Saturday, July 07, 2007

Strange things are afoot at the Circular Quay

Yeah, we know, we promised: no more pictures of that captivating and photogenic structure that dominates the Sydney skyline ... We've seen the Opera House from every angle and at every time of day. We've seen it from the ferry, from the Harbour Bridge, from Taronga Zoo and from Campbell's Cove. We toured it from the inside on the Fourth of July, when we went to see the Barber of Seville and earlier that afternoon, we gazed at it from a restaurant at the end of the wharfs of the Circular Quay (coincidentally called Rossini, and home to the most wonderful panzerotto, a donut filled with cinnamon-scented sweet ricotta cheese).

But we haven't spent all of our time in Sydney standing agog at the foot of this architectural wonder. Oh no! We've also walked among the fishes at the aquarium at Darling Harbour. We've spent lovely afternoons strolling the beaches and watching the surfers at Manly and Bondi. We've toured the Rocks and shopped the Paddington markets. We've visited the impressive collection of modern Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. We've sipped a few beers at a few charming pubs and thrown back some extra-schmancy cocktails at the Victoria Room in Darlinghurst. We've had coffee - really excellent coffee.

And we've been careful to stay well fed. On our very first night in Sydney, we supped at the hip little trattoria across the street from our flat, feasting on calamari Sant'Andrea; a light, creamy al dente risotto; a fork-tender braised pork ragout; and a pair of exquisite cheeses, all from a blackboard menu scribbled in Italian. Over the weekend, we lunched at a speakeasy overlooking the Campbell Parade and Bondi beach. The tasting menu included a sweet, babaganoush-y grilled eggplant dip; a well-balanced rocket salad with dried cranberries, cashews and radish; more calamari (it's a thing); and grilled kangaroo (!) on a bed of creamy mashed sweet potato.

All told, we've been having a really excellent time. It's weird, though, to be so far (nearly ten thousand miles) from home and to find ourselves in a culture that seems so familiar. Still, it's an awfully pretty country.

We're off to points (further) south; more pictures of our exciting adventures in Sydney (and surrounds) are available here:

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