Friday, November 9, 2012

Tea Cosy

I still have to finish the Australia posts and add photos so fingers crossed that will happen tomorrow. For today though (because I've been at work for 12 hours now and want to go home asap) a picture of my latest finished project.

The pommy flatmate knitted one side and I the other + the icord. It's in Stansborough Mythral and because we're displaying it at work, they kindly sent me the yarn gratis.

Such a quick and easy project. Might use some scrap yarn to make one for myself with the same pattern.

Photo: Check out our new tea pot cloaked (get it?!) in Stansborough Mythral.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sydney Part 2

*Photos to come*

After a seven course dinner the night before, we started off Sunday morning with a walk into town and across the harbour bridge. I didn't see the point in forking out for the official bridge climb when there's a free pedestrian walkway with the same spectacular view. Under the bridge on the North side was a craft market. One stall in particular took my attention and I wish I'd taken photos. This woman from the Central Coast was selling gorgeous cupcake tea cosies and knitted 'The Very Hungry Catepillar toys'. What a cool idea!

We took the ferry back to Circular Quay from Luna Park. There we headed to one of the oldest pubs in town, in the Rocks, for a kangaroo and lemon myrtle pie - part of the Coopers Ale Pie section of the Food Festival. It was pretty tasty. I can safely say I'm a kangaroo meat convert. Also I'm pretty sure lemon myrtle is a native Australian plant so it was an interesting (and very Auzzie) mix.

Katy had to head back to the airport that afternoon so after I dropped her at the train station I checked into a different hostel in the heart of the rocks. Mainly I chose it because it has a rooftop terrace that'd give me a easy vantage point to see the Opera House all lit up at night. The view did not disappoint.

I whiled away that afternoon sitting outside the Opera House with a glass or two of bubbles and my knitting, watching the cruise ship leave port and ferry after ferry departing. The people watching was fascinating. So many people both there and around the Rocks that afternoon were having wedding photos taken. I stayed sitting there until the sun sank behind the harbour bridge. I really loved this city.

I also took a stroll through the Rocks market that afternoon, namely to find the corn on the cob I saw so many people walking around with. It was a favourite street food in Peru (and doesn't feel like such a guilty snack - bonus). Oh my gosh, it did not disappoint! Slathered in butter with spicy chilli on it too...somebody needs to start selling that in Wellington!

Monday morning I made the most of my work discount and checked into Rydges for a night - purely for the luxury of a bath and a sleep in a MASSIVE bed. Check in sorted, I headed out to Blacktown on the train to visit the Ferndale wildlife park conveniently also owned by the same group. Staff discount - woo! 

I spent a few hours there transfixed by the wallabies and kangaroos (there were some seriously large joeys trying to fit into not-so-large pouches), stroked a koala (or two) and saw all the typical animals (tazzie devils, crocodile, all the birds, wombats, echidnas etc etc) in a much more personal way than behind the glass of Auzzie World. It was a serious trip highlight. I didn't mind in the least when I missed the bus and had to stay an extra half hour. Cup of tea while sitting on the ground next to a friendly wallaby - hell yes!

I did have to rush back to town though as I had dinner booked at the Hilton. Yes, you heard read that right. I was about to do my second Peruvian degustation dinner in three days. This one was done by celebrity chef Luke Mangan and a Peruvian chef that has a couple of restaurants in LA. Delicious doesn't really cover it.

The dinner itself took me out of my comfort zone a bit. I don't mind going places by myself but this particular dinner was communally seated. At my table they were all at least a decade (or two, or three) older than me and very very successful - owned large companies kind of successful. I felt slightly inadequate when they asked what I did and I had to say well, I am a manager at a cinema. Ah well. We were all there for the food and after some initial awkwardness the conversation and wine flew freely. Perhaps it was because of the wine that the conversation flew so freely haha.

Each course came with matching wine - mostly from Argentina. Photos to come. It was a great evening and I enjoyed both degustation meals a lot. The thing I love about modern Peruvian cuisine (and I am very passionate about it) is that it takes the elements of pretty simple and humble street/home cooked food and transforms them into something quite different - sophisticated and chic but still very true to its roots. If that waffle makes any sense.

I didn't plan the night in the hotel very well though as I didn't get to sleep in the next morning. Instead I did a quick spot of souvenir shopping, in a yarn store of course (Morris and Sons). So. Much. Pretty. Yarn. There was a whole wall of Noro and a lot of Peruvian and Italian yarns. I ended up taking home a 300g of yarn in total, which I thought was pretty restrained. Oh and a little owl cross stitch kit too.

 Then it was on the train to the Blue Mountains. I spent most of the ride balling up the yarn I'd just bought.

The Blue Mountains I'll save for the next post...

Sydney Part 1

*Photos to come*

Well I very nearly didn't make my flight to Auckland to start off with. I'd booked with Jetstar and despite having flown with them before and knowing their check in rules, this was the first time I received an email from them on the day of my flight with the first sentence saying 'you have selected auto check in'. After reading that my mind thought that I was already checked in, so when I finished work and left for the airport, I skipped the whole check in process and went straight through security. It was only when they started to board the flight I realised I had no boarding pass. Whoops. Luckily they bent the rules a bit and let me on.

After a night camping in the airport, I slept the whole way over to Sydney. When we landed I expected sunny skies and warm temperatures. Instead it was pouring down and 9 degrees. Brrr. I hadn't packed for that! Our plans for that first day ended up being perfect for the weather. We visited Auzzie World and the Aquarium, both at Darling Harbour and both indoors. Both were good opportunities to get up close to all the animals you think of when you think 'Australia'. Kangaroos, koalas, dugongs, salt water crocodile, sharks, snakes... I couldn't spot the platypus though.

We stayed the first couple of nights at the YHA near the railway station and on the same block as a wee cafe selling Colombian street style food. That was the first of many yum meals. I think I spent most of the holiday eating, suprise, suprise.

Of course as soon as I forked out for an umbrella the rain disappeared and Sydney put on a gorgeous afternoon. We headed to Circular Quay to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House - we took photos of each other in front of them of course, like proper tourists.

That evening we headed to Hyde Park for the Friday night noodle markets - part of the food festival. Oh my god, was that food good?! I haven't had much experience with Asian food so it was fun to a little something from several of the 50-odd stalls that were there. I tried peking duck pancakes, bbqed octopus, prawn on betel leaf, tapioca pudding, bbqed corn, dumplings, steamed pork and duck buns etc etc. I'm definitely a convert. There were chairs and tables set out and fairy lights/lanterns in the trees. I had a glass of wine (Katy had a sip of her's before the wind dumped the contents over the grass). It was a really awesome night out.

Wiped out, we headed to bed rather early. The next morning we headed out to Bondi Beach to do the Coastal walk to Coogee. I'd packed my togs but it was still windy and pretty cold so I skipped a dip in the waves. The walk was great - taking us along the cliffs past several small beaches, some with salt water swimming pools. All up I think it was about 6km - not a bad walk in jandals.

The afternoon we spent looking at some shops in the city and then it was time to head back to the hostel to get ready for dinner. We ate at Morena, a modern Peruvian restaurant. It was the reason I wanted to go to Sydney. My parents shouted us the degustation menu each (with matching wines for me) for my birthday present. I hit a quarter century next month. The photos don't do the food justice at all. I didn't want to use the flash as I thought it might disturb the other guests.