Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sydney Australia

I Just spent a few days in one of my favorite places. Sydney, Australia.


What a treat. Ever since I was a little kid and learned about Australia, I've been fascinated with the culture, geography, and people of Australia. I took my first trip to Sydney in July of 1999. Just before the 2000 Olympics. I toured some of the Olympic venues as they were being constructed and learned my way around the city. Over the past 9 years, I've traveled back and forth numerous times and managed to make some friends and find some great eateries and places to hang out. I've spent time at the beach and even played a few rounds of golf. I've traveled to the city of Melbourne, Australia a few times but that's been the extent of my travel around the continent. I do look forward to seeing more of the country at some point.



Just recently, I made it back down under. While there, we met up with some folks from the "Bush." What a trip that was! Let me start by saying that the "Aussies" love their booze. I didn't even try to keep up. It was a no-contest event. And I've been down that road before. Trust me, hangovers and jet lag don't mix very well. So instead of over-indulging in spirits, I asked lots of questions of my hosts. In the process I learned quite a bit about New South Wales, and Queensland. Seems to me like they've got lots of critters down there that can make your life miserable if not end it. Snakes, crocodiles, spiders, jellyfish, sharks, and more. (See a list of Australia's 10 most dangerous animals by clicking here) Just chatting with these folks put me in the mindset of the movie Crocodile Dundee. It was funny listening to these ladies describe how they routinely kill one of the most dangerous snakes in the world, the brown snake, with an instrument they called a waddy. Silly me, I thought the word "waddy" was some made up name for this weapon which in their case was a lengthy piece of PVC pipe that they used to "whack" the snake. Turns out that the word -waddy- is another name for an Australian Aboriginal war club. Check it out - I looked it up:

"A waddy is a heavy club constructed of carved timber. Waddies have been used in hand to hand combat, and were capable of splitting a shield, and killing or stunning food. In addition to this they could be employed as a projectile as well as used to make fire and make ochre. They found further use in punishing those who broke Aboriginal law."

These "Bush" people possessed a rugged but simple spirit which included a strong nationalistic undertone. While they seemed to admire America and Americans, they expressed a healthy opposition to our commercialism and pace of life. They all lived on and owned large plots of land, anywhere from 25 to 300 acres and enjoyed passing the time by working in the yard, sitting by a big bonfire, and staring at the stars in the sky for hours. Sounds like being on vacation huh?

I must say - they earned my eternal admiration!

So in addition to socializing, I was able to snap some nice photos of Sydney and the Opera House from the air.







A shot of the Harbour Bridge from my hotel room



And a shot of some contrails, clouds and an airplane as the sun rose coming home







When I'm in Sydney, I do have a few favorite restaurants. One place I usually try to hit for dinner at least once is the Belgian Beer Cafe. I love the great selection of Belgian beer and the warm and friendly atmosphere. They offer a full compliment of entrees but I usually opt for one of the following:
Siam Mussels: $24.90 (AuD) Cooked with Red curry, Thai Basil and finished with coconut cream.
Or
Tintin au Congo Mussels: $24.90 (AuD) With coconut cream, lemongrass and chilli.


















The steaks and chicken are also very good and the desert menu is decadent. I'm a fan of the:
Belgian Waffle $13.50 AuD

Served with 'Callebaut' warm chocolate sauce, mixed berry coulis and vanilla bean ice-cream
If you're adventurous, be sure to try the kangaroo or the rabbit on the menu. I haven't tried the Kangaroo yet but I hear it tastes like chicken - only a bit more tender and gamy.

7 comments:

Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

Hello there... just checked out your blog after you visited me today... intrigued to see your summation of "bushies" - not bad. Plenty more variation out there, of course, but a good start! Glad to see you love the same kinda eating venue as my hubby and I - Belgian Beer Cafe in Brissy rocks too. Nice pics of Sydney from the air though. Remember there is more to Australia than the cities... the real bush happens about 5 hours away from any centre...
Cheers
Bush Babe

intrepidideas said...

Thanks Bush Babe for your comment. It's nice to hear from a real authority. I'd love to get out to the "real" bush for a bit. I also hear the "Gold Coast" is very nice. I'll be back in Australia later this month. Save some nice weather for me.

Tamera Daun said...

Sounds really exciting! I'm glad that you had a nice time, and great pics. You'll have to take more for us on your next trip. I love looking at travel pictures.

intrepidideas said...

Thanks Tamera,

Believe it or not, I'll be headed down under again really soon. I'll look for some good shots.

josey said...

i LOVE the last photo. those are the kind that can only be captured in a quickly fleeting moment...beautiful!

you find out the most interesting stuff! hehe. you really need to start keeping track of your trivia...you could make a new version of trivial pursuit one of these days! ;)

oh and the belgian waffle sounds like HEAVEN!

intrepidideas said...

Thanks Josey,

That last picture was a "lucky one." I just happened to be looking out the window with camera nearby. And trust me, the Waffle is scrumptious. Perhaps a nice reward for you as you continue to reach your goals... You know I'm backing you all the way on your journey.

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