Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sydney Aroma Festival

Sydney Aroma Festival, largely reputable for the numerous brands of coffee showcased , hence the name aroma. It is held annually in The Rocks right next to the Sydney Harbour. It attracts a significant sized crowd every year as one would imagine due to the popularity of coffee in Australia. Coffee is the main attraction, but it also boasts a huge variety of food and beverage stores to perfectly match your cup of coffee. We arrived there early in the day, ready for some coffee loving. Beautiful overcast day perfect for photography, having been trapped in my dry cabinet for a while, I decided to grab my A850 with a 50mm 1.4 for the day for some full frame goodness. We grabbed some waffles with chocolate sauce for breakfast, very tasty with the slightest hint of crunch on each bite, fluffy and full of flavour inside. Browsing through the stalls one by one we started from the Circular Quay train station and went all the way to the tip of The Rocks under the Harbour Bridge. The scene was amazing, jazz in the air, celebrity chef from Ready Steady Cook Damien Heads on the barbie, persistent aroma of coffee in the air, camera in hand, what more could I ask for.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Three Sisters, Echo Point Katoomba, Jenolan Caves

A week ago my sister asked whether we want to go out somewhere for some activities with the family because her husband was not on call for work. A few things outdoorsy popped up in my mind, cycling, picnic and bush walking. While trying to decide on a location and activity Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains seemed to satisfy few of the reqirements, somewhere not too close and not too far, outdoor with some activities. We haven't been to the Blue Mountains for quite some time. It's an excellent choice for a cool Winter visit. Checking the weather forecast revealed a beautiful day with comparatively warmer temperatures of around 10 Celcius. But this could hardly occupy the whole day since my family isn't big on bush walking, there are magnificant walking trails around the Blue Mountains, anyone visiting should plan ahead of time and prepare, anyway so I had to look for other activities within the area.
We stayed there for a little under an hour and took some photos before heading out the Jenolan Caves for a prebooked River Cave tour. Jenolan Caves is just over an hour from Echo Point away from Sydney. A wonderful guided tour of the caves for about two hours, lots of knowledge and history of the caverns, it is the first limestone cave discovered in history. It is one of the biggest in the world, listening to the tour guide telling us about the discovery of the cave by three explorers. It was mind boggling, standing there within the caverns, now it's lit by electricity, back then there was nothing but candles. Slippery rock surfaces, sharp deep decents, underground river system. I couldn't even start to imagine the hellish conditions the first explorers endured through these caverns. Something to appreciate and certainly worth the $40 price tag.
Coming back to Sydney by around 7pm, we decided to eat out and my sister picked out a packed little Korean restaurant in Strathfield for some kimchi lovin'.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Adriano Zumbo

On the way back to collect the car we were pleasantly surprised that we had to make a trip to Adriano Zumbo due to a promise made by my sister to my nephew for his good results in school. Same as his other stores, there was a selection of desserts from orange to chocolate, but the star of the show still is the macaroon. It's amazing how much he can charge for these small portioned desserts and more amazingly the amount of people willing to pay for them. It's just astonishing what television can do for you. To be honest it may not be the best tasting macaroon in the world, I've tasted macaroons from Japan and Paris, both tasted better than what Adriano provides and the one from Japan price wise was on par with him. What's more is  that this store was in the middle of the high shopping district of Ginza. Products are afterall priced at what people are willing to pay, so there's nothing to complain.

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FOUR POINTS by Sheraton

Buffets, everyone knows what it's all about and everyone has had a few in the past, but everytime we go to a buffet we always come out surprised. Surprised by what you may ask? Mostly surprised at the amount of food that we can stuff into our stomachs. Everyone starts off strong and agressive but soon, very soon like ten minutes into the buffet, we usually start to regret what we already tried. Twenty minutes into the buffet and you would start thinking about dessert and the nice bottomless ice creams. By the  time your through the cakes and pastries and before you had gotten to the ice cream, you should be feeling half sick and consider letting loose in the lavatory. Somehow we usually still manage to squeeze in the ice cream and then moments later, maybe just a little bit more of the more expensive stuff like prawns and oysters. Packed to the brim and certainly to the extent that's physically possible, we finished our dinner and headed home.

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Sydney City Walkabout

We had a dinner arrangement for a buffet at Sheraton hotel in the City. Since we don't travel to the City much these days, we decided to go out for the whole afternoon for a walkabout. It was a cooler day than I had expected. Dry air, piercing winds, I clenched onto my scarf and other hand in my pocket trying to linger onto the small amounts of warmth that my body was able to generate in such conditions. After lunch my body was much more able in dealing with the cool climate, however I was readily amazed when I see women walking around with tiny skirts and paper thin pantyhoses, they usually had their arms folded in front of their chests and looked thoroughly chilled  to the bone, they still insisted fashion over comfort, kudos to them.

We had a few hours  to spare and we decided to visit the bookstore 紀伊國屋書店 (Kinokuninya) in Townhall. Reading is a great favourite past-time and we just love browsing in huge bookstores. Would be awesome to have a huge collection of books in my own place one day. After a few hours, and with the purchase of two select books we headed out for dinner at Four Seaons.

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