Stopover in Sydney

Oh what a wonderful whirlwind our trip to Sydney was. Jon and I had never been to Australia and had finally found the perfect excuse to go! Our dear friends were pastoring a church in Brisbane and had invited us to come stay with them for a few days. Of course we booked a flight that would take us via Sydney for a quick taste of Australia’s capital. Let’s just say that every day  since then, we’ve been daydreaming about the flat whites and searching for a good excuse to move there.   

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Bonza Bikes

Hopping on a bike is a great way to explore Sydney on your own or with a tour group. We opted to forgo the tour and to go on our own little adventure. We rented the bikes for a couple of hours and with a few tips from the guys at Bonza Bikes, we managed to cruise along the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, and few quaint streets around The Rocks.

http://bonzabiketours.com/

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Sydney Opera House

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Indigo

This has to be by far, my favorite brunch spot to date.  Ever since the day we flew out of Sydney, I have been reminiscing over this amazing meal.  If you are in the Double Bay area, you MUST TRY this restaurant.

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Here’s what we ordered:  Smoked salmon with asparagus & poached egg on top of a sweet potato cakes; Coconut Bircher topped with almonds, yogurt, and passionfruit salsa paired with a cup of strawberry hot chocolate; Spanish omelette with chorizo, prosciutto, feta cheese and olives; Cornflake french toast served with mascarpone & poached fruit and paired with a strawberry banana milkshake.

http://indigodoublebay.com/

Double Bay to Bondi Beach

 We wanted to walk from our hotel in Double Bay to Bondi Beach. I google mapped it and discovered that it was a 20min walk or a 15min cab ride. Taxi’s are very expensive in Sydney so we decided to just leisurely stroll our way there..only to find out that it was mostly uphill and the route for the famous City2Surf fun run in Sydney. Let’s just say that we ended up hiking our way to the beach. Thankfully, God took our foolishness and turned it into something memorable! We got to walk through the residential areas and by some quaint boutiques we would have never come across. It was a nice look into the laid-back, family-friendly, Australian lifestyle.

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Bondi Beach

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Hurricane Grill

A few people recommended that we try Hurricane Grill  for their mouth-watering ribs and we were certainly glad we did. This restaurant can be found all over NSW and is great for a nice hearty meal.

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Streets of Sydney (CBD)

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The Coffee Culture

We arrived in Australia fully aware of the fact that we were about to become “coffee snobs.”  It is said that because of the large Italian immigrant population, Australia has developed a coffee culture of its own. Aussie’s are known for having invented the Flat White and for perfecting the art of folding their coffee. They take their coffee-fix very seriously and beware- it’s contagious.  I admit that we might have gotten a bit carried away. We savored quite a number of flat whites, piccolos, and long blacks on a daily basis. Not more than 5 cups a day, I promise.

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One of our favorite coffee spots was ROMOLO at the Strand Arcade. Within the bustling Sydney CBD, and amidst an array of iconic boutiques lies this contemporary coffee shop. It was the perfect place to pause for a flat white and admire the Victorian-style shopping arcade.  Perhaps it was the Italian vibe and ambiance that made this cup of coffee taste especially memorable.

http://romolo.com.au/

Queen Victoria Building

Located right at the heart of the Sydney CBD lies the Queen Victoria Building also referred to by locals as “QVB.” It was erected in the 19th century and is known for it’s Romanesque architecture. Today this historical site is a popular shopping center and tourist attraction. It is a gorgeous building that is worth admiring from inside and out.

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T2

In between the many cups of coffee you’ll be having in Australia, you may want to consider squeezing in a fragrant cup of tea. T2 is an Aussie company that is now popular all over the world. I recommend dropping by one of their boutiques to sample some of their extremely unique teas and consider taking home a couple of boxes to enjoy when you’re miles away from Sydney. We brought home a variety of teas to give as gifts and everyone loved them!

http://www.t2tea.com/

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The Deck

Our good friends (the Velasco family) took us to a lovely restaurant at Milsons Point with a magnificent view of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. It was the a great dinner spot for a quiet evening followed by scenic stroll along the water.

http://www.thedecksydney.com/

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Allegro

We got up extremely early for a nice breakfast of steak pies & flat whites at Allegro. The August air was crisp, complimenting the warm pie and creamy cup of perfectly folded espresso and milk.

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Double Bay Market

As we continued to stroll around Double Bay, we were stopped in our tracks when we accidentally came across the organic food market. This might have been the moment Australia stole our hearts. With everything from organic chocolates, turkish cotton towels, antique jewelry and a mobile espresso van- there was much to love about this market. Jon and I particularly fell in love with the child-friendly atmosphere and the warmth of the people selling things that they were undeniably passionate about.

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Our favorite find from the market was Poetry Fine Food’s Almond Buttercrunch Toffee Chocolates! Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a few boxes if you ever come across this stall.

https://www.facebook.com/poetryfinefoods

InterContinental Double Bay

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Jon and I aren’t ones to splurge on fancy hotels when we travel but this trip was a bit of a special case.  Thanks to our good friends (and travel buddies) Mike & Jo-e, we got a little taste of luxury at the InterContinental in the Double Bay area. The rooms were beautiful and had a wonderful view, while the location was great and the service was impeccable!

www.intercontinental.com/Doublebay

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Twenty One Espresso

On our first day there, we took our cue from the concierge at the hotel who recommended we try a nearby restaurant to quickly satisfy our hunger. Though we ended up having traditional Swiss wiener schnitzel for our first meal down under, we had no regrets. It turned out to be a fantastic meal.

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In 4 short days, Sydney climbed  way up high on my personal list of travel destinations. I thought Australia was an extremely beautiful country. The people were warm and friendly and the pace of life seemed so perfectly balanced. It felt like they really embodied the “work hard, play hard” attitude. The CBD was modern and bustling just like the rest of the world’s major cities, but by 5pm it was time to switch gears. Everyone was ready to hit the beach for a surf or to head outdoors to enjoy life with family and friends. We just loved the atmosphere- slow but not too slow & fast but not too fast. It was hard not to fall in love with the quality of life that caught a glimpse of.

Sydney, we hope to see you again soon.

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