I’ve been snapping away. Here are a few pictures of Sydney Harbour for your viewing pleasure:
I’ve been snapping away. Here are a few pictures of Sydney Harbour for your viewing pleasure:
Tonight, the Hubs and I are off for a lovely harbourside dinner and then we’re on to the Sydney Theatre Company to see the comedy, Concussion.
Tomorrow, my bestie (as the Aussies says) and her husband arrive in Sydney and will be with us for a week long whirlwind visit of Sydney. Can’t wait, yay!
Have a lovely weekend, everyone!
One of our favorite things to do out of Sydney is to head to the Hunter Valley, Sydney’s wine country. It’s just a short two hour drive from the city and the perfect weekend country escape. We made sure to visit some of our favorite wineries including Gartlemann, Ivanhoe and Piggs Peake.
Gartlemann is a small boutique winery nestled in Lovedale. On the day we arrived, they had live music playing on their outdoor patio. After a tasting inside given my the winery owners, Jan & Jorg Gartlemann, we grabbed a bottle of sparkling shiraz, ordered a cheese platter and enjoyed the music on the patio.
Ivanhoe is another boutique winery that has the quintessential winery location with the idealic scenery of rolling hills and vineyards with nothing else around. Ivanhoe is one of the very first wineries we ever visited when we first went to the Hunter Valley back in 2005. Every trip, we find ourselves going back again and again.
Piggs Peake, while not having the greatest country setting and a rather off-putting name, is another boutique winery which by far produces the best wines we have ever consumed. The House of Bricks Shiraz is outstanding and our absolute favorite. While we were in Sydney, we were members of the wine club and we made sure to always get a case of the House of Bricks Shiraz delivered to our door. This time when we went back, the winemaker, Steve, (who remembered us, yay!) had just released the 2008 House of Bricks Shiraz and of course we had to snap up a case immediately.
Steve was also kind enough to take us back to where he makes the wine and showed us some of his processes. He was in the middle of making zinfandel and allowed us to press some of the grapes and taste it. He had recently added sugar the mixture allowing it to ferment. It tasted really good!
Of course after tasting all that wine, we needed to fill up our bellies and so we went to our favorite place in the Hunter, Leaves & Fishes. It’s a unique, sylish, family owned establishment producing top quality cuisine. It’s chic without being pretentious and is always our go-to place when in the Hunter. Of favorite thing to get there is the seafood platter of prawns, oysters and crab complete with a trio of dipping sauces and a bottle of local wine. There’s nothing finer than dinning on their outdoor patio on a glorious weekend.
We were in heaven the entire weekend… so relaxing… ahhhhh.
I snapped a few pictures of the sun rising above the Opera House on one of the first days we were here. Jet lag had us waking up at 4:30am so off for an early walk and brekky we went.
A few shots later on in the day:
And here are some city views of the Opera House:
When Paul and I went to the Hunter Valley this past weekend, we had to hire a car and drive ourselves there. We hadn’t driven on the opposite side of the road in over a year so at first it was a little daunting especially trying to get out of the city during peak traffic on a Friday.
Fear not, thanks to the Hub’s superb driving skills, we arrived safely without any snags. I was the designated navigator and speed camera spotter. In NSW, they have speed cameras all along the roads in which if you are going above the posted speed limit, you are automatically ticketed. I hate speed cameras and personally think they cause everyone to slam on their brakes as they approach the cameras whether or not they were speeding or not. Most of the time, everyone goes with the speed of traffic but at times, that can be faster than the posted speed signs. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not crazy drivers who speed all the time. We keep up with traffic and like I said, some times it’s a little faster than the posted limited. So, Paul drove and I had my eyes peeled for cameras. Time will tell if my speed camera spotting paid off or not.
After I let the Hubs break in the driving a bit, it was my turn to give it a go. I drove back from the Hunter Valley to the city. I did well even driving over the bridge but of course, I went through a toll booth that had no toll taker so I had to then ring the RTA and pay my toll fee over the phone. They have a service where you can do this within 48 hours without getting a fine. So, it’s paid, the car was returned to the rental agency and all went well for our first overseas driving adventure in almost a year.
The Hubs and I are back in Sydney after spending a lovely weekend in the Hunter Valley. We sipped on gorgeous wine and noshed on delicious Aussie seafood platters. The weather continues to be warm and sunny with a gentle breeze. Overall, it was a fine weekend, in deed.
We visited some of our favorite wineries, including, Gartlemann,
They are each wonderful and deserve a separate post of their own, which I will eventually get to.
I haven’t been posting many pictures just yet because I decided to leave my laptop at home in the US. Instead, I am using internet cafes when needed, therefore, it makes it a little difficult to get the pictures up and running. I promise, there will be some pics soon.
I am feeling better today. I’m still not completely well but definitely on the mend, I hope. Despite not feeling the greatest, I refuse to be cooped up in our flat when it is so lovely outdoors. Last night we saw Mozart’s Magic Flute at the Opera House. It was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Tonight we leave the city for a weekend trip in the Hunter Valley with a stopover in Terrigal along the Central Coast. The Hunter Valley is Sydney’s wine country and we’re looking forward to visiting all of our old, favorite wineries, again. Of course we’ll be purchasing some wine and I cannot guarantee that it will all make it back to the US. We have to enjoy the fruits of our travels, ha! We’re also having dinner at two of our favorite places, Leaves and Fishes and The Letterbox. It should be a lovely weekend for us both.
I hope everyone else has a lovely weekend, too!
I’m feeling slightly better today but still not completely well. I mostly crashed all day yesterday and this morning has been rather blah. I’m hoping I start to feel better soon as the Hubs and I have tickets to the Opera House tonight to see Mozart’s Magic Flute.
Since I had plenty of time to kill yesterday while I rested up, I of course turned on the tele and got caught up on all the world and Australian news I’ve missed. In case you’re curious what’s newsworthy down under, here’s what’s making the headlines:
A Healthy Sugar?
Australian scientists have created the world’s first Low GI Sugar. The healthier alternative to white sugar hit the Australian market on Monday.
Girl Taken By Croc
A 12-year-old girl swimming with friends in a Dariwn lagoon has been taken by a croc.
Shake, Rattle and Roll
The state of Victoria was rattled yesterday when a 4.6 magnitude earthquake struck. It’s the second earth tremor this month.
Australian Made… No More?
Despite Australia’s constant campaign to buy Australian and keep jobs in Australia, the iconic Aussie Digger’s slouch hat could be made overseas.
Cash for Crims
The Australian Government is giving out their own stimulus payments of $900, however, Crims (criminals) may also be eligible to receive a cheque, too.
And that is what is happening in OZ.
I haven’t even been in Sydney that long and I’ve already “taken ill,” as the Aussies say. I woke up in the middle of the night last night feeling awful and experiencing lots of pain in my stomach. So, off to the doctor I went first thing this morning. Don’t worry though, I’m not dying. No, instead it appears to be some horrible bacteria infection… ack!
I always find going to the doctor here to be an interesting experience. Using the medical system here is nothing like going to the doctor in the US. There is no nurse to take your weight, blood pressure or ask questions about your medical history. There is no need to get dressed in to a smock and take your seat upon the exam table. In fact, there isn’t even an exam table- just a desk and a chair for the patient. In some ways, it’s fine because you get in and you get out fast. But sometimes, I wonder what if something was really wrong… what then? There are no blood tests, no lab work or x-rays… how can the doctor be so sure he/she has computer diagnosed correctly?
Anyway, like I was saying how it works here is you just rock up to the doctor’s office and wait your turn to be called. The doctor calls you in and you take your seat next to his desk and you tell him your issues/symptoms. He then types them in to a computer that generates a list of possible illnesses one could have. (I liken this process to what many Americans do and self diagnosis one’s self using Web MD.) I wait for the computer to tell me what’s wrong and wait for the prescription to be printed from the computer and I’m on merry little way.
I have to admit, I often find myself wondering if this guy who’s typing up my symptoms is even a doctor. Of course he must be, but seriously… it’s just a bit bizarre to be diagnosed by Web MD, Aussie style. He doesn’t even have to use his medical knowledge to come up with a diagnosis on his own!
Well, hopefully the doctor has diagnosed me correctly and the antibiotics will cure whatever ails me. I definitely do not want to spend my time here being sick! Ok, time to go rest for a bit.
We made it to Sydney! Everything is going well and we’re enjoying our time here. We love being back and often find ourselves contemplating skipping out on our return ticket and staying here! Just kidding… kind of!
Anyway, we have a lovely apartment in the city. It’s a little different being right in the CBD compared to when we used to live on the Lower North Shore. It’s fun though and we’re enjoying taking the ferry to all of our old haunts in Kirribilli, McMahon’s Point and Milson’s Point. The weather has been gorgeous. Sunny, warm- it’s just perfect.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day so Happy St. Paddy’s to all. Cheers! I’ll be sure to pop on again soon.