Texture can evoke memory. I’ve not used a paper straw in years. But here in Sydney at “The Tea Cozy” they’ve given me a paper straw and the taste and texture of it bring back childhood memories. We’re having tea and scones in “The Rocks,” the quarter where Sydney started. The scones are traditional with Devonshire clotted cream. But being Australia the tea is iced served with frozen berries. “The Tea Cozy” has a basket of yarns and needles at each table and the invitation to join the “Communal Knitting Project.”
We also had tea and scones in the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in the Central Business District. The QVB is one of those brick, iron and glass arcades that became popular after the Chrystal Palace exhibition in London in the mid-19th century. There is clear glass for the roof and stained glass on the sides. Here the scones are also served with Devon clotted cream but the drink is a very well prepared cappuccino.
Sydney seems to have a London complex. The names, Kings Cross, Oxford Street, Bayswater, Hyde Park, Paddington and New York Pizza all evoke London. New York Pizza is at Bondi Beach, is sold by the slice and is better than London’s New York Pizza, although it still lacks enough oregano. The pepperoni is properly spicy.
Our visit to Sydney was more a fieldtrip than vacation. There is so much to see and only two days. The fieldtrip was complicated by construction going on everywhere. Apparently Sydney does not believe in phased construction. They are doing the light rail all in one go, meaning main arteries are clogged with construction. They are putting new cuts into curbs for wheelchair access, which means that right and left turn lanes are blocked, and many buildings are under renovation or demolition and reconstruction. We were in Sydney on a Saturday and Sunday and it’s an indication of how slow the traffic was that each 90 minute loop of the Hop On/Hop Off bus took two to three hours to complete without any hopping. But hop we did.
Despite the traffic there is something absolutely charming about a city that has baskets of yarn on tea shop tables and where people will stop what they are doing to line up along the terraces at the Opera House to watch a sunset behind the Harbor Bridge.
By the end of our two days we explored The Rocks, Circular Quay, the Opera House, the Central Business District, Bondi Beach, and Darling Harbor. And we rode both hop on circuits. Sydney is preparing for two big parties, Mardi gras, which here is an annual “Gay Pride” event. It started with fewer than 1000 people participating; now it’s a big community event with commercial companies flying the rainbow flag with their corporate logo overprinted. The second big party in February is Chinese New Year, welcoming the year of the dog, with lots of cute dog pictures.
The pictures below are miscellaneous shots of Sydney from the bus and from on foot.