Sydney Things-To-Do List

Sydney Wish List

I’m counting down till Christmas holidays when I go home to spend some time with the folks and the rest of the clan. I’ve already started my Sydney list of things to do and I’ve got to Number 8. Some are old favourites and others will be a completely new experience. Please do chip in with recommendations – especially Sydneysiders, tell me about your hangouts !

1. White Rabbit Gallery. I’ve only visited the gallery once, but I thoroughly enjoyed the well-curated exhibition of contemporary Chinese art.  After you’ve walked up all the floors, stop by the lovely teahouse, and sip lychee iced-tea under the hanging birdcages.

2. Govinda’s. This is an old favourite for a curry and movie night on the large cushions.

3. Mr Wong. We went to Mr Wong for the first time during a Good Food month and thoroughly enjoyed our modern dim sum lunch. We’ve since decided to make it a habit.

4. Coogee Pavilion. I was looking for a lunch place with a sea view and found this reviewed on Not Quite Nigella, which incidentally is also my favourite blog for food reviews and food photos.

5. Sydney Festival. I usually miss the Sydney Festival, but this time I’m home, albeit only for the first days. Yay! I quite fancy some (more) circus cabaret.

6. New Year’s Eve fireworks. I don’t know what we’re doing yet exactly, but we’re going to be there for the countdown and firework display.

7. TreeTop Adventure Park. We love the treetop adventure courses and can’t get enough of whizzing through the trees on flying foxes. We haven’t been to the one in Newcastle yet. The kids are taller now so height isn’t going to be an issue. Everyone gets to go on the adult course.

8. Taronga Zoo. This is the zoo with the fantastic harbour views and it is our perennial favourite. We’ve previously been on one of the personal tours into the private enclosures and it was an amazing experience. An emu trod on my toe while I was visiting. These days there are also summer concerts and there’s a new treetop adventure called Wild Ropes. And I saw that you can get up close and personal with a giraffe !

~ Spotted Cow

Note. Except for Mr Wong, the images have been gratuitously plucked from their respective websites.

Istanbul 2/3rd day

New Mosque sign

This is what I’d do on a roaming around day in Istanbul if it’s a repeat trip. It’s a two-third day because I walk everywhere and inevitably I’m shattered by the time it’s mid-afternoon. So, here’s my top 5, assuming you’ve already visited the granddaddies, i.e. the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia.

1. Coffee and cake at Edebiyat Kiraathanesi. In my case, it’s tea rather than coffee. But here’s what swings it. They have a 100-page cake menu, in addition to the rows of lusciously glazed tarts and cakes that line their shelves. You’ll need all that energy to fuel the walking.

2. Shopping at the Grand Bazaar.  You can get all your Turkish souvenirs here. There’s a lot of tat, but there’s also interesting and good quality stuff. On my last trip, I bought some beautiful hammam towels to use as rugs to wrap up in the British winter.

3. An aromatic stroll through the Spice Bazaar.  I always pick up some chilli flakes – pul biber, which I think is the medium heat one. They vacuum pack it for you so that the clothes in your suitcase don’t end up smelling of chilli.

4. People-watching on the steps of the New Mosque. The “New” Mosque dates from the 16th century. It’s a good place for taking a breather and watching the children feed the pigeons.

5. Walk across the Galata Bridge and grab a fish sandwich for lunch. Locals cast their fishing lines off the bridge at all times of day, and you can grab one of the famed fish sandwiches on the opposite bank. Either get one from a stall or sit down at an open air restaurant and be served. You can guess what I chose !

All the photos here were taken with my phone camera because I wanted a carefree day. The results weren’t a bad compromise.

~ Spotted Cow

Strawberry tartHammam towelsSpice BazaarPigeons at the New Mosque New MosqueFishing off the Galata BridgeFish sandwich

Seville, in August

Seville bullring and bullfighter statue

In the last week of August, I went to Seville. I love Seville and I’ve been more times than I can count, with various friends and family and different times in the year.

This time, I did a flamenco dance course with the inimitable Pastora Galvan, whose hip swivels, shoulder shrugs and backward bends left me both frustrated and inspired by the end of the week, not to mention the lighting footwork and razor-sharp finger snaps.

I didn’t take my camera because I spent 3+ hours every morning in the school, and then there was the necessary eating, showering and cooling down afterward. The afternoons were stupendously hot – on two days it was above 40ºC – and the sun was intense. I stayed indoors, flat out on the bed with the air-conditioning on full blast. So, no pictures, apart from the few that I’ve taken on my phone.

The Slow Pace girls gave me a list of eating recommendations – thanks ! I wish I could have got to all of them, especially Abades Triana which they wrote about on their blog. The heat got the better of us. Next time. It was difficult to narrow down, but I’m going to put my Top 5 eating/drinking/flamenco tips from this trip.

1. Ena, the terrace bar at the Alfonso XIII hotel. Calle San Fernando, 2. The Alfonso XIII is a beautiful old world hotel built in the mudejar style. I didn’t stay here – I wish ! – but we had sunset cocktails on the terrace bar, sitting on comfy cushions against the lush setting of the gardens.

2. El Rinconcillo. Calle Gerona, 40. A really lovely traditional bar and restaurant with hanging hams, a long wooden bar, and beautiful tiled walls. We had Sunday lunch in the salon. My favourite dish is the espinacas con garbanzos or spinach with chickpeas. Theirs is Sevillian style, fused with plenty of cumin.

3. Casa Morales. Calle Garcia de Vinuesa, 11. A traditional tapas bar, just south of the Cathedral, where you sit among large terracotta earthenware jars. It’s small and gets crowded quickly at lunchtime. The menu is on the blackboard, and the wait staff will tell you the day’s special. On the day we went, it was arroz con carrillada, or rice with Iberian pork cheeks. Delicious !

4. Victoria Eugenia. Calle Cuna, 2. A restaurant that seems to specialise in cod dishes, because that’s what made up much of the menu. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve eaten here even though I saw later that the tripadvisor reviews were mixed. This time it was cod croquetas and artichoke hearts with cured ham. So good ! It’s a couple of doors down from the Casa de la Memoria – below – which is handy after watching a flamenco show.

5. Casa de la Memoria. Calle Cuna, 6. There are plenty of flamenco shows in town, but Casa de la Memoria is my favourite because they have good artists, so you’ll always get a good show even if you don’t know who they are. This is where I first saw Pastora Galvan years ago. It’s a lovely intimate venue and there are two showings a night at 19.30h and 21.00h. Also, they don’t make you buy a food and drink package, which I think is a bonus.

~ Spotted Cow

Spanish finger food

Monthly Wrap : May 2014

Top Five

Here’s the list of our top 5 posts for May.  May was a busy month for all the cows and the shifting seasons brought new things for us to contend with in our personal lives.  The Weekly Photo Challenge is still very popular and brings in the WordPress community and more followers.  We’re enjoying the readers comments and look forward to more !

Post favourites, as voted by your views, likes and comments, are ranked in order:

1. Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move Tam Coc, Vietnam
2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring Andalucia, Spain
3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art Wagga Wagga NSW Australia
4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story Esparragosa de Lares, Spain
5. Columbia Road market. Meeting the Queen. London, UK

Enjoy the “post”-cards!

~ Wandering Cows


Monthly Wrap : April 2014

Top Five

Here’s the list of our top 5 posts for April.  Once again, the Weekly Photo Challenge dominates and it spans many countries around the world. We’ve become regulars and enjoy digging into the archives. As a result, we’ve gained more followers, found a few more blogging mates to exchange with, and a number of interesting blogs for us to follow too !  It’s also helped us to review our blog by looking at others, and we’ve made a few tweaks here and there with format and changing our watermark to a friendlier (we think) cursive.

Post favourites, as voted by your views, likes and comments, are ranked in order:

1. Weekly Photo Challenge : Monument Giza, Egypt
2. Weekly Photo Challenge : Letters Sydney, Australia
3. Weekly Photo Challenge : On Top Viscri, Romania
4. Weekly Photo Challenge : Threshold Romania
5. Hanoi’s Old Quarter Hanoi, Vietnam

Enjoy the “post”-cards!

~ Wandering Cows


Monthly Wrap : March 2014

Here’s the list of our top 5 posts for March.  Once again, the Weekly Photo Challenge dominates our top 5 list, which spans many countries around the world. We are definitely enjoying digging into the archives.

Post favourites, as voted by your views, likes and comments, are ranked in order:

1. Weekly Photo Challenge : Reflections Agra, India
2. Weekly Photo Challenge : Street Life Hanoi, Vietnam
3. Weekly Photo Challenge : Perspective Tasmania, Australia
4. Dead Sea mud Jordan
5. Flamenco Shoes London, UK

As the seasons shift, we’ve been doing a bit of pruning and green-ing. Given the growing list of countries and continents that the cows have roamed to, we have simplified the main menu to streamline the post themes.  As always we enjoy reading your feedback on ideas for future places and experiences for us to explore, and topics you’d like to hear about.

Enjoy the “post”-cards!

~ Wandering Cows

Monthly Wrap : February 2014

Here’s the list of our top 5 posts for February. Last month, we started the Weekly Photo Challenge themes as an exercise in lateral thinking and were astounded by the response. In fact, they dominate the February list, alongside an exotic garden and a saint who cures throat afflictions.

Post favourites, as voted by your views, likes and comments, are ranked in order:

1. Weekly Photo Challenge : Treasure Petra, Jordan
2. Weekly Photo Challenge : Threes Luxor, Egypt
3. All kinds of strange plants Hawaii, USA
4. St Blaise, patron saint of sore throats Dubrovnik, Croatia
5. Weekly Photo Challenge : Object Brittany, France

Do let us know what you’d like to hear about – whether it’s how to pack a bag, where we went on our first sibling-only holiday,  how we got into travel photography, how we plan our trips, places only the youngsters would choose, which guidebooks we use, etc. We can’t promise that we have detailed answers to everything, but we’ll certainly give it our best consideration.

Enjoy the “post”-cards!

~ Wandering Cows

Monthly Wrap : January 2014

This New Year’s Eve we watched fireworks on the beach at Waikiki – it was the first time in many years as the kids have finally managed to stay up past midnight.  Not all of us had made our resolutions by then, but we have all started the year with something new.

       Cowlick is eating his way around around Asia
       Moo Cow is developing her photography and Instagram fan base
       Chocolate Milk Cow & Purple Cow are building iPhone apps
       Spotted Cow is gaining popularity through her vibrant photographs

And just maybe in 2014 … all of our individual projects will marvelously synthesise on the wanderingcows!

Here’s a review of our top 5 posts for January, the sun & surf in Hawaii dominating the list.  Post favourites, as voted by your views, likes and comments, are ranked in order:

1. Hawaiiana. Surf & Hula. Hawaii, USA
2. Rainbow State Hawaii, USA
3. Bondi Icebergs Sydney, Australia
4. Unfurling ferns Hawaii, USA
5. Front row seats at the surf Hawaii, USA

Enjoy the “post”-cards!

Looking forward to a fantastic year ahead.

~ Wandering Cows

Monthly Wrap : December 2013

December culminated with a cow meetup for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Forward planning meant we were able to publish posts ahead of time which enabled us to enjoy the sun, surf and volcanoes offline – albeit with a healthy dose of free wifi “mooching” from local coffeehouses and hotel lobbies. Moo Cow – our most creative and artistic family member – surprised us with a hand-painted wandering cows plate for Christmas!

Here’s a review of our top 5 posts for December, with Asia, tea and transport as the linking theme.  Post favourites, as voted by your views, likes and comments, are ranked in order:

1. Malaysian Butterflies Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
2. Motorbikes in Hanoi Hanoi, Vietnam
3. Segway Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark
4. Tea in the Malaysian Hills Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
5. Turkish Tea Turkey

Special thanks again to –

Our “likers”, with the click of your mouse, you have made your vote count for more

Our commenters, for taking the time to speak on behalf of all the readers; and

Our followers, for your encouragement on our blogging journey.

Happy new year! We hope you have an amazing and inspired 2014 ahead.

~ Wandering Cows

Monthly Wrap : November 2013

November marks the end of our first full month of blogging. It has been an exciting time, learning to navigate through WordPress.  We hope you have enjoyed reading the “post”-cards as much as we have enjoyed writing them.

Here’s a review of our top 5 posts for November, with a few surprising results!  We’ve had a bit of a trip around the world this month. Post favourites, as voted by your views, likes and comments, are ranked in order:

1. Ute Art in Ootha Ootha, New South Wales, Australia
2. Weekend away book The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke
3. Infinity Gates Kyoto, Japan
4. London afternoon tea at the Gilbert Scott Bar London, UK
5. Christmas, neither at home nor away East Sussex, UK

Special thanks to –

Our “likers”, with the click of your mouse, you have made your vote count for more

Our commenters, for taking the time to speak on behalf of all the readers; and

Our followers, for your encouragement on our blogging journey.

We hope you come back for more.

~ Wandering Cows