Metro-Hippy Days

On my way to the markets, I heard a lovely duo playing Spanish guitars outside of a cafe. I very much wanted to stop, but was already cutting it close to make it before the markets closed for the weekend. A couple of hours later, when I ambled past again, my busking friends had sadly picked up and left. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this was the worst part of my day. Life is pretty splendid here.

I’ve opted to stay in Sydney for about a week longer than originally planned. This is partly due to the face that it’s a fantastic city with almost endless nooks and crannies to explore. The main reason, however, is that I’ve met someone here that I’m just not quite ready to leave yet. Said person headed home for the weekend, which gave me the idle luxury of a solo weekend in what has to be one of the best cities in the world.

My main mission for the weekend was hitting the markets. Saturday I revisited Glebe markets, a hippy-vintage-handmade-secondhand-random crap smörgåsbord that we had briefly stopped at the weekend before. Great browsing pleasure was had here, though my favorite stall from the previous weekend unfortunately did not reappear. This stall had been selling all forms of toys you could ever hope to spot at a music festival or hippy convention. The crowing glory was that they had a box full of “play with me” toys. One of the guys working at the stall took frequent breaks to demonstrate, and he simply put any other attempts (including mine) to shame. This man had mad skills with devil sticks. While fun to watch, this quickly killed my dreams of becoming a devil-sticking busker if all else fails. You would have to put in some serious hours.

My market crawl included Paddington and Rozelle over the weekend. The Balmain/Rozelle area is one of my favorites that I’ve explored so far in Sydney. It’s a short ferry ride from Circular Quay, and embodies my personal notion that places that are accessed primarily by water are generally better. (You can get here on land as well, but it’s a bit more effort.) The pace of life here seems much more manageable than in central Sydney. The single main street is packed with eclectic coffee shops, used bookstores and, apparently, Spanish guitarists. Most bars and cafes were bustling. I meandered up and down the main street, with the market at the end being my primary destination. Trying to remind myself that all that is purchased must be packed, I only picked up a couple of small things, but could have basically accumulated an entire new wardrobe. The theme for this market appeared to be people with shopping addictions cleaning out their closets. Heaps of clothes piled beside mismatched crockery and contents of several junk drawers is basically what one could expect when visiting this market. It reminded me a bit of a smaller, cleaner version of Lisbon’s flea market.

On a final note: It seems almost necessary to explore the inside of the Opera House during a visit to Sydney. You can pop into the foyer and take a peek around, but really don’t see much. A guided tour will cost you, so I figured I might as well spend slightly more than the equivalent of that and just go to a show. The first one I had my eye on sold out of cheap seats before I got around to buying tickets (there are costs to being on a relaxed schedule – thought, to be honest, not many). I ended up buying tickets to an Australian play called Signs of Life that looks quite entertaining. Even the broke backpacker must treat oneself on occasion! I will give the verdict of the Opera House innards in the next post.

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