One of the things I love about being in academia is taking advantage of conferences to explore new places. Last week I headed to Sydney for an anthropology conference, and while I'd spent a few days in Sydney before, it still felt like a very unfamiliar city. So, we (a few other postgrads from my uni and I) planned our trip to give us a few extra days to look around.
Monday afternoon we were met at the airport by the generous and amazingly friendly Mandee of Cupcake Kitteh. She dropped us off at our fantastic accommodation in Kirribilli, on the north side of Sydney Harbour. After dumping off our stuff, we took a quick stroll through the neighbourhood and got about ten metres before being greeted with this view.
That evening we headed back out with Mandee to Basil Pizza in Newtown for some vegan feasting. We were joined by a few other Sydney vegans, a Vegan Freak Forum friend from Wollongong, and one my friends from Townsville. The table was full of pizza (and a pasta dish), all of it vegan. It was a glorious sight. I got the potato and rosemary pizza, with cheezley. It was fantastic. (Mandee's photo.)
Tuesday morning we took full advantage of free breakfast at the hotel, sitting in the garden and filling up on toast, baked beans, cereal and tea.
Then we took the ferry across the harbour to Circular Quay...
From there we wandered up through the city, looking in shops and just being in a city. Mid-morning we stopped for bubble tea, black tapioca pearls in the bottom of a mango-green tea.
It was very refreshing, as were the views in Town Hall Square where we stopped.
After a bit more shopping I met up with Andy's brother for lunch, a gigantic roasted veggie sandwich which we ate in Hyde Park surrounded by birds and business people. Tuesday afternoon was a bit of a disappointment. I met back up with my JCU friends for a trip out to Jura Books in Petersham, an anarchist collective/book shop. When we got out there, it was closed--despite the sign indicating we were there at the right time. We looked longingly through the windows at all of the anti-capitalist and animal rights books, but instead retired to a nearby pub for consolation. Tuesday night was a very interesting lecture, followed by dinner at an Indian place and then a long wait for the ferry home. At least the harbour is pretty at night.
The next three days were dominated by the conference, out at Macquarie Uni and a bit far from good vegan restaurants. But for me, part of the novelty of being in a city is being able to easily find vegan (or veganisable) items in a standard restaurant. I got noodles, falafels, roasted veggie salads, and soups. And the conference dinner started with a really tasty roast veggie stack, was followed with a weird but yummy (though a bit salty) mushroom rissole-type thing with mango chutney, and ended with a boring but good enough fruit plate. But to be honest, I didn't go to the conference for the food -- the papers were mostly really interesting, I caught up with some friends, met lots of new people and did some proper networking with hopefully future employers.
Saturday was my last day in the city, but rather than scheduling an early morning flight I left plenty of room to get brunch. It was back out to Newtown with Mandee to Naked Espresso with another bunch of Sydney vegans. (Mandee's photo)
I got the hot chocolate to start, which was literally melted dark choc and Bonsoy milk. So rich, and so good. (Mandee's photo, because I was slack with my camera.)
I followed it up with the Aussie Vegan Feast-- baked beans, sour dough toast, roasted pumpkin, grilled tomato, spinach, smoked tofu and mushrooms. I managed to eat nearly all of it, and it was amazing. (See Mandee's post for a full recap of both brunch and pizza.)
I also got a takeaway pie to eat on the plane. I went with Primal Pie's mad mushroom flavour, and it was the yummiest pie I've eaten (not a hard competition, since I've only ever gotten one takeaway pie before this, from Ykillamoocow in Brisbane). The filling with chunky and had a great texture, with a deliciously spiced gravy. The pie made the flights bearable, as did being bumped up to premium economy for both flights. But I was definitely very happy to get home!