02.02.19 – first visit to circular quay + sydney opera house

We spent the morning walking through Carriageworks farmers market, which is just a few blocks away from our apartment. Carriageworks houses studios and art galleries, but on Saturdays the outside stall fills to the brim with vendors selling everything from fresh vegetables to pastries to flowers. It was by far the largest farmers market I’ve ever been to. We strolled through the bustling crowds, and though we anticipated visiting just to scope it all out, we walked away with a packet of cultured butter (it tastes just like brie cheese!) some produce, and I also may have snuck in a chocolate croissant. I really enjoyed being able to walk somewhere so close by to do our shopping, and it reminded me of my weekend trips to the sant'ambrogio market in Florence.

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Afterwards we walked back to the Broadway Shopping Center and picked up some more things we found we needed for the apartment - an extra blanket, bath towels, moisturizer, chocolate caramel koalas. You know, the essentials.

For lunch we snacked on our first slice of vegemite toast – which is also likely to be our last slice as well. We both agree we’re not fans.

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For Christmas this year, Tyler surprised me with tickets to see a ballet at the opera house, and the performance also happened to fall on our dating anniversary. We put on the nicest clothes we packed and made our way to Redfern Station for the first time, a five minute walk down the road. We had already picked up Opal Cards (which FYI, are the best public transport system I’ve ever encountered) the day before from a shady convenience store. I was nervous as mine wasn’t actively showing a balance on the app, and was relieved to see the green screen flash that my card had been accepted. The gate slid open to let me through to the trains, and we made our way down to platform seven and waited for ours to take us to Circular Quay (pronounced key).

The ride over is only about 10 minutes, and I was amazed by how relatively empty the train cars were for a weekend. In fact, everywhere we had been in Sydney thus far had been rather quiet, and I was starting to wonder where everyone in the city was. When we got off the train at Circular Quay I had my answer.

As soon as we stepped foot outside the station we were surrounded by mobs of people, locals making their way through and tourists stopping in the middle of traffic to take a selfie. The CBD (central business district) is currently decorated for the Lunar New Year, and this was causing especially large backups as everyone waited to take a photo with their corresponding Chinese zodiac balloon.

As we rounded the corner the harbor bridge came fully into view. A few more steps and the opera house was also in our sights. It was hard to comprehend that I was witnessing one of the most iconic views in the world.  

Tyler and I walked over to the Opera House, stopping along the way to play tourist and take our own photos. I was amazed how enormous and beautiful the building truly is. We picked up our tickets from the box office, and made our way to the Opera Bar to kill some time before the show. We clinked our glasses of champagne to six years together and to this amazing adventure, and then ate a few local oysters while looking out over the harbor. I had been curious about the molluscs of the pacific, and they were without a doubt the best I’ve ever had.

We took a few more photos in from of the opera house and found our way to the theater and our seats near the front (nice work, Tyler). The performance was an hour long contemporary piece based on Neil Hilborn’s poem, “OCD”. Performed by L-E-V Dance company of Israel, the ballet was more intense than I expected, the music at once coming on so loud I jumped in my seat. Nonetheless we were both transfixed, as was everyone else in the room, and I was startled when the curtain fell and realized the show was over and that the full performance had elapsed.

After the show we went to Golden Century for dinner, a restaurant I had bookmarked long ago after seeing David Chang mentioning it as his favorite spot in Sydney. We shared the famed Pippies in XO Sauce, but the real winner of the night was Peking Duck for Tyler and Prawn Dumplings for me. More than anything we loved watching all the various sea life in the tanks which lined the windows. Every few minutes a waiter would run over, pull a net down, and scoop out some other prehistoric looking creature. We made a mental note to come back another time for dim sum, and headed out into the night, feeling satisfied with our meals and the perfection of our quintessential Sydney tourist experience.

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