Traipsing the Inner West

April 23, 2007 at 12:48 pm | Posted in Australia, General, Out and About, Sydney | 1 Comment

On Saturday I took a ferry to Balmain (Thames St) to try and see as much of the inner West as I could before leaving Sydney and in so doing I’d at least finish checking out the inner city.

In Balmain I walked along Darling Street checking out the various shops along the main street before settling down at the Circle Cafe for some crepes and coffee for breakfast. This establishment is just off the street and you pass through its leafy couryard before entering the cafe itself. The cafe appears to have some sort of relationship with the Uniting Church, I’m not sure if that makes the food better or worse. My mocha was reasonably standard but still needed a few sugars to become sweet enough. The crepes with maple syrup and banana were tasty, a little bit crunchy but that contrasted well with the squishy texture of the banana. Throw in the sweet maple syrup and it was all very choice.

Balmain has a small town feel in a big city environment and what with all of the cars and people you can’t completely detach from Sydney but you do lose sight of the city skyline and skyscrapers resulting in a different vibe to similar high streets located within the inner city.

I continued walking through deserted streets, which is a very disturbing feeling coming from the hustle and bustle, until I reached the Lillyfield Metro Rail station which I took to Glebe station. This was my first time on Sydney’s light rail – something I’d generally equated with being a tourist (so now seems like a good excuse). I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and efficient the trip was and amused by the quaintness of having to buy a ticket from an on-board conductor.  

Lillyfield (2)
I wonder if “300” inspired the tipping of the vending machine?

In Glebe I made my way to the markets. I’m not one for markets but I’ve been told it’s quite alternative so I thought I’d give it a go. Wandering through the stalls didn’t change my perspective on markets but if you like this sort of thing I would encourage you to come because it covers a reasonable amount of space and there seems to be a wide range of products on display.  There was also live music and a large-ish grass patch for people to just sit around and eat. Having a common area like this contrasts with all the other markets I’ve been to in Sydney which seem to use up all available space for the stalls.

Glebe (4)
Some dodgy house in Glebe 😉

After the market I went to Sappho cafe on Glebe Point Road for another mocha (Badde Manors was full). Sappho was also very busy and there was about 20 minutes delay before I got another standard mocha. On the plus side this gave my legs a chance to rest and the staff were all very friendly.

After Glebe I walked into Newtown along King Street and ate at Guzman y Gomez, a place Grab Your Fork reviewed a while ago, although I couldn’t recall what was said. I ate some beef tacos and they were ok and call me a bogan but I was kind of anticipating a shell taco rather than the soft tortilla. I guess I don’t know anything about Mexican cuisine.

I’d been to Newtown before but only at night so I was planning on taking this opportunity to check out all of the shops in the area. I think I’d set higher expectations than the reality. While there are numerous food outlets, clothes and books there wasn’t anything in particular I couldn’t access closer to home. Is this being snobbish or inner city elitist?

King Street, near Enmore Road, Newtown.

Newtown (3)
Newtown Courthouse

Next stop was up through Newtown to Camperdown, through some random park, before arriving at my old University – University of Sydney – to trade some of my games and DVDs with members of my old kendo club as part of the big sell up and move extravaganza. I haven’t been back to training for almost a year but fortunately there are still quite a few I know and they’re all as friendly as ever. We made our way to Market City for dinner and hung out for a bit before going our separate ways.

How is it that the Master Builder’s Association is located in this building?

University of Sydney (1)
The University of Sydney.

University of Sydney (8)
University team playing rugby and winning.

I have to admit by the time I returned home I was knackered and fell asleep on my bed/couch/table whatever you want to call the only piece of furniture I have left. This is a little bit concerning for my future travels but I’ve got 2 weeks to improve my fitness. That’ll happen.

Like learning languages…man, I’ve been slack with that. I’ve now got 2 weeks to learn traveller’s basic Japanese. I think I’ll end up procrastinating till the flight over – that should be enough time. Right? Right?


April 23, 2007 at 10:44 am | Posted in Australia, General, Out and About, Sydney, Travel | Leave a comment

I took the ferry to Taronga Zoo a few weeks ago and walked the short distance to the chair lift which provides a nice birds eye view of the zoo (including the elephants) below. I’ve been to any number of Australia wildlife parks but Taronga is my first “real” zoo featuring more than just native flora and fauna. There are certainly a good variety of animals from the region and the world but I had assumed it would have been at least 50-50 between Australian-Foreign creatures not the 75-25 level. Granted for tourists coming to Australia it would be an excellent opportunity to see a snapshot of Australiana.

I enjoyed the chance to see the lions, giraffes, gorillas and even the mountain goats – even if some were less than active. Walking around the park was pleasant with not nearly as many people as I’d anticipated which made it pretty easy to get around. Buying the $3 map and guide is a reasonable purchase particularly when you’re on a tight timeframe.

I had anticipated spending a good chunk of the day at the zoo but after arriving at midday I was pretty much done by 3 (this was without seeing any of the shows and just looking at the exhibits). During the last half hour I’d been hankering for a burger, Coke and fries and arrived just before 3 at the food court to the burger joint named “Tarongas”. While waiting in line they put out at a sign saying they close at 3PM. Shocking. On the other hand I saw many families bring their own picnics to eat within the grounds and overlooking some spectacular views of the city.  

With that disappointment in mind I walked back down to the ferry and took another pleasant trip across the harbour and finally got my burger at Burgerlicious.

Overall, Taronga Zoo is an enjoyable experience, providing both Australian and international. Your best bet to get there is by Sydney Ferry and when you buy your ticket you can get your zoo pass at the same time.

Taronga Zoo (29)
The Thinker.

Taronga Zoo (10)

Taronga Zoo (2)
Nice view!

Taronga Zoo (30)
Big Mac?

Taronga Zoo (7)
Good Balance

Hugo’s Lounge

April 14, 2007 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Australia, Food, General, Out and About, Sydney, Travel | 1 Comment

I suffered a huge disappointment at Hugos the other day. Having heard any number of comments about Hugo’s I decided to finally try it out and on a overcast Sunday a few weeks ago I made my way in and out again after receiving singularly the worst service I have ever had in Sydney. I watched as the people on either side of me had the staff speak with them, had waiters and waitresses pass by and despite there being limited patrons I sat forlornly waiting for service. I called out and waived at the waitress to no avail as she stood at the edge of my table – was I invisible? Distasteful? Uncouth? Not “it” enough?

Failing to attract any attention, I got up and left. Returning to La Buvette for some quality service and food.

Therefore, unfortunately I cannot comment on anything at Hugos but would not recommend you try it. Avoid this noxious establishment.

Yiazmat and other swear words

April 10, 2007 at 1:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

As part of the move I’m selling almost everything – including my PS2 (which goes tomorrow), this precipatated a rush to complete Final Fantasy XII and this in combination with a cold, increased ativity at work (with 2 weeks to go, why?) and organising things has left me tired and out of sorts.

Granted, playing a video game isn’t the best reason but it was fun and visually stunning – one of the best I’ve played in a while – although I did find the story less than compelling a just a tad reminiscent of Star Wars. If you’ve played it (and got all your marks) you know the pain and long endurance needed with Yiazmat. It’s not exactly fun but certainly a sense of achivement when it’s defeated.

 Luckily I’m back now. At least until I’m in transit and without easy access to a PC.

What have I done? It’s official, let the freak out begin!

April 10, 2007 at 1:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I’ve officially picked up my ticket and will now be leaving from Brisbane on 7th May for Tokyo before finally arriving in London on 18th May to begin the hunt for a job, accommodation and friends. While I haven’t finalised my flight from Sydney it’s probably going to be 1 May.

And yes, I am freaking out just a bit. While I’ve timelined and spreadsheeted everything (geek?) and know that, as long as I do it, it will get done (unless I procrastinate….), it is still, for me, a major move and the relative unknown can be quite daunting.

Oh well, time to get on with it.

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.