Dear internet, i’m sorry i’ve been ignoring you.

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Dear Internet, I’ve been a terrible friend.

The last few (*Cough* six) months have flashed by. Our time in Sydney has now come to it’s conclusion. We started off writing about our experiences here and exploring but as time passed, we got jobs and became more rooted. We had settled back into normality. A home from home. Sydney is probably the closest thing I have to a home at the moment. Having parents who emigrated here five years ago and no fixed address of my own I slipped back into a suburban lifestyle pretty seamlessly, even if we longed to live in the city, surrounded by all the trappings of any cosmopolitan lifestyle it was not the financial suicide we were prepared to make. We came here to earn more money to keep going, not earn just enough to pay city rent and drink lattes all day. The free suburban lodgings are hard to turn down when you work out a pokey little flat in a trendy neighborhood would cost $400+ per week. that sounds OK, right? but that’s $20’000 a year.Holy shit, Australia I can’t wait to get back to Asia it’s going to seem even cheaper than usual.

So i’m afraid commuting to work and drinking coffee at weekends does not an exciting blog make, but it does save some money to get places and explore…

We’ve got a few things still to write about from our Sydney adventures and the last few weeks of our time here we shirked work and got amongst it as much as possible, we took day trips, dived, snorkeled and even squeezed in a little wedding & honeymoon. words and pictures coming soon, i’m getting back into the swing of writing.

Whale Beach, Sydney.

Whale Beach, Sydney.

So we’re now into the fifteenth month of our travels and headed to our seventh country in that time as I type we’re flying over the Australian interior en route to Indonesia.

So, whats next? 

We’ve decided on a bit more long term travel, with no real concrete plans. We have a few things we want to do, places we want to go but we’re not going to put ourselves under any constraints. We’re traveling slow.

The rough plan currently (it changes…) is explore Indonesia for around six weeks and achieve a  whole heap of stuff we’ve been looking forward to for a while, seeing Komodo Dragons, visiting Borobudur, potentially seeing some Orangutans in Borneo & checking out some of Malaysian Serawak & Brunei. We’re hoping to be visiting some more off beat places before flying into Singapore and traveling overland north through Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and China. We would really like to check out the Philippines too, but it depends on the flights costs and our general budgeting. Hopefully the later should be easy as i’m planning on being militant with the budgets, spending as little as possible and jotting down all our outgoing in my notebook to work out our daily/monthly/country budgets for the purposes of writing and my own general curiousity.

Everywhere on this upcoming trip is new to us, apart from Thailand (I went to Malaysia as a kid, but i’m not counting it) and even in Thailand we’re going to seek out some new pastures. I’ve always concentrated on the middle and north on my own travels, and Jess has been more of an Island hopper. This time we’re going to see some of the southern islands together and hopefully base ourselves on one for a while and get some serious diving in. I’m also pretty chuffed to be involved with South East Asia Backpacker Magazine providing content and lording it up under the title of ‘brand ambassador’. It’s hopefully going to be a great ride, and will help me to improve my writing skills, general knowledge of this whole blogging thing and who knows, bigger and better things in the future. Dare to dream and all that.

So as I sit here, awaiting our next chapter in what has become an ever increasing collection of highs, lows, memories and amazing experiences I promise myself and anybody who is vaguely interested in reading (hi, mum!) that i’ll be writing more, photographing more; experiencing more & tasting more.

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Australia street food : Meat Pie

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I took the opportunity, at the beginning of our foreign jollys to create this space as a place to write about the food of the world and a few assorted travel tales. That was the idea.

We had a lovely time all through India and South East Asia, eating almost anything we laid our eyes upon; taking photos of it and trying to articulate it in blog form. Then we arrived in Australia and as anybody who reads this with even slight regularity (hi mum) will know, we haven’t been writing about anywhere near enough food, because Australia isn’t really about ‘Streetfood’.

We could write about places we eat, but we normally find out where to eat from established, and excellent Sydney food blogs – usually just the guys at streetfood – So we’ve mostly just resorted to documenting our travels with photographic joie de vivre.

This must and will change, and we will soon ( not that soon) embark on new travels to distant lands where strange and unusual foods are cooked on street corners by cheery looking ladies, who only ask us for a dollar for morsels of explosive flavour and joy.

What is more Australian than a meat pie?

mmmmm…. pie.

Meat pie is an iconic dish of Australia, NSW premier John Carr described it, in 2003 as the “national dish” and Holden produced an amazing advert in the 1970’s which claims Australian people like “football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars”. You have to see it to believe it.

Harrys Cafe de Wheels is, seemingly a bit of a Sydney institution. It’s been around since 1945, and has now franchised out all over the city with several other stores. Wooloomooloo is the original, although not on wheels anymore.

The original pie, a ”Tiger” named after Harry, the owner is served with a mound of rich creamy mash, mushy peas and gravy.

Over the years Harry’s has served plenty of the rich and famous, and many of their pictures are displayed on the outside of the caravan including Anthony Bourdain, Frank Sinatra, Richard Branston, and Harland ‘colonel’ Sanders of KFC fame. Crazy.

This is, I’m ashamed to say our first visit to Harry’s and I’m pleased to announce we shall be making the pilgrimage again. Also, from the tight travellers point of view it’s about as cheap as you’re likely to find in Sydney – $6.20 for a feast.

 

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Instagram, our week in pictures 1st – 7th June.

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It’s June!? I can’t believe it… Summer is (possibly) in full swing in Europe, and winter is starting to kick in here.

This week was mostly filled with more eating, and another visit to Vivid Sydney.

On her day off, whilst I was busy earning a crust Jessica took herself off to Taronga Zoo with her friend, Lee. I have already been on two previous occasions so was pretty glad for someone else to tag along. I think the giraffes here have a better view than most people in Sydney.

We also took (another) visit to possibly our favourite place in the whole city, Gelato Messina.

They take gelato making to another level and get a bit crazy with the flavour combos. This week we tested the apple pie flavour, apple flavour ice cream, with real apple pie pastry, caramelised apple chunks and cinnamon. So nice. They also have an ice cream cake shop and sell a ‘Royale With Cheese’, miniature burger made from ice cream and other sweet creations. Step aside Heston.

We also managed to find somewhere that sells decent Vietnamese pho. Winning week.

Check out our other posts here, & come join us on instagram, our usernames are @jessica__smart & @btone6seven.

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Instagram, our week in pictures 25th – 31st May.

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another week has disappeared and we are fortunate enough to say the Sydney rains haven’t joined us, yet.

Weve mostly been trying to get a chance to check out the Vivid Sydney events. During the cooler off season Sydney puts on a great sensory spectacle of lights, music and installation art – It was pretty good; even with a million people camped out with their tripods taking picture after picture of the Opera House.

 

 

Sydney had been in the grips of fog from the start of the week, and I took this picture of the Westfield tower from our break room at work, i’m pretty lucky to have a view over Hyde Park at the best of times, but with the fog it was awesome.

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The fog

And just some general, everyday pictures of us doing hipstery things such as taking pictures of our food at a ‘Vietnamese tuckshop’ and checking out some art & galleries in Sydney.

Check out last weeks post here, & come join us on instagram, our usernames are @jessica__smart & @btone6seven.

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Instagram, our week in pictures 18-24th May.

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This morning, whilst I was taking the dog for a spin I took some pictures of Autumn, I noted to myself (and the dog) about what wonderful photos I had taken this week and as such declared (again, to the dog) I should create a slot in this little online place for a weekly Instagram update. We both love Instagram (Jess and I; not the dog), it’s fun disposable photography. I don’t have to carry a camera around everywhere and a don’t have to faff about on Photoshop, I can just put a cool little treatment on it and instantly it’s out there in the hipster world…

So partly as a way to make sure we create a post at least once a week (I’ve been very slack in Australia) and as a bit of a ‘here’s what we’ve been upto this week’ kind of thing, mostly for ourselves because it’s nice to look back at photos. Also, I’ve not been writing my travel diary in Australia either; page after page of ‘I got up went to work, ate a sandwich and came home to look a memes and watch re-runs of Criminal Minds’ is really quite uninteresting.

Here is my compromise.

'Extreme Gelato'

‘Extreme Gelato’

So last weekend like typical tourists we went for ice cream in (nearly) winter. Went went to N2, to eat ‘extreme gelato’. It’s a pretty crazy science themed place in Chinatown where the staff were lab coats, and all the ingredients are stored in conical flasks. The ice cream is made to order using kitchenaid’s and some sort of nitrogen – it’s quite the spectacle when the nitrogen is poured in and it looks like some fifities b-movies with fog everywhere; or a Top Of The Pops in the nineties when they had so much dry ice you could never see below anyones knees. The flavours are pretty left field too. We had earl grey caramel & buttered popcorn (with actual popcorn in it!) basically, I can’t recommend this place highly enough. Nomnomnom.

We’ve been very pleased to (finally) find one of our favourite Asian snacks in Sydney. Tao Kai Noi, spicy seaweed snacks are unfortuantely not 20 Baht. Weep.

Lastly very pleased to announce Jessica, the future Helen Levitt of Sydney has had one of her photos featured on the City of Sydneys Facebook page. Riches and awards are to be bestowed upon her forthwith.

The money shot

The money shot

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Sydney’s best markets.

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Sydney has a great market culture, and so much great stuff can be found at them, whether you’re after fresh produce, second hand clothing, artwork, jewellery, books, home wares or something else chances are you will find at one of Sydneys markets.

These are some of our favourites within walking distance of the city.

Paddington

Paddington markets focus on hand made goods. Like Paddington and the surrounding Oxford street areas it’s pretty trendy, young Australian designers and photographers gather to sell their wares.

Things available in Paddington include photographic prints, hand made bags, Jewellery and clothing items. There are also a few food stalls and an indoor café area. The market focuses on the local designers and community aspects. Their website proudly states “You will not find these Australian designed and crafted products in any shopping mall and many of our products are exclusive to Paddington Markets”.

It’s well worth a walk up Oxford Street from the city, there are excellent coffee shops, cafes and book shops on the route and takes around twenty five minutes from Hyde Park/Town Hall area. There are also some excellent Galleries near to the Paddington markets.

Paddington markets are at 395 Oxford Street, from 10am on Saturdays. 

Glebe markets

Glebe Markets showcase a lot of Sydney’s artistic types. Glebe is home to plenty of Sydney’s uni kids and general trendy types so expect to find quirky jewellery, second hand clothes and artworks or home decorations. I’ve been to Glebe Markets several times over the last five years and always find new young T-shirt designers there. Also worth a look, Glebe Point Road also has some excellent cafes and restaurants, and is only a short walk from central station. There is also a good selection of  food stalls.

Glebe markets are every Saturday at Glebe Public School from 10am. 

Sydney Fish markets

The fish markets are never quiet, but whether you’re just after a browse around, some delicious lunch or some produce it’s a great place to people watch. It’s usually pretty packed, and very popular with the tourists. It’s especially busy on the weekends, and make sure you either walk from the city (ten minutes from Darling Harbour) or catch public transport because parking is limited and almost always full.

Sydney fish markets are open every day, from 7am to around 4pm.

Kirribilli Markets

Kirribilli has two monthly markets; the General Market on the fourth Saturday of every month and an Arts and Fashion Market held on the second Sunday of each month. They are both held at the Burton Street Tunnel next to Milsons Point train station. We’ve read that it’s a great place for the fashion concious Sydneysiders as designer bargains can be found here as well as the occasional designer on the way up. There’s loads of clothes stalls on both the Saturday and Sunday markets as well as great food options and live music with harbour views.

Located at burton street tunnel, closest station is Milsons Point but also accessible by walking  north from the city over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. General Markets 7am-3pm & Art/Fashion Markets 9am-3pm.

Chinatown Night Markets

On friday nights Dixon Street in Chinatown turns into an open air market; reminding us of being in South East Asia. There are many open air kitchens selling meat on stick and Asian food treats. There are also stalls selling jewellery, anime USB sticks and Pokemon socks amongst other bits and bobs. The usual hustle and bustle of Dixon street is multiplied by the market browsers and all the usual restaurants being open to entice the shoppers in. Nice lively atmosphere.

Chinatown Markets are on Dixon street, Haymarket from 4pm every friday.  

The Rocks

The rocks market is right in the centre of the hotels area, and as such the stores are generally aimed at the tourist markets.

You can buy all the usual tourist rubbish, wooden kangaroos, boomerangs, mass produced ephemeral items, paintings and drawings of the Sydney Opera House. There are a few basic food stalls and craft sellers but most sellers are focused on souvenirs and the tourist markets.

The Rocks markets are located under cover on George Street, in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge & in the pedestrianized section of Argyle Street. Open Saturday & Sunday from 10am-5pm.

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Sydney’s best parks, reserves and outdoor spots.

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One of the nicest things about Sydney is the amount of green space everywhere, little spaces of calm amongst the city. With so many nice views and a great climate it makes for a good way to spend an afternoon reading a book, or like a lot of sydneysiders a quiet place to hang out and eat lunch.

These are our favourite spots.

Observatory Hill

My absolute favourite place in Sydney to kill time. Sat on the opposite side of the harbour bridge to the opera house it offers a differing view of the Sydney Bay. The view takes in Balls Head, Blues Point, Lavender Bay, Luna Park, ‘That Bridge’, and all the lovely rooftops of the old terraces in The Rocks.

I discovered this space the first time I came to Sydney, and have been coming back ever since. I never get bored of the view, it’s just beautiful with enough background noise from the Harbour Bridge traffic. It’s also close by to lots of lovely old buildings in The Rocks, one of the nicer places to wander around.

Accesible from Kent Street, next to the tennis courts; Watson road (off Argyle Street) or the footpath under the Harbour Bridge from Cumberland Street.

Botanical Gardens

OK, so it’s always full of people whatever the weather but for a good reason! Dating back to 1816, and on the site of the first colonial farm in Australia, It’s full of plant species from all over the world, beautifully manicured gardens, some great sculptures, and wedding parties. There’s also plenty of wildlife including Ibis and Flying Foxes who sleep hanging from the trees in large numbers.

Several Entrances, most accesible from The Sydney Opera House.

Clark Park sercret gardens

Hidden away between Lavender Bay and Clark Park, lies a little green field of calm. Regenerated  by Wendy Whiteley, wife of the prominent and now deceased Australian artist Brett Whiteley. The land belongs to the railway company and was a dumping ground until transformed into a communal garden.  Superb harbour views from the top (as usual) and a secret grotto down the stairs with sculpture art, beautifully designed gardens and picnic tables.

Take a walk along lavender bay past Luna Park, and go up the stairs nearest the toilet block.

Paddington Reservoir

A tiny little space lies in the remains of an old reservoir, a sunken garden. It’s a clever design concept in trendy Paddington, with a tranquil space in the lower, sunken gardens and a grassy reserve on top of the remaining chamber. A great example of modern regeneration and clever, urban architecture.

It’s not a big reserve, but well worth a look if you’re headed to the Paddington Markets, or the Australian Centre for Photography which are all on Oxford street and within minutes of each other.

Nearest the junction of Oatley Road & Oxford Street, known as ‘The Walter Read Reserve’ on Googlemaps.

Blues point

Blues point is on the northern side of the harbour. Nice big green spaces overlook the Harbour Bridge & parts of the rocks including the Walsh Bay Wharfs. It’s a nice spot to sit in the sunshine and relax, or take a picnic. It’s also the home of one of Sydneys more controversial buildings. The Harry Seidler designed Blues Point Tower. Loathed by many locals, it was the first building in a plan of many tower blocks for the area that were never built; it now stands alone, and seemingly out of place on the harbour front.

It’s a nice walk from Milsons point, through lavender bay and onto Blues point.

Most accesible by driving. Can walk from Milsons Point train station, through Lavender bay. one hour (ish)

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Others good spots include…

Hyde park – A favourite with the backpackers and the city workforce. Lunchtimes are busy on a nice day. Also home to the Anzac memorial, giant chess and lots of Ibis.

Bradfield Park – underneath the northern end of the Sydney Harbour bridge, near Milsons point station with nice views of the city at dusk, often busy on nice days.

Shark Island – Ideally located in the middle of the harbour, with no city ferry service. Access via private ferry, kayak or water taxi! See more Shark Island pictures from NYE here!

What’s Your favourite? Have I missed anything?

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