fortieth birthday sydney trip - day three

taking the ferryacross the harbour to luna park
Today I done walked my feets down to stubs... which you would think we would have avoided after the long walk back last night in uncomfortable shoes, but we're gluttons for punishment clearly.

We're not really getting up and out of the hotel as early this trip as we have in the past. Mostly that's down to me and my body clock not being quite so highly strung. I did attempt to get myself organised earlier this morning, it just didn't quite work out so I think it was around 8 by the time I made it down to Ma's room, but then we sat around deliberating and discussing The Lion King from last night some more.

By the time we headed down to Circular Quay it was about 8:30, so we hopped on the next ferry headed for Luna Park to have breakfast on the other side of the Harbour.

ripples breakfast... and there actually are eggs on the left therenot quite the view from breakfast... but this was taken right outside the cafe
Former blogbuddy and now tweetbuddy Tom pointed me in the direction of Ripples, next to the swimming pool, so after some brief wanderings around the mostly unopened Luna Park and a bit of a jaunt down under the bridge, we headed back that way. Which makes it sound easy, and it might have been if a) I'd been paying more attention, b) Ripples had better, or in fact, any discernible signage and c) if the Google map on their website didn't show them being half way up Olympic Drive on the opposite side of the bridge from where they actually are.

We did find it though... but by that time it must have been closer to 9:30, so the café was a tiny bit crowded. We did get a table without too much fuss though, and if we both sat on the same side of it (which we did) we could see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge at the same time, so that was nice.

Breakfast was really, really tasty. I had the Ripples Breakfast, which was egg, bacon, toast, mushroom, tomato and rocket but added hash brown to my order... and I was pleasantly surprised when my order came out with two hash browns on my plate. I also tend to order poached eggs when we’re on holiday or just generally eating breakfast out on those rare occasions. I think it's because it's not something I make for myself ever... or the few times I've tried it it hasn't worked out especially well.

just your average neighbourhood viewout for a saturday morning paddle
The eggs from Ripples were really nice... possibly a little small, but delicious. In fact the whole breakfast was delicious... the toast/bread was nice and chewy, but still light, and there wasn't that sheen of oil over everything like there can be in a big breakfast. I'm still judging every coffee on this trip against the one from Fellini, but the one from Ripples was pretty good.

After breakfast we went on a general wander down to Kirribilli (well, as far as the ferry station anyway) and then up the hill into North Sydney. We circled around until we got to the bridge and I left Ma downstairs in the shade while I climbed the stairs (she's not good with stairs) up to the Harbour Bridge and wandered along the pedestrian walkway until I got to the Bridge itself.

I always forget that all these enormous iconic structures have a mundane everyday purpose, and there are people for whom this is not only their backyard (waves at Tom) but their running track, their way to work, a necessary evil in their day... while at the same time, me and about a billion other tourists are trying to photograph the living hell out of it.

steel corridorwalking the bridge
That's a little how I felt about the bridge... when you get right up close to it you can't see its iconic shape... and what you can see is distorted by perspective and your relative closeness to it. However it does allow for some breathtaking views of the harbour.

It is a bit of a hike to get to the bridge from where I left Ma, and as always the walk back seems longer and much less interesting than the walk there. When I got back to Ma we headed under the bridge and back down to the harbour and then back past the pool.

We didn’t have any real plans for the rest of the morning other than to generally explore that side of the harbour, so we wandered along the foreshore towards McMahon's Point. Not with any real intention of getting all the way around, just having a look at what was there. And photographing the boats in the bay, naturally.

may gibb's banksiamanyellow banksia
We also found all of these little statues on plinths along the path... I'm not completely sure what the story was or why they were there but there were famous Australian children's book characters like Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, The Magic Pudding and his friends and Ginger Meggs amongst a range of others.

When we got around to the base of the bay we decided we'd gone far enough, and headed back to the ferry.

And there must have been something about us today because a woman came up to us to ask us something about the ferries and then later when we got on the ferry I was giving advice to English tourists like I lived here.

pool with a viewearly morning swimmers
Oh and we also witnessed a photoshoot for the new Opal cards... so, Sydney, when you start seeing photos of a couple in their 20's/30's, a couple of tweenaged kids and a couple of old folks all brandishing their Opal cards at the ferry station outside Luna Park, just know that I was right behind where the photographer was.

And because we'd bought a return trip ticket, instead of just heading back to Circular Quay, we took the rest of the ferry ride around to Darling Harbour before circling back to the city.

Once our feet were back on terra firma we wandered around to The Rocks Markets. A bunch of the food stalls from yesterday were still around, but I really liked the look of the skewers... so I grabbed one chicken and one prawn along with a chunk of grilled cinnamon pineapple non a stick. Oh my god, they were so good... especially the pineapple.

rocks market food on a stickrocks market peaks
There's never very much stuff of interest to us in the markets, but we wandered around anyway... I bought a couple of felt monster magnets for my fridge and Ma grabbed a keyring from the same stall to put on her backpack... the Opera House keyring she bought on a previous trip and had on there seems to have gone MIA. I haven't noticed it the whole trip, so I'm assuming she left it at home for some reason.

We also went to take a look at the place we got our watch pendants back in 2011. And because I'm a sneaky SOB, I took mine out of my shirt as I walked around the stall, and the guy we spoke to last time noticed it and chatted with us briefly, asked me if I wore it all the time, that kind of thing.

Nothing else really caught our eye, and by that point we'd been on our feet for about seven hours so we wandered slowly (for us anyway) back to the hotel for a rest before regrouping and working out what to do for dinner.

barangaroo cranesblack watch tower
As I was sitting here I kept noticing that the sky was getting greyer and greyer and when I checked the weather app on my phone I could see that the rain was about to roll in over Sydney... then the thunder started.

When I realised that I could actually see the storm rolling in between the buildings opposite the hotel (the best photo of the storm clouds that I saw has to go to Le Gateau Chocolat!), I messaged Ma and told her to come down so we could watch the storm from my window (since her room faces a different direction)... first there was cloud, then some rain, a bit of thunder... then the heavens opened and the rain and lightning started in earnest.

It was impossible to photograph well, but I did my best from the balcony, then as the rain picked up, swivelled around the big easy chair, gave Ma one of the other chairs and we sat and chatted while the rain fell.

storm clouds gatherthe rains are here
Then once the sun came back out and the rain slowed down, Ma headed back to her room to let me finish up my blog post and so we could wait for the rain to stop before we went out for dinner.

We'd decided on dumplings for dinner and since I've been allowing social media to assist me with my food choices for this particular holiday, we headed up to World Square to visit Din Tai Fung which somebody mentioned on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. It's the same place that I've been slightly obsessed with in the Westfield Sydney food court, but it's always seemed far too busy.

And it seems slightly stupid that we would take such a long walk from the hotel to World Square, after essentially taking the same walk last night, and doing all that walking today. But essentially that's what we do on holidays. Like I said yesterday, I would go insane taking a holiday that required me to sit around and do nothing all day long. Also, we were both wearing comfortable shoes this time, which makes a difference.

fish n sipsfuzzy hats
There were a few people waiting for a table when we got there (a lot of their outdoor seating seemed to be out in the elements and still wet from the storm), but I told the girl at the desk I didn't mind if we were sitting inside or outside and also didn't mind sharing a table if we were inside. Essentially whatever lies I needed to tell to get a table faster.

Places like Din Tai Fung are a little daunting for people who haven't been there before... I mean Ma and I have done dumplings, but the little paper menu she handed us wasn't overly helpful... especially given they also had a larger colour menu with little pictures of all the food on it. But we didn't get one of those.

If I gave ratings to eating establishments, they would definitely get an 8 for the food but a 4 for the service. We weren't offered any water, the girl didn't put the soup we marked on the menu on our initial order, the staff were hard to understand or didn't seem to understand what we were saying... it was a bit problematic.

canvas boat in lavender bayjogging by clark park
But, like I said, the food was really good. We had, in no particular order... shrimp and pork wontons in tangy sauce, vegetarian Jiao Ze, a pork bun and a vegetarian bun and two small bowls of hot and sour soup. I really, really like hot and sour soup... although I'm glad we had it at the end of the meal because we wouldn't have been able to taste anything else for the rest of the meal.

We also shared a container of their Dumpling Gems... seven different naturally coloured and flavoured dumplings... and these were absolutely the star of the meal. The flavours were imaginatively named Seafood Diamond (pink), Citirine Cheese (yellow), Ruby Bolognaise (red), Topaz Corn (orange), Emerald Green (green), Onyx BBQ (black) and Sapphire Garlic (purple)... and each one very much had the taste that the name suggests (the emerald one was just greens... the same stuff that was in their vegetarian dumplings I think).

After dinner we walked back along Pitt Street since we've been very focussed on George Street this trip, and I know from yesterday that George is full of people on a Friday night, and made the assumption it would be likewise crowded on a Saturday. Pitt on the other hand was fairly quiet.

playtime under the bridgeviews of secret gardens from the bridge
As we got down to King Comics, I wanted to pop across the road to take a look in their window, so I suggested that Ma take a look in Elizabeth's Second Hand Books which is opposite the comic book store so that she wasn't just standing around on the street by herself while I dashed across the street.

King's window didn't take that long, but there were more than a few things that I was all "oooh" about... however when I went back across the street I did find a second hand copy of the Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke in Elizabeth's for the low, low price of $5, so it was a good thing we stopped off.

The rest of the wander back was uneventful, other than watching the very tall young man get his much less tall friend to carry him in his arms for about four steps for seemingly no apparent reason other than general drunken high spirits. We shared a wry smile with the other couple of people who witnessed it and continued on our way.

bundeena curvedeck chairs... geddit!
Oh, and while I've been sitting here finishing off this post, I heard fireworks... I have a very attuned ear to them since they were always going off around my old place but I could never see them... now in the new place I just need to go to the bedroom window... so I had a look out of the hotel room window, couldn't see anything... a quick Google search revealed there are fireworks every Saturday night in March over in Darling Harbour.

Now I know it's nice that Sydney wanted to celebrate the month of my birth, but somebody could have told me... we could have detoured over the hill on the way back...

Ah well...

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