When I don’t have piles of university work looming over my desk I like to busy myself by exploring places around Sydney, on a Sunday afternoon
Last Sunday I decided to wing an adventure, starting at Waverton train station and aiming for the CBD, perfectly happy to diverge off course and do anything that caught my attention. Noting that Sunday is cheat day and therefore a treat was necessary, I popped into the local IGA (small grocery store) and grabbed a slice of freshly baked baklava (if you want to make it yourself – fantastic recipe here).
This particular IGA is nestled in a dead-end, hidden away from the main Waverton drag and often is hard to spot for non-locals. However, its selection of delicious baked treats (baklava, almond shortbread, caramel slice and more) and diverse range of international foods have made it more of a hidden treasure than a corner store, attracting customers from all over Sydney.
Savoring the delectably sweet flakes of baklava, I wandered along, snapping a pic of a car that caught my attention (it looked like it was better suited to an Italian town than the backstreets of Sydney), and hopped down to the station platform.
I entertained myself during the train ride with a book I just rented from the library, “Superfoods for Life, Cacao.” I impulsively borrowed this during a burst of sudden chocolate craving, in hopes of finding some great chocolate-based recipes. I wasn’t disappointed. If you are interested in baking or cooking, this provides a comprehensive overview of the wonderful benefits of cacao as well as sweet AND SAVOURY cacao based recipes – savoury chocolate-lasagne is actually tasty… weird, I know.
Hopping off at Town Hall, I escaped the suffocatingly stale air trapped in the underground station, and strolled up towards Hyde Park.
It was the perfect day for relaxing in the park, the sun was shining, there were no Ibis‘ to be seen (those pestering and uncomfortably large birds that waltz around Hyde Park like they own it), and ice cream trucks dotted around the gardens.
After taking a couple of minutes to soak in the sunshine and reflect on how great a mid-city park really is (New York is so blessed to have the green expanse that is Central Park), I continued on walking towards the NSW Art Gallery.
I’m not an art fanatic by any means and haven’t found myself in an art gallery (especially in my home city) for many years, but for some reason, I walked in and joined the free 3pm Mystery Art Tour. The concept behind the mystery tour is that the guide (definitely an art fanatic) will take you on a one hour tour exploring paintings according to a theme they choose, it could be anything – Love, Religion, Aboriginal art etc. Interestingly, on this day the guide decided to investigate exhibits based on eroticism and sexuality. At first, it was confronting to really stare at the paintings but after I put all reservations about nudity aside, it became highly fascinating.
A piece that stood out for me was the one I have inserted below, by Lucian Freud. Far larger in life than what you are looking at on your computer screen, the painting expands across a large wall and almost assaults the eye with its nakedness. The guide challenged us to really examine and explore the painting with our eyes, also mentioning how passersby would steal a glance at the artwork before awkwardly sidling away.
What I found most interesting was the twist behind what the painting depicts. Upon first appearances, Freud seems to have depicted a couple post sex. However, further investigation into the painting reveals that the subjects were co-performers, and were perhaps resting, barely able to undress before collapsing on a bed after a taxing string of performances.
Ending up at the Art Gallery inspired me to visit it more often. I will be scheduling in a more Mystery Art tours over the coming weeks. To end the fantastic day on a high note, I took an Uber to C9 Chocolate and Gelato in Crows Nest and had my favourite dessert in Sydney… Cookies & Cream icecream squashed between a donut and drizzled in chocolate. Sublime.