Juliet, Rowena, Liz and I ventured up to the Blue Mountains last weekend for some sightseeing, shops and food. It was all up very very pleasant, and now we are thinking of doing it again 🙂 Possibly the Hunter Valley next time?
* The long road trip
Got a taxi to Liz & Tad’s place in Darlinghurst. Got to catch up with Tad for a half hour or so, which was lovely as his work is limiting us seeing him for the next few months. After Liz finished getting ready, she drove us up to Wentworth Falls. It was a pleasant drive – not much traffic at all, except for one small spot turning onto Parramatta Road. We did a lot of talking, as you can imagine 🙂
* Lunch – Wentworth falls cafe in the old Post Office.
Juliet met us, after getting lost in Old Toongabbie, for a lovely lunch. I had very yummy chicken, but after so much good food on the weekend, have forgotten the rest of it! We discussed some of the upcoming activities and our adventures on the long road trip.
* The Blue House www.bluemts.com.au/bluehouse
Our place for the weekend. Four bedrooms – 3 upstairs with queen beds, 1 downstairs with 4 single beds (bunks). 2 bathrooms, 2 toilets, big kitchen, cozy lounge. Perfect for sitting and reading in front of the fake fire! No TV, and it was nice and quiet without it. Well, it would have been, but I think I made up for it!
I decided to take the room downstairs. Was great for putting all my stuff everywhere, as everyone who has travelled with me will know how lightly I pack (!) And it was closer to the heating.
* Shopping in Leura
Lots and lots of lovely shops to see and buy things in. Some of the ones we went to:
– Cafe Josophans www.josophans.com.au Excellent chocolates and chocolate cakes/pastries/etc. Can buy some of their own chocolates, or some lovely ones I have purchased before from Europe (Valrhona, Michael Cluizel). I bought some of the handmade chocolates, and quite enjoyed them.
– Megalong Books. Of course I found, and bought, a book on Berlin called “This is Berlin”.
– Leura Toy Shop. We ventured in there as they had cool looking wooden games in the front window. We didn’t end up buying games, but Liz and I decided to get the exact same gift for her husband and my boyfriend. Dave has been pleased by his. I can’t say what it is, as I don’t know if Tad has his yet. It’s bright and useful!
– Elizabeth Rosa Stationery. I didn’t buy anything in here today, as I couldn’t make up my mind. Brilliant place for purchasing writing things.
– Leura Whisk http://www.leurawhisk.com.au I wanted either the Dibbern tea cups and saucers, or the Jasper Conran Wedgewood Breakfast set. I left with neither.
– Ophelia’s Emporium (I think). Vintage clothing and accessories. Liz found some gloves and a new coat. Juliet refrained from making large purchases, opting for a few smaller items.
* Regular shopping in Katoomba
By this time it was 5pm, and the good shops were all shutting. So we ventured back to Coles in Katoomba to purchase some weekend necessities, and snacking requirements.
An hour or so chatting, drinking Cosmopolitans, snacking, reading, and settling into The Blue House. Then we picked up Rowena from the station, and went onto dinner.
* Dinner – Zycca Indian Restaurant www.bluemountainswonderland.com.au/client_detail.php?id=608&type_id=2
Juliet had been here before, and was quite right how nice it is. I am very anti fast-food Indian (actually, I dislike a lot of fast food) for the reason that my stomach doesn’t appreciate it. This was so far from a North Indian Diner that you find on Oxford St! It was like a fine dining restaurant, without the prices. We had 2 chicken dishes and 2 vegie dishes between us. Lots of chatting involved. This was not the only time we scared the locals.
* The Three Sisters at night
Liz knew a good quiet spot from which to see the Three Sisters at night. And it was fabulous. Rowena, Juliet and I hadn’t seen them at night before, and were very pleased. Thanks Liz!
* More Relaxing
It was thought that we may venture to the Baroque Bar and hear Meem. This went out the window. We were all rather tired, and decided to go back for more chatting and reading.
* Early to bed
* Late to rise
I didn’t expect to wake up at 8.30, when I’d been asleep since 10.30. But the heater ended up overheating the house. And me. So I didn’t sleep very well.
* Breakfast – Café at the Norman Lindsay Gallery http://www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au/properties/nlg/default.asp
Juliet had also been here before. The breakfast was awesome. I had a big breakfast, including chorizo. Yum! It’s a lovely and welcoming cafe, and the staff are very amusing. Yes, we continued to scare the locals.
* Art – Norman Lindsay Gallery http://www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au/properties/nlg/default.asp
I really liked the tour of the studios, the tour guide, Lindsay’s brothers’ paintings, and the grounds (where I sat in the sun for a few minutes, to be told that I was taking a Granny Nap). I only actually appreciated a few of the paintings and sculptures by Norman Lindsay. Many of them looked demonic to me. And I have never seen such an obsession with mammaries! Apparently, even if his models had small mammaries, he gave them big ones. I think there may have been only 1 or 2 paintings where the women were actually clothed. I think we were all a bit surprised by his obsession – Maybe we shouldn’t have been! Norman Lindsay had quite an interesting life, which apparently was not reflected at all in the movies “Sirens”, so I bought a book by one of his daughters, Jane Lindsay, to read, called “Portrait of Pa”.
* Afternoon Tea in Leura
Back to Cafe Josophans www.josophans.com.au for afternoon tea. I had this awesome Mexican chocolate cake. YUM! Rowena loved her scones – cranberry and chocolate chip. And Juliet and Liz were pleased with their croissants.
* More Shopping in Leura
Two reasons: We didn’t go to everything yesterday, and Rowena hadn’t been with us yesterday.
– Elizabeth Rosa Stationery. Yes, I bought a journal. I couldn’t help myself
– The Loft. I got a lovely oil painting, that is now sitting on my bedside table. And Juliet bought a necklace that she eyed up there in January.
We didn’t do any more shopping there. Liz and I were both really tired, and Liz was driving. I had a quick look to the other side of the road (yes, we hadn’t gone through all the shops), and decided that I could do without seeing more. I forgot about the place where Dave and I found a great painting a few years ago, and The Candy Store. More stuff to do next time!
* Quiet afternoon
We dropped Rowena and Juliet in Katoomba for more shopping, and then Liz and I headed back to The Blue House. I had another Granny Nap, whilst Liz got some of her work done.
I was woken shortly before we left for dinner by the chatter going on in the lounge. I think Rowena got a lovely scarf. Or was it Juliet? But they didn’t spend much.
It was concerning that they couldn’t find the bakery that sold walnut bread. What happened to it? And now where do I find good walnut bread (no figs)?
* Early Dinner – The Avalon http://www.eatability.com.au/au/sydney/avalon.htm
We had seats right at the window, but unfortunately it’s too dark, even at 6pm. That’s what happens when it’s getting close to winter. The Avalon is a lovely older style restaurant, with a menu that hasn’t changed in years, and really lovely wait staff. The food was excellent too. Hardly any tables were in use when we got there at 6pm, but it was full when we left.
We had yummy spring rolls for entree. My main was Eye Fillet – yum – and my dessert was Chocolate Truffle Cake with Ice Cream – yum yum yum.
We all left feeling content. Lovely conversation. And we managed not to scare the locals!
* Movies – Indiana Jones at the Edge Cinema http://www.edgecinema.com.au/features.html
I had already seen this on Thursday (and liked it) and wanted to see it again.
We waited in the big line, where we saw Grant Dodwell from “A Country Practice”. Celebrity spotting in the Mountains!
The Edge Cinema has a screen like at IMAX. They didn’t use the entire screen for Indiana Jones, but it was definitely a lot bigger than normal cinemas. We had a lot of laughs, and a few jumps from my friends. It was a fun way to spend the evening – a good “no brainer” movie.
We got home at 11, and all of us went straight to sleep. It was a very busy and fun day.
* Not so late to rise.
But we had to farewell Liz, who was going back early to finish her paper for work. We wish you could have stayed, but we understood Liz 🙂
* Mermaid’s cave
Juliet drove us to Blackheath to go to Mermaid’s cave. It’s down a rather windy road, and you could miss the sign if you didn’t know where you were going. Luckily Juliet had been before. It was a short walk down some steep stairs, to a lovely small area with a tiny tiny waterfall. Juliet had been there in January, and said it was not so dry back then. But it was peaceful, quiet and very green. Then it was a longer walk back up the steep stairs, to the car.
* Megalong Tea rooms for Devonshire tea http://www.megalongtearooms.com/
This was much further down Megalong road. It was at this point that Juliet and I decided that we couldn’t face High Tea at Lilianfels in the afternoon. I think we’d had so much cake, scones and pastries over the past few days that we thought we’d just enjoy the Devonshire tea and leave it at that.
The hot scones and blueberry jam were yummy, and the hot chocolate was very good too. We had a lovely final chat with Rowena, before Juliet drove her back to Blackheath, just in time for the train back home. We also wish you could have stayed Rowena 🙂
* Shopping in Blackheath
More lovely shops to see and buy things in. I’d never actually shopped in Blackheath before, and was pleasantly surprised. Some of the ones we went to:
– Jewel Gallery http://www.jewelgallery.com.au/ Where I found a necklace that I just had to get. I got one just like it at Melt Festival (outside Berlin) last year, for only 2 euros, that broke a month later. I really liked it, and have been looking for something similar ever since. And I found it! Just wish it had been closer to 2 euros!
– Cafe Josophans www.josophans.com.au Found some Dolfins dark hot chocolate. Quite different from the cafe of the same name in Leura – it was definitely more of a chocolate shop than a cafe. Very good selections too, some of which I really wanted, but decided should wait for another time.
– Victory Theatre http://www.victorytheatre.com.au/ Lots and lots of stuff over 2 floors. I found a book called “The Making of Pride & Prejudice” by Sue Birtwistle & Susie Conklin http://www.amazon.com/Making-Pride-Prejudice-BBC/dp/014025157X. Which I bought. Mmmmmm…Mr Darcy 🙂 🙂
– Gallery Blackheath www.galleryblackheath.com Some lovely paintings & drawings by Blue Mountains artists. I’d spent too much by this stage though.
* Lunch – Victory Cafe http://www.eatability.com.au/au/sydney/victory_cafe.htm
Juliet had mushrooms and I had potato & chorizo soup. All very good. Very amusing waiter too.
* The long trip home
Well we left at 3.10. We didn’t want to go, but we knew that leaving later would be detrimental to going to work on Monday. There was quite a bit of traffic in the mountains, not that we were surprised, so I got home at 5.10. And Juliet shortly afterwards. We had a lovely chat in the car, which involved discussing a possible next trip.
Everyone took photos except me. You can see some of the photos here:
Apart from a small shower in Blackheath on Sunday afternoon whilst having lunch, it was very sunny and as cold as I expected. So no complaints there.
Thankyou very very much to both Liz and Juliet for volunteering their cars (even though I was happy to rent one!) and driving us everywhere.
I had a wonderful time with you all – Rowena, Juliet and Liz – and hope we can do it again in November.
More Leura Shopping
I just found a website to help my shopping in Leura further when I go back up there for High Tea at Lilianfels in June:
Enough now. Time for sleep.