Moments in Sydney

May 4-5, 2014

Just a few moments captured during my solo short stay in Sydney to write my MCCEE! 🙂

Enjoying a matcha (green tea) latte while studying!

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I couldn’t help myself when I passed by Lord of the Fries. Tried out the ‘Parisian‘ with aioli garlic mayo. Verdict: Meh, it’s alright. Fries were good, reminded me of New York Fries but the sauce was way too bland.

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Such nice weather on the day I wrote my exam! Enjoyed a leisurely stroll and doing nothing but people-watching at Hyde Park.

Anzac Memorial and The Pool of Reflections

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Looking out from Anzac Memorial

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Absolutely love the large trees, makes me feel like I’m walking through a fairy tale.

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People watching panorama around Archibald Fountain

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St Mary’s Cathedral

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A tad lonely being by myself but so peaceful at the same time! 🙂

Sydney: The Dough Collective

May 04, 2014

I came upon The Dough Collective on George St. by chance while taking a walk and looking for some food/snacks during my short stay in Sydney. I remember checking into my hotel and immediately thinking, “I need to find something delicious to keep me going if I plan to be studying for the rest of the day.”

And if you know me, you know I absolutely love bakeries. Delicious breads and pastries, does anyone not like that?

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A small shop with assorted breads on display typical of a self-serve bakery. I also liked the look of the bread behind glass displays within the walls, added a nice elegant touch. Wish I had taken some photos of the shop but I was trying to get in and out as quick as I could. Also, lots of different samples to try, taste to your heart’s content!

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As I was traveling solo so I couldn’t buy too much… even though I wanted to!

Ended up getting a Chocolate Surprise – filled with Belgian chocolate and a Brown Sugar Roll with brown sugar, walnuts and raisins.

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Both were delicious! Such fresh, soft, delicious, chewy bread. I am not a fan of raisins, but these ones were so big, plump, and juicy I thought it went really nicely with the walnuts in the roll.

And I also got the Gangnam Crown, I believe. Five individual buns with kimchi, cream cheese, and condensed milk. The combination of flavours may sound odd, but I assure you this was delicious. Spicy, creamy, salty and sweet – mmm!

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I know, I should’ve also taken photos of what the inside looked like to show you!

I still think of the awesome textures and tastes of the breads I tried, and prices were very reasonable as well! I really wish there was a Dough Collective here in Brisbane… maybe one day soon? Will definitely visit again when I have the chance though!

The Dough Collective on Urbanspoon

Sydney: Hyde Park Inn

May 4-5, 2014

In conjunction with my last post, I stayed at Hyde Park Inn during my brief stay in Sydney to write my MCCEE.

I made the booking through Agoda and chose this place for a number of reasons: 

  1. Cheaper than other comparable 4-star hotels in the area, but looked very nice, bright, and clean
  2. Lots of positive reviews
  3. Free wifi in room, which is surprisingly not easy to come by – definitely needed this for my studying.
  4. Extremely close to the train station but more importantly, only a few minutes walk away from my test centre
  5. Continental breakfast included

I landed in Sydney around 10am, so I wasn’t expecting to be able to check in when I arrived at Hyde Park Inn. I was simply expecting to drop off my carry-on luggage and find a nearby cafe to study. It was a pleasant surprise that not only was I told my room was ready for me on early arrival, but that I had been given a complimentary upgrade from a Budget Standard Room to a Standard Studio… how lovely! 

From a “Small Compact Budget Standard Room with frosted windows which allow natural light into the room but with no view. This room offers one Queen Bed, with LCD TV and DVD player.” to a studio featuring “one queen and one single bed, kitchenette facilities with a microwave, en suite bathroom with shower facilities, air-conditioning and a window view overlooking Hyde Park.”

Was this a lucky sign for my exam? 😉

I loved that it was extremely bright and spacious. And so much room, too bad I was by myself! 

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It doesn’t look like it in this photo, but the bathroom had some of the best lighting I’ve come across in hotels… you know, the kind where you can actually use to apply makeup properly. Toiletries (except shower gel/shampoo) weren’t included but didn’t matter to me as I always bring my own.

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Hallway with large closet to the left and bathroom on the right. Iron and board were available in case you needed it.And a cute little kitchenette that contained everything you needed. Even a convection microwave oven.

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When I came into my room, there was already some uncovered sliced bread in the fridge, which made me think to myself, “This better not be the continental breakfast.” Fortunately, I was proven wrong when a staff member came by later to drop off breakfast, which consisted of sliced bread, Weet-Bix, cornflakes, fruit cups, milk, orange juice, butter and condiments for the toast. And because I was the only occupant, I got to eat for 2 or 3, who’s complaining?

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The one thing I did not appreciate, which I have seen others complain about in reviews, is the sliced bread. No joke, this was how it was left in the fridge for me. Some was wrapped up, some was not wrapped up at all, and some was very poorly wrapped. What the heck! Who wants dried out AND unsanitary toast? Also, the bread that was already sitting in the fridge? It wasn’t taken away and replaced with this bread… it was left for me. Not cool!

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However, the bread was literally my only complaint of the stay. The staff were extremely pleasant, the beds were super comfortable, everything was clean. Very quiet, which was really important to me in order to study and have a good rest before my exam. Checking out was not an issue and there was no problem with me leaving my luggage until later in the day. 

Would I stay again or recommend to my friends? Most definitely! 

Absence and now back to Brisbane

My apologies for being so blog silent over the holidays! As you can imagine, the holidays take up so much time! 😛

I do have lots of stories and pictures to share though, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, Mike and I are currently on our way back to Brisbane.

Firstly, thank you to those I was able to see this break and my apologies for those I couldn’t meet up with: Bea, Ruixi, Mel, Sareda, Soph, etc. I was out of town, then sick, then super busy and unfortunately couldn’t see you… next time okay? 🙂

Secondly, thank you to all my family who came to the airport to see me off! I look forward to being home again!

Our flight from Ottawa to Toronto was delayed, and as a result, it caused us to miss our connecting flight to Sydney last night.

We landed over an hour late, and then we had to waste several more hours figuring out new flights, finding our luggage, grabbing a shuttle, waiting for food delivery, etc!

Despite the delay and the extra night in Toronto, things worked out nicely. We were given a nice room at Days Hotel with food vouchers. Additionally, because the same flight to Australia was full for today, we were rerouted and will be flying through Los Angeles… in Business Class 😀

By the time we got to our hotel, it was already 11pm. The hotel restaurant was closed… thank goodness for ordering food for delivery!

Mike and I had breakfast at the hotel today before grabbing the shuttle bus back to the airport at 8am. We gave ourselves plenty of time to go through US Customs and Security. Priority access makes the airport experience a breeze and luckily, we didn’t run into any trouble. Our baggage is checked through to Sydney, so fears of traveling through the US temporarily relieved!

Because we were flying business, we had access to the Maple Leaf Lounge… very nice. I wish I could fly like this all the time! Comfy seating areas, showers, food, drinks, internet… it’s nice 🙂

I love priority lines! Business class on our flight to LA were not the pods, sadly, but still very enjoyable. We had good food and drinks and more room for my bum.

This chicken wasn’t very good actually.

Mmm, tenderloin.

Warm chewy cookies AND gelato? My flight is complete.

A mother and 2 children were sitting in front of us. While they were settling into their seats, the son (around 11 years old) turned to his mom and said incredulously, “We’re in business class?” The mom laughed and said yes. Mike and I were amazed at not only how well these children behaved, but at the end of the flight, he turned to his mom and said, “I really enjoyed this flight. Thanks mom.” So cute!

The view as we prepared to land in LA.

So, we landed in LA around 3pm and had to walk over to a different terminal and go through security again. No trouble this time either and the lines went quickly so we were pleasantly surprised! Our flight to Sydney doesn’t leave until 10pm so we decided to pay for access to the United Club Lounge. So far, very worth it! We’ve got about 4 more hours to wait around… and then finally off to Australia!

Guess who’s catching up on her blogging, finally?

Michael enjoying his drink (and plethora of snacks) and saying, “Hello!”

FADU: Short Stay in Sydney

The five of us went down to Sydney on Friday, August 03 for a short visit… $45/person each way – woo hoo!

Mike and I had to head back on the 6th because of class but my family stayed until the 9th before heading to Perth.

Here’s a sorta-long summary of what we did!

Day 1 – Aug 3

Landed around 3:30pm and was picked up by Chet Muoi and his wife!

Went right away to check into our residence at Oaks Hyde Park Plaza. A great price for the location but the apartment we had was definitely too small for 5 people. Sleeping 3 nights on a dinky sofabed did terrible wonders on my back!

Immediately headed out. We walked down to Darling Harbour and up to visit the Sydney Aquarium. Very lively with beautiful views by the harbour.

The aquarium was well worth the visit! Lots of fun 🙂

About to head in…

All manta rays have such cute faces!

The fish, they cry crystal tears!

Fluorescent jelly fish and enormous crab

Shark attack!

Nemo! Dory! I’ve found you!

We finished the map and got our gold coins! Chocolate, who could resist?

We headed back down to Chinatown for a visit and ended the night with a late Korean dinner – yum yum!

Day 2 – Aug 4

Woke up early to check out the rooftop facilities – heated pool, jacuzzi and a great view – what more do you need?

By 10:30am, we were on the train and headed to Cabramatta to meet my dad’s family.

A great dim sum lunch where we got to meet some family members for the first time and catch up with many others.

Lunch was followed by a walk around Viettown and then ‘the rounds’ What does that mean? Going from one person’s house to another for a few reasons: to check out their home, to talk some more, and to eat of course 😉

We visited a total of 5 homes and soon it was time for dinner! Amazing food at a Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant that left us completely stuffed.

We ended the night at The Star Casino. I cannot understand the appeal of losing money but lots of people looked like they were having fun 😛

Day 3 – Aug 5

A day to ourselves, yay! My mom came down with a migraine so didn’t join us for the first part. The four of us headed out to see more of the city. We decided the first stop would be Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

Onwards to the Sydney Fish Market, but on the way there, we got distracted by a lovely cafe and tasty treats.

When we finally got there, I wanted to leave immediately, haha. I really don’t like crowds… and it was SO crowded. Asians everywhere, haha. We did pick up a bottle of wine and some sashimi to share, very tasty!

Headed back going through Darling Harbour again to check it out during the day. Then we walked over to see… (you guessed it!) the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Then hopped on the free bus (love the free bus) back to our residence to pick up my mom for the evening activities – luckily she was feeling better!

First up, Mme Tussaud’s! Had a great time ‘meeting’ all the famous people!

Then over to the Sydney Tower Eye to check out Sydney at night – so pretty!

Then back to Opera House to see it again but against a black sky!

Finally ended the night with a super late but amazing Japanese dinner!

Day 4 – Aug 6

Wake up, pack up, go home! 😦 No time to do anything but haul ourselves to the airport, eat breakfast and head back to Brisbane! Luckily… our flights weren’t delayed! 🙂

FULL SYDNEY ALBUM HERE!