Returning to Sydney has always been a dream ever since my first visit to this lovely city in 2004, so imagine my excitement and delight when I discovered that I need to make a trip there to wrap up some matters for an ongoing web project.
My first impression of this city where majestic Victorian and other architectural beauties of a bygone era take pride of place next to modern sky scrapers was that of a laid back cosmopolitan capital. I’m glad that not much has changed yet there were improvements and new features added that made this city a really easy and tourist friendly one. Nearly every attraction is within walking distance from where I was staying in the city centre this time round.
My friends from work took me to a few classy dining establishments, one being the Cantina, and another was Glass restaurant at the Hilton Sydney. Real swanky … that one. On another night, a dear colleague brought me to Paddington Five Ways to this charming French restaurant (whose name I’ve forgotten) where we had a wonderful dinner.
When I’m done with the meetings on Friday, I took the monorail down to Darling Park, bought a ticket to HP movie at IMAX and just enjoyed the spectacular 3D effects of that, by now, famous finale at the department of mysteries. After the show, I took a stroll around the harbour and the park, just to soak in the cheery atmosphere – it’s the weekend and Sydneysiders came out to play, so the park was pretty lively even at the late hours of midnight.
Saturday morning dawned sunny and bright. After a quick breakfast, I checked out of my hotel room, lodged the luggage with the concierge and started off on my explorations. My first stop was at an Internet café where I posted that little fly-by hello before I head out to Hyde Park for a little outdoor sun and nature. I also left my bookcrossing item on a park bench before walking on towards Oxford/ Paddington.
Nope, I didn’t make it to either Paddy’s or Paddington market. I was sidetracked by all the lovely shops up on Oxford Street. The window displays are really something, not to mention the eclectic fashion and the tempting accessories and boot out on sale.
But first, I had a mission to fulfill. In search of gifts for the kids, I wandered into a bookshop and picked up The Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones for my daughter and a short reader for my son. I also spent a long time browsing, but managed to stop myself from adding any more books, as I’ve already bought The Long Tail by Chris Anderson on my way to Sydney. This wasn’t the only bookstore I passed, there were several others and they were all sporting promotional posters and bookstands pushing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
By the time I settled in a cute little café for lunch, it was almost 3pm and time to start back to the hotel to pick up my stuff and head towards the airport for my flight. So I began a leisurely walk back to Pitt Street, only I got sidetracked this time round on reaching Hyde Park. I detoured to Elizabeth Street and George Street to see if there were any shops open that I could get some other gifts, but my luck ran out. The sky was turning ominous then, so I decided to head back to the hotel. Just in time too, as the sky opened up when I reached the hotel.
Claiming back my bags, I hailed down a cab and embarked on my journey home. At the airport, I had some time to kill while waiting to board my flight, so I wandered into the bookstore and that impulse that I managed to suppress on Oxford Street was unleashed. I left the shop with quite a few rare finds: White Tiger and Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan, as well as The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, which I’ve been searching for. I was intrigued by Alexandra Potter’s Me and Mr Darcy, so it made its way to my bag too.
It seems that no matter where I travel, I can’t stop adding more books to my collection, so I promised myself that I will try to curb that urge on my next trip. The flight back was spent reading Anne Stuart’s Ice Blue, but more on that in another post.
My Sydney sojourn, though short, was sweet and I will be back one day to explore more of its other scenic precincts. Freezing weather notwithstanding, Sydney really is a city for all seasons. I’ve already visited it in spring and winter, it’s only natural that I experience summer and fall here too. So long Sydney for now. Stay lovely as you are and I hope one day to reacquaint myself with you.