Sydney never ceases to disappoint. I visit around three to four times a year to attend writing workshops with my writing colleagues. During this time, I manage to include cultural activities based around Sydney’s artistic arena, and there is always something different to do. We attend venues located around the city, easily accessible by public transport and where costs are moderate. Well, we are self-funded retirees!
I love all forms of artistry and this time I was treated to spectacular music, entertaining drama, alerted to the brilliance of an Australian artist, feasted on flavoursome Greek fusion food and slurped over an Asian hotpot.
For locals, or those who visit Sydney for the months of September, October November, here are some of the best treats in town waiting for you:
Pop- Up Globe Theatre:
Who would have imagined we could be transported back to the 17th century! We sat in a full-scale temporary working replica of one of the greatest theatres in history. Shakespeare was alive, and we had fun.
I was whispering lines from The Merchant of Venice that goes back to my school days, and surprised myself. Although a gentleman sitting in front of me wasn’t too impressed when he turned his head to show his frowned face.
There are four plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Comedy of Error and The Merchant of Venice. Well worth this unique experience while you can. Located at The Entertainment Quarter, 22 Lang Rd, Moore Park, NSW, parking was simple and inexpensive.
We ate at the Bavarian Restaurant next door to the theatre and indulged in one of my favourite drinks, Mulled Wine.
Additional information including public transport directions are on the web site www.ticketmaster.com.au
City Recital Hall:
Located in downtown at 2 Angel Place, Sydney’s City Recital Hall is easily to access via public transport or Wilsons car park is nearby. I couldn’t believe my luck when popular famed musicians, Lior & Paul Grabowsky graced the stage. Their combined talents were hauntingly beautiful. Lior’s voice is charismatic and Paul’s piano dexterity is magical. Who could resist lining up in the queue to purchase their CD’s. For up and coming functions, all of which are tempting to say the least, visit www.cityrecitalhall.com and search What’s On. Perfect for anyone and locals can become a regular subscriber. The seniors price was only $50.
Art Gallery of NSW:
Who knew about John Russell? I didn’t and it would not surprise me if many Aussies asked the same question “who?” This remarkable Australian French Impressionist was born in 1858 in Darlinghurst, NSW. He predominantly lived overseas and it wasn’t until later in his life he returned to Australia. Sadly, he was relatively unknown then. There was a massive disparity despite his incredulous talent. He was on the edge of an innovative artistic style and Australian’s were reticent in their acceptance.
There are approximately 120 impressive paintings on display and there were fascinating stories told during my electronically assisted tour. He painted in water colours as well as oil and I noticed the occasional pastel and etching. The John Russell exhibition is the first survey of his work in forty years. He once painted with Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, mentored Henri Matisse as well as a friend of Auguste Rodin, sculptor.
My favourite painting “Mrs. Russell among the Flowers in the Garden of Goulphar, Belle-lie”. I sensed a Monet stroke style on his canvas but it was the colourful emotional story that touched my heart. It reminded me of the time I visited Monet’s garden in Giverny, France. Marianna Russell was the love of John’s life.
Russell returned to Australia in the early 1920’s and was noted for keeping a low profile. “John Russell: Australia’s French Impressionist” runs until 11th November 2018 as well as a number of other exhibits that attracted my attention. Some exhibits and events are free, others worth the small expense. Full program available at www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au
Our day was perfectly completed by a walk through the Botanical Gardens located across the road from the art gallery.
Sydney always excels when it comes to dining out. My recent gastronomical indulgences were predominantly Greek and Asian, all an easy walk in the downtown area.
Greek fusion food:
“1821 Greek Restaurant”, 122 Pitt Street, Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD provides a superb array of both traditional and contemporary tasty Greek dishes. The food was to die for, especially the octopus, as was their Caramel Baklava ice cream. www.1821.com.au tempts me to return to savour additional dishes.
“Alpha Restaurant” has a similar philosophy of Greek dining located at 238 Castlereagh Street, Sydney and was named in ADR’s top 500 restaurants. They also serve food to die for. Our table of six shared each distinctive dish as we were keen to sample as many flavoursome plates as possible. Our Greek friends from Paros, in the Greek islands, were impressed with the menu including the Greek wine. That speaks for itself. Another menu that begs a return visit www.alpharestaurant.com.au
My Sydney based family are regular hotpot diners and it was the first time we visited this relatively new restaurant located in the centre of Paddy’s Market. I savoured a selection of fresh meats and vegetables, staff were friendly and they provided excellent guidance on how to cook our chosen foods. “DOLA Hotpot, 1909” Restaurant Precinct, Paddy’s Market, Hay Street, was a lovely and clean. Dare I say we chose wisely and accepted the offer of long disposable bibs to cover our clothes.
Finally, Sydney has an excellent public transport network that includes trains and buses and I highly recommend wear comfortable walking shoes. I have a pre-purchased OPAL card that does the trick and they can be purchased on-line, at the airport or from most retailers and newsagents. It is quick and easy to top-up online as I recently discovered. www.opal.com.au/en/get-an-opal-card/.
Australia covers all cultural and culinary bases, no matter what state I visit. I am loving what Sydney town has to offer.