After catching the ferry from Cremorne Point and the Museum of Contemporary Art closed, I headed for George Street, Tallawoladah (The Rocks), which is a short walk from Circular Quay. By the way, Tallawoladah was the name the original Cadigal people gave to the area Europeans have called The Rocks and it’s original name now appears prominently on signage which is good to see. About time, you could say. It wasn’t that long ago there was hardly a sign of Aboriginal Australia in the city. This is very different to how the Maori people are honoured and acknowledged in New Zealand, by the way, and something which seriously needed to change.
Thankfully my photographs are in order so I have some capacity to retrace my footsteps along George Street. Otherwise I’d have no idea what order everything slotted into and I’d probably have you jumping all over the place to keep up with my poor directions.
I didn’t get far, because just across the road from the Museum of Contemporary Art, my eager eye spotted the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe across the road and I was in and I’ll never forget that indulgent slice of lusciously gorgeous chocolate mud cake. OMG!!!! it was superlatively good… silky smooth and so indulgent!! I sat outside and slowly imbibed it while sipping my cappuccino. I rarely drink coffee often these days so it gives you an idea just how special this moment was! There I was in Sydney, with a luscious slice of chocolate mud cake and a cappuccino after three years of serious deprivation. I might’ve been sitting down but inside I was swinging from the rafters. Yippee!! Life was superlatively good.
The Guylian Cafe is across the road from the famous Orient Hotel, which was originally built as a butcher shop in 1844. It’s been a famous pub for longer than I’ve existed. By this stage, it must’ve been around 6.00pm and it was literally buzzing with the after work crowd in full flight. Strangely perhaps, this was yet another moment I became acutely aware of the weirdness of our isolated lockdown world and my own enhanced isolation. I’ve barely been in a crowd for the last three years and there was a cacophony of voices across the road which sounded like threes full of Rainbow Lorikeets we get around here. To be very honest, it almost sounded like “blah, blah, blah!”
I kept walking.
Next stop was was Squidinky and much to my horror it was closed. OMG! To find something which mirrored my own personal quirkiness so precisely was like electricity to my heart and soul and for it to be closed…Oh woe is me! However, that said, I jumped on the computer when I got home and spent several hours perusing their website and there would be no doubt where I’d be heading the next morning…back to Squidinky along with the Museum of Contemporary Art.
As it turned out when I returned Max Mendez, the artist, was in. Oh be still my beating heart! My daughter would’ve been embarrassed if she’d seen me there because I’m always so effusive when I love something and I was literally salivating like a rabid dog. But as Kermit once said: “it’s not being green”, being different. Yet, at the same time, there’s such a refreshing beauty in it too which can take awhile to appreciate, especially in ourselves. After spewing out rapturous praise, Max said I lit up the room with my enthusiasm. Good to see someone appreciates me. BTW I found something very, very special at Squidinky…his Cockatutu range.
As a dance mum and well let’s just say someone who has done a few adult ballet classes even if I wasn’t star material, I absolutely loved it. Bought three plates and could’ve easily bought ten more and gave two to her ballet teachers as a thank you for Miss’s recent audition tape. I also recommend checking out Mark’s blog and seeing his lockdown project illustrating Sydney landmarks here.
By the way, I did think of getting a photo of Mark, and even of the two of us together, especially for the blog. He was so friendly that there’s no doubt he would’ve obliged but I was shy. Didn’t ask, which was very out of character, but perhaps I was too busy enjoyed the moment.
I kept walking.
After all these years of covid, lockdowns and insanity, it was good to be back at The Rocks again. I used to go to The Rocks as a child with mum and my brother and we’d go to Pancakes at The Rocks, which had the thick American style pancakes with maple syrup and whipped butter instead of our usual lemon and sugar or jam. Geoff went to The Rocks for a his sister’s pre-wedding dinner at the famous Spaghetti Factory. His mother initially was rather unimpressed. Coming from regional Tasmania, as far as she knew, spaghetti came from a tin and was hardly something special. My cousin was married at the famous Garrison Church but I didn’t make it there. It was up a hill and with my dodgy breathing, I was sticking to the flat.
Clearly, it was good to be back. Now that we’ve reached the Overseas Passenger Terminal, we’re going to hit pause and I’ll be back soon.
Have you been to Tallawoladah (The Rocks) and do you have any stories to share?
I look forward to hearing from you!
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Ah yes The Rocks…first of all, interesting about the name. Australia is slowly acknowledging its indigenous people more and more. I first went to The Rocks with a friend I was travelling with back in 1994, when I went to Australia for the first time when I was still living in the UK. We ate at The Rocks Cafe (lunch I think?). Anyway, fast forward many years to my husband and I visiting Sydney together for the first time now we are living down here (maybe 7 years ago?) and guess what….we have lunch at The Rocks Cafe.
We haven’t been to Sydney since 2018 I think, but off to Melbourne at least next week for our first trip across since the pandemic.
I have been – first time 1997 – and my main memory is seeing the harbour bridge looming ahead, my first sight of it. Second time I was walking around trying to shake off jet lag with my German colleague when we ended up at circular quay and a large screen showing the football World Cup from Germany. It was about 2 am and the crowd boisterous and delighted to have a loud German encouraging his team in raucous German.
Great images. I’m drooling at the mere thought of cafe coffee and cake.
It was certainly worth drooling over, Monika!
The Bridge has an extraordinary presence. I took photos of it from all over the place and am going to try to knit them together into a masaic and see how it looks. Being old school, I’ll have to start out with hard copy photos and a pair of scissors but hope to nut out how to do it digitally.
Have a great time in Melbourne. So good to get out and about exploring again. I kept feeling like I’d been released. I’m sure I went to The Rocks Cafe years ago. It was closed the first day I walked past but the window display was very tempting.
Good luck with that. I’d not have a clue
come back from my holidays overflowing with impossible creative projects, but this one feels more achievable.
Go for it