a nice exhibition of pre-raphelite drawings from the collection at the Birmingham art gallery.

And then, too soon, it was home, back to chilly Canberra.

Usually I don’t like Sydney, it always seems to reproduce the worst of London, with pretentiousness, overpriced pretentious restaurants, crap trains and crowds, but this time I enjoyed it. I must be mellowing …