Postcard from Sydney – 2

December 31, 2017

My second ‘Postcard from Sydney’ clearly shows how, when your family is hell bent on having you extract every ounce of joy from your vacation, the sky is the limit. Read on to know how…

It was meant to be a big day – the Blue Mountains & Leura day.

We began the day with a hearty Middle Eastern breakfast – spinach and cheese Pide and some great coffee in the Soul Origin outlet at Wetherill Park.

The Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. We drove leisurely in Shivakumar’s Subaru SUV through lush green stretches, passing the gentle Hawkesbury River. It was a carload of people and conversations. When it started drizzling, Shiva pulled back the sunroof of the SUV exposing the glass roof and like kids, we were excited to see the rain falling steadily on the glass and forming new shapes.

Malini began singing monsoon songs from old Hindi movies. It was magical. We could go on and on, forever.

We reached the Blue Mountains. We were at the Echo Point from where we could get a sweeping view of the dramatic scenery. From the top, in the deep valley, we saw hundreds of miles of trees – it stretched out for as far as one could see. Our reason for the visit was right there, jutting out: Three Sisters, the sandstone rock formation. We stood there in awe, taking everything in. There are several bushwalking trails around the Three Sisters – our son, Sid, has already been on one such bushwalk trail and wants us to join him on such a trail on our next visit to Australia. We have said, yes.

We headed to the quaint town of Leura. In 2016, Leura was named in the list of the top 50 most irresistible, exotic, historic and postcard-worthy small towns in Australia. Every nook and cranny in Leura is worth a snap. The historic Post Office building is now a news agency.

We walked through the town, stopping every now and then, peeping into shop windows selling bric-a-brac. The main street reminded me of the Mall Road at Shimla. We stopped to have fresh juice made of carrot, celery, green apple and ginger. All the cafes were bustling with people, many of them with dogs. The sheer variety of dogs that people own merits a separate post.

In the evening, we had guests over. Malini’s brother, Vas and his wife, Gia, with their two dogs, Rafa and Sanza were home. Shiva donned his chef robe and cooked some amazing Italian dinner – baked vegetables, parsnip and spinach salad, tomato and basil salad, garlic rosemary potatoes, olives and feta cheese with rosemary and potato bread.

We have known Vas for a long time and the conversations went on till the small hours of the morning. Vas sings well too and we had Malini and Vas singing in the karaoke format. I had recorded my whistling on the karaoke format on the previous day and was sufficiently encouraged by the family to perform again. I whistled Asha Bhosle’s old Hindi song, ‘Jaaieeye aap kahaan jayenge’.

Rafa and Sanza also joined the audience. What a lovely evening!

The next day was almost a full day at Terrigal Beach. We left in the morning from Pemulwuy but the heavy traffic took us about a couple of hours to reach Terrigal Beach. It was meant to be a leisurely walk. I settled down at one point for my writing while the rest of the family went into the water. On the way back, we stopped at a cafe in Woy Woy and I watched a boat being winched there – my share of Higher Education continued. We returned home, tired.

The next day, we moved to Sid’s home. The idea was to explore more of the city since he lives at Annandale, nearer to the center of the city. Annandale is conveniently located near the bus stand and a 10-minute walk from the beautiful Stanmore train station.

Sid’s flatmates are an artist-therapist couple. The flat is very artistically done up. Jonathan, the artist, is multi-talented. He comes from a family that is heavily into music. Jonathan also plays many instruments. He is an artist who creates works of art using the angle grinder. He has created Sid’s portrait using angle grinders. It looks quite unnerving to watch Jonathan work – highly risky, it is like working with a high-speed chainsaw.

In my next postcard, join me on the Sydney city tour, on our particularly long walks – we are walking, on an average, about 12 kilometers every day. Join us on the train, bus, light rail and particularly on our ferry trip to the beautiful Manly, hanging out at the iconic Opera House, visiting Sid’s workplace at The Brain & Mind Centre, his University of Sydney quadrangle, and our food circuit that passes through several cuisines – Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Australian, Japanese, Mexican and of course, Indian at Surjit’s…so much for the senses.

Wish you all a very Happy New Year!

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  • Shanker Subramanian says:

    Super descriptive!!!! Ramanan….. Could get the ‘feel’ of it!!!!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜β€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈπŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ™‚πŸ™‚πŸ™‚πŸ™‚πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€— Thank you for sharing this.

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