Friday night, we met up with friends at our favourite neighbourhood pizza place. The weird pizzas here are finally growing on me. Australians don't feel constrained by our traditional American pizza toppings. You can (and should) try a tandoori chicken pizza. The place appears to be run by actual Italians, so I certainly wouldn't question their judgement. (FYI - judgement is spelled with that extra "e" here, the way it should be) Across the street from our pizza joint is a bottle shop, so we can run over and buy fresh beers as needed. The pizza place, like most restaurants, is BYO. They'll even provide glasses and a bottle opener. After stuffing ourselves with pizza, we walked up the street to Sydney Park and hiked up the highest hill in the city that offers an amazing view. I should state that I jog up this hill regularly, so it's not THAT high. Sydney is just really flat.
On Saturday Eric went sailing as usual, so I set off into the city. I hit the (free) Art Gallery of NSW first, arriving at the same time as a bus of Asian tourists. I'll never understand the compulsion to take a picture of every piece of art in the museum. As I was texting Eric about how ridiculous it was, a nice Asian girl asked me to take her picture. She was standing against the wall with a giant grin, and I asked her whether she was hoping for her picture with the large painting to the right or the four small paintings to the left. She didn't care; it was obviously all about the art. Not that my purposes for visiting the museum were all that high-minded. Secretly, I was there to finally purchase the bracelet I've been lusting after since we had girls' night at the Monet exhibit. (Check out Zoe Bonbon, the French jewlery maker: http://www.zoebonbon.com/beads_bracelet/bracelets_boules_paillettes-c-10_38.html?osCsid=1bd8e0f0ac07e539d7d98c204a78f65c I got one in bright orange!)
From there, I moved on to the (free) State Library of NSW to see the Bondi Jitterbug exhibit before it closed. Check out the really cool pictures of people doing bizarre things at Bondi beach back in the 1930's: http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/exhibitions/2008/jitterbug/index.html. The exhibit included movies of the surf life saving clubs wearing their crazy beanies doing maneuvers on the beach and people surfing on giant wooden boards.
After a nice chicken pannini and a flat white at a cafe, I spent an hour wandering around the Rocks Markets. Each weekend, open air markets are open in neighbourhoods all over Sydney. The Rocks area is the original Sydney settlement and a short walk around Circular Quay from the Opera House, so it's a bit touristy, particularly when a cruise ship is docked in Circular Quay (which is most of the time in summer).
Next, I treated myself to a movie in the nice cinema at Circular Quay. It's amazing that you can actually get used to paying $15 to see a matinee. I saw The Reader, which was sufficiently depressing to lead me to wander around the Botanic Gardens in the drizzle for an hour. Even in the nasty weather, there was a wedding every 65 feet. You couldn't throw a rock without hitting a bride. All of the bats in the park were getting ready for the evening, stretching their wings to try to dry them before setting off. Pretty cute.
Sunday, Eric and I drove down the coast until we found a beach with decent surf. I'm trying to legitimately catch waves instead of just riding the whitewash, and it's really frustrating. Waves go so much faster when you catch them at the top, and I can't seem to pop up to standing when my board is moving Mach 5.
We had time for a quick shower and a bite to eat when we got home from the beach before heading to The Domain for Tropfest, the largest short film festival in the world. We brought a couple of bottles of wine and met up with friends who told us that the event typically attracts about 100,000 people. It was a lovely evening to lay on a blanket in the park, and some of the shorts were really good.
It's amazing how a really active weekend like this one leaves you feeling more replenished sometimes than laying about.