My birthday present this year was a trip to Sydney to see the First Emperor exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales before it closes in a couple of weeks' time. As we're on a very tight budget at the moment a trip was almost out of the question until we realised we could take advantage of dearest husband's 'points'. Because he travels with his job (sometimes) he racks up the points and this time they proved very useful! We got the hotel free and the flights free (including taxes), and as the hotel couldn't give us the grade of room appropriate to husband's membership status we were compensated with free breakfasts for all three of us. Additionally, we were able to use our 'Country' membership of the Art Gallery of New South Wales to get two free tickets to the exhibition, saving another $30... so all we really had to find was food, and we ate very cheaply in Chinatown to save money.
It all worked out really well, apart from our visit to the trendy eco-cafe Greenhouse by Joost up at the Rocks, which was disappointing to say the least. I've been a fan of Joost since reading an article about his own home near Melbourne in one of the many house-building magazines we subscribed to while designing our own home. It was interesting, then to see that he'd taken his engaging personality, love of networking, passion for recycling and sustainable development and ability to get people to work together and had put together an eco-cafe down in Melbourne and now another one in Sydney. Anna, friend and wife of our architect, alerted us to the Greenhouse and so we made a special trip for what we'd hoped would be a good coffee as well as a nose at some very hip and happening design. Well we got a look at the architecture but sadly no refreshments: our achingly hip waiter clearly didn't think we were desirable clients, which perhaps wasn't surprising given how UN-hip we are... The gay couple who arrived after us and ordered after us got their food, ate it, paid and left. The uber-cool MCA maven who flirted with our waiter got her food, ate it and flirted some more. Darling daughter and I had enough time to draw AND paint the interior of the cafe before I managed to catch the guy's eye and ask when our drinks and food might be arriving. Nothing happened, so after well over 45 minutes we walked out. In passing I managed to catch the attention of the tall, blond, cool dude who was clearly "in charge" (Joost, was that you...? Looking at your website, it turns out it WAS you!) and said we had to leave. He expressed his horror at the time taken to (not) fulfil our order, but we had to go as dearest husband had to be somewhere for a meeting. And that was that. Big shame, since we're clear fans of sustainable design and would have loved the chance to swap stories about solar power, recycling and whatever else with you. So I can't recommend ordering anything from the cafe, but the concept is very interesting!
Anyway, enough of the chatting, here are the photos: the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, (love that Art Deco architecture!) cheeky cockatoos in the Botanic Garden, dressing the part in the Chinese Friendship Garden in Darling Harbour, avarious city scapes (sorry, I'm a sucker for a good reflection) and the Turbine Room at Cockatoo Island, in no particular order. There's even a photo of me in my Indiana Jones "Tilley" hat. What more could you ask for?