Wifi Romance

Gone are the days of a ring in a champagne glass to pop the big question.

There are many novel and interesting ways to propose, but wowzers, I saw one that took me by surprise the other day.
Welcome to the 21st century! Digital proposal – via a wifi network!

From Wifi proposal

I think that takes the cake for romance killer.

People always talk about looking for a “connection” when it comes to relationships, but a “wifi” connection is not the kind of connection that came to mind.

So yes, I saw this for real on my iPhone! Whilst in Sydney. I took a screenshot on my iPhone.
I captured this at Sydney airport, of all places, as I was boarding my flight back to Japan.

I wonder if the password for the wifi access was “Yes”??!!
Sadly, I didn’t try entering that in.
But most likely “Access Denied” — which sums up my lovelife (or lack thereof) in general.
Well, at least I got broadband!

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SUPer Manly

I’ve just come back from a week in Sydney. Was great to feast on good food, sunshine and hang out with family and friends. It was a jam-packed holiday.
Was able to get in a couple of days of SUPing in Sydney.

One of my favourite things to do in Sydney, is taking the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. Blessed withe awesome weather, my good friend Nell and I had a nice chillaxin day with a couple of hours of SUP thrown in.

Prepare to Get Jealous. Enjoy the photo tour.

Harbourside:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Relaxing on the ferry ride:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Cruising through Sydney Harbour:

From Manly SUP

Approaching Manly:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Check out this stingray!!!

From Manly SUP

Silhouette v Stingray:

From Manly SUP

Gotta love the clean, clear water of Sydney.

From Manly SUP

Wharfside:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Out on the water, SUPing:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Out in the sunshine, in and on the water – I’m in my element:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Nell SUPs for the first time:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

I’ll tell ya what, it was a bit windy and the current was against us. We tried to paddle in to another couple of beaches, but we just couldn’t get in against the current. Had to stick closer to the shores.

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Sydney water taxi:

From Manly SUP

Manly even have a SUPball club – a game played on SUP boards. Definitely something I’m going to check in when I move to Sydney. But man, it looks tough!

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Right by Manly wharf is where you can hire SUP boards and kayaks:

From Manly SUP

Don’t these people have jobs???

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

I heart Sydney:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

After SUPing, it was time for some swimming. Water was a little fresh. Not yet summer in Oz. But water was super clear.

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Spot the fish:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Spot the mermaid:

From Manly SUP

Worked up an appetite after all that time in the water.
Seafood and wine by the water. It’s a hard life, but someone’s gotta do it!

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Ferry ride back after a great day out at Manly:

From Manly SUP

Da Opera Haus:

From Manly SUP

High Tea by the water: Gunners Barracks

High time for a high tea review.
I’ve been slacking on the high tea consumption recently. I think I’ve only done two in Tokyo this year. But I’ve done a few overseas ones which I haven’t yet gone around to posting.
I have replaced scones with swimming and SUPing this summer.

Today’s high tea is review is one from Sydney which I did over the Christmas/New Year trip back home. Long overdue, I know. About 9 months overdue. One could have had a baby in that time!

But better late than never, and without further ado, today’s high tea post is that of the Tea Room at Gunners Barracks (Mosman, Sydney).
There are two branches of the Tea Room (one at the QVB and the other at Gunners Barracks.)
The Gunners Barracks is a nice location. It’s on a cliffpoint that overlooks Sydney Harbour, and is a heritage building. Once a military compound, it is now a popular wedding and reception spot.

From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea

It’s a shame the day was overcast and cloudy.

From Gunners Barracks high tea

But still, can’t complain about water views over Sydney Harbour!

From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea

Sydney CBD:

From Gunners Barracks high tea

There’s an outdoor terrace seating area which offers prime harbour views. You’ll need to book and request terrace seats (otherwise you might be stuck in the indoor seating area which is no fun).

From Gunners Barracks high tea

The indoor seating area:

From Gunners Barracks high tea

A piccolo of champagne to start with:

From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea

Tea with a view:

From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea

Quite the afternoon spread:

From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea

Finger sandwiches (crusts off, of course):

From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea

Savoury morsels and scones:

From Gunners Barracks high tea

Jam and cream:

From Gunners Barracks high tea

The food was very good. Probably not the best scones I’ve had.

The view though was splendid and would be ideal on a clear blue sky day.

From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea
From Gunners Barracks high tea

Open for lunch and afternoon tea. You’ll want to book as this place is popular (times may be restricted for certain functions, wedding receptions etc).

Sydney Harbour + High Tea is a great combination:

From Gunners Barracks high tea

Aussie Afternoon Tea at Sir Stamford

Am very behind on my afternoon tea reviews.
This is one that I did back in Sydney over the Christmas break….yeah, yeah, I know, that was over 6 months ago. But better late than never.
I figured I should probably get these up on the blog before my next Sydney trip rolls around which I realised is only a couple of months away.

First up was Afternoon Tea at the Sir Stamford Hotel. One of my Christmas presents from my dad was a high tea at a venue of my choice. There is no shortage of high tea venues in Sydney – there are soooo many of them, so it’s hard to prioritize which one to go to. I spent weeks researching which one to go to. I decided on the Sir Stamford Hotel near Circular Quay.

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

I definitely enjoyed this one – good food and good company.
I went along with my one of my best friends – Nell, my dad and his SO.
We splurged and went for the Elegance High Tea which included champagne.

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

Afternoon teas in Sydney aren’t cheap. In fact, Sydney is not a cheap place at all. I actually think living in Tokyo is cheaper.

Afternoon tea here is served at The Bar. Not A Bar, THE Bar:

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

Inside The Bar:

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

It’s a traditional style bar with quite the masculine feel to it. No florally, feminine furnishings.

Bring on the champagne:

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

High Tea Tiers all round:

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

Yum, yum, yum. I love Aussie afternoon teas. Yummy savoury morsels.

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

Generous portion of smoked salmon and caviar:

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

This curry pastry puff was the best. Could have had me a lot more of these. I think these were a winner all round:

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

The sweets round:

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

As always, I save the scones for last. Aussie scones are the best. I dream of Aussies scones. I salivate at the thought of them. No where else does scones better than Sydney. In Sydney, we like a scones fluffy, not dry and hard. I’ve had high tea in about 8 different countries and none compare to Aussie scones.
This is what scones should look like:

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

And yes, us Aussies like to dust our scones with icing sugar. Simply, the bomb! Can’t say the same for the guava jam that was served with it. Keep it simple, folks. Nothing beats strawberry jam.

From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea
From Sir Stamford Hotel Afternoon Tea

The only downside to note about afternoon tea in Australia, is that you generally can’t sample different teas. Gotta choose one tea blend and stick with it, although they will usually allow hot water refills (just don’t burn yourself).

Afternoon tea here was classic and solid.

I’ve got another two Sydney venues to write up about….plus get thinking about the next venue for my next Sydney visit.

Sydney Pool Crawl: ABC Pool

After walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I then walked around Circular Quay and past the Opera House and through the outskirts of the Royal Botanical Gardens.

From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens

Aussies in their natural habitat, bumming around:

From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair:

From Sydney Botanical Gardens

Wolloomoolloo (did I spell that right?):

From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From Sydney Botanical Gardens

Destination: Pool number 2 – the Andrew “Boy” Charlton Pool.

From Sydney Botanical Gardens
From ABC pool

Another glorious outdoor 50m pool (part chlorinated/part salt water), mostly dedicated to lap swimmers, too!

From ABC pool
From ABC pool
From ABC pool
From ABC pool
From ABC pool
From ABC pool

That was a solid workout of a day.
1km swim, 5km walk, another 1km swim and more walking. I had another pool on my pool crawl, but alas, I a had plans that afternoon so had to end the day short. Only 2 pools, so not much of a pool crawl. Will need do the other two pools when I’m next in Sydney (September — probably not the best swimming weather though – it will be winter in the Southern Hemisphere).

A Sydney pool crawl is definitely a cool way to see the main sights of Sydney and get in a bit of fitness. Learn from my mistakes – don’t spend the day walking around in thongs (flip flops). Joggers are a better option. As are shorts (and not a summer dress). And rinse off all the salt after each swim to avoid chafing.

Sydney Pool Crawl: Harbour Bridge Walk

Part II of the Sydney Pool crawl was walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From North Sydney Pool I thought it would be a good idea to walk all the way to my next pool – the Andrew “Boy” Charlton (ABC) Pool. I did not realise how far that was!

From North Sydney train station, you can walk along the entire length of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Blessed with blue skies and sunshine, it was the perfect day to tale in the sights of Sydney’s main attractions – namely the harbour, the Bridge, Opera House and Circular Quay.

Near North Sydney Pool – Under the Bridge:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Luna Park:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Circular Quay:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Start of the Bridge walk:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Sydney’s harbour bridge has a pedestrian walking path on one side – open to walkers, joggers and the occasional person with a bicycle, and train tracks on the other where the North Sydney train line runs.

Over and across the Bridge:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Great views of the harbour from the bridge:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

I love harbour cities!

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Not only can you walk, train, drive, cycle across the bridge, you can also climb on the Bridge – if you do the Bridge Climb Experience (definitely worth doing!).

Here are some bridge climbers:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

You can also walk up to the Bridge lookout pylons (an $11 entry fee to walk up 200 steps).

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

A typical Sydney summer’s day:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Circular Quay:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

From The Rocks:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Walking route from North Sydney Pool, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, around Circular Quay, around the Royal Botanical Gardens and to the next pool (approx 5.3km – 1.5hours at a leisurely pace):

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Sydney Pool Crawl: Part I

During my summer Sydney visit, I thought it would be an awesome idea to do a Sydney Pool Crawl (as opposed to a bar crawl). Like most good plans, it never quite turns out the way that you plan it. I had planned on visiting 4 swimming pools around Sydney City and swimming 1km at each pool. The reality – – I only did two pools. Hence I satisfied the “Sydney Pool” part of my idea. The “Crawl” came into it, because I ended up walking about 10km all over town! I did sooo much walking that I didn’t get to do the four pools. Did I mention that I had planned on walking from one pool to the next pool?! Hence all that walking around, meant that I didn’t get to quite fit in as much swimming as I would have liked. The day started off with a train ride into the city all the way to North Sydney station. From there I walked to North Sydney Pool – a wonderful pool (and probably one of my favourites). It’s situated right under the “Coathanger” aka the Sydney Habour Bridge. Can’t complain with a harbour-side pool. It’s also quite an historic pool and the water more saltwater than chlorine. Part 1: North Sydney Pool. Prime piece of real estate, that.

From North Sydney Pool

The “Coathanger”:

From North Sydney Pool

Lovely 50m outdoor pool. A whole 7 laps dedicated to lap swimmers!

From North Sydney Pool
From North Sydney Pool
From North Sydney Pool

Enjoying the Sydney sunshine, blue skies and a refreshing swim:

From North Sydney Pool

Dedicated lap swimmers:

From North Sydney Pool
From North Sydney Pool
From North Sydney Pool

Harbourside:

From North Sydney Pool

Luna Park amusement park right next door.

From North Sydney Pool

Swam 1km here and enjoyed a quick bask in the sun. One pool down. Sydney Pool Crawl to be continued…. 5193381 2013-02-12 22:43:33 2013-02-12 13:43:33 open closed sydney-pool-crawl-part-i publish 0 0 post 0 Australia down under : oz Fitness passing time photography Random Swimming Swimming Travel travel _edit_last 253158 _encloseme 1 _encloseme 1 Sydney Pool Crawl: Harbour Bridge Walk http://memoirsofaleisha.blog.com/2013/02/15/sydney-pool-crawl-harbour-bridge-walk/ Fri, 15 Feb 2013 04:35:56 +0000 aleishariboldi@gmail.com http://memoirsofaleisha.blog.com/?p=5193383 Part II of the Sydney Pool crawl was walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From North Sydney Pool I thought it would be a good idea to walk all the way to my next pool – the Andrew “Boy” Charlton (ABC) Pool. I did not realise how far that was! From North Sydney train station, you can walk along the entire length of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Blessed with blue skies and sunshine, it was the perfect day to tale in the sights of Sydney’s main attractions – namely the harbour, the Bridge, Opera House and Circular Quay. Near North Sydney Pool – Under the Bridge:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Luna Park:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Circular Quay:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Start of the Bridge walk:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Sydney’s harbour bridge has a pedestrian walking path on one side – open to walkers, joggers and the occasional person with a bicycle, and train tracks on the other where the North Sydney train line runs. Over and across the Bridge:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Great views of the harbour from the bridge:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

I love harbour cities!

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Not only can you walk, train, drive, cycle across the bridge, you can also climb on the Bridge – if you do the Bridge Climb Experience (definitely worth doing!). Here are some bridge climbers:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

You can also walk up to the Bridge lookout pylons (an $11 entry fee to walk up 200 steps).

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

A typical Sydney summer’s day:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Circular Quay:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

From The Rocks:

From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge
From Walking the Harbour Bridge

Walking route from North Sydney Pool, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, around Circular Quay, around the Royal Botanical Gardens and to the next pool (approx 5.3km – 1.5hours at a leisurely pace):

From Walking the Harbour Bridge

 

Swimming at Wylie’s Baths

My trip back to Sydney alternated between eating and swimming. It was actually really cool to explore and swim in new waters. Another swimming venture was to Wylie’s Baths – another first. This is ocean water pool. Conditions will really depend on the tides. At high tides the waves wash over and lap into the pool making it a real proper wave pool.

From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths

It’s located at Coogee. Nice views indeed.

From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths

I know a couple that got married here and had their reception on the pool deck/terrace. Very cool. I’d never have thought about a wedding reception at a pool, overlooking the ocean. Very idyllic.

From Wylies’ Baths

The “bath” is actually an ocean pool. It was a bit wild on the day we went.

From Wylies’ Baths

The surface floor is all rocky and barnacle-y and there happened to be lots of bluebottles in the water on the day we were there. My dad actually ended up getting stung as did some other pool-goers…needless to say we didn’t manage to do a lot of swimming there. No lanes either, just free swimming, but it was super wavey.

From Wylies’ Baths

Definitely a very cool place to swim…but much preferred the “tame-ness” of Bondi Icebergs.

From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths

Considering I wasn’t able to do many laps here, I took advantage of taking photos instead.

From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths

I had never been before so it was great to actually check out this ocean pool.

From Wylies’ Baths

You can see Coogee beach in the background. From the baths, you can go down a direct walking track to reach the beach.

From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths

Coogee Beach:

From Wylies’ Baths

One of the open water swim races that’s on my bucketlist when I go back to Oz, is the “Wedding cake island” swim. It’s an open water swim race from Coogee Beach out to Wedding Cake island and back. It’s about a 3km swim. This, my friends, is Wedding Cake island. It’s high tide here, so it’s not that visible. Perhaps some better images here?

From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths

Had me a good ol’ sausage roll here, with tomato sauce, of course. Yummo.

From Wylies’ Baths
From Wylies’ Baths

 

A dip at Bondi Icebergs

One of the things on my Sydney to-do list, was to swim at Bondi Icebergs – an iconic swimming pool right by Bondi Beach. Hard to believe I’ve never swum there before. What started out as an overcast morning:

From Bondi Icebergs

ended up turning into clear blue skies later….

From Bondi Icebergs

Bondi Icebergs is a 50m saltwater swimming pool at the edge of Bondi Beach open ALL year round. (Entry fee $5.50)

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

At high tide, the waves lap over the walls. Yeah, it gets kinda wavy and rocky when you’re swimming laps in this pool. It’s good open water swimming practice in a contained environment. (Stay clear of lane 8 if possible).

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

A real Aussie beach:

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

I ended up swimming up 2.5km here. It was a nice refreshing swim. So nice to be able to swim outdoors and in a 50m pool and a saltwater one at that – all of which are a rarity in Japan. And exclusively all swimming lanes. Gotta love a pool that dedicates all 8 lanes to lap swimmers! A great pool to swim in. Very invigorating.

From Bondi Icebergs

After swimming a couple of k’s, it was time to EAT. The Icebergs Club has both an RSL and a fancy dining restaurant. The RSL is the way to go. Balcony terrace with stunning views, good hearty Aussie food and super reasonable prices given its location (it is an RSL after all). We just missed out on the brunch menu (it ends around 11-11:30am) so had to dine from the lunch menu. I definitely wanna go back there again when next in Sydney for brunch. If you’re in Sydney, I would totally recommend a swim here followed by brunch. And then a walk from Bondi to Coogee following the coastal walk. Are you listening, Lonely Planet Australia? Nothing like a swim and then a hearty big Aussie brekky. Lunch didn’t disappoint though. Got me a schnitzel with gravy, salad and fries. Does it get any better? We managed to score ourselves a balcony table. Check out the views!

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

A glass of wine, basking in the Sydney summer.

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

Tucking into lunch:

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

It’s fun to people-watch here and watch all the lap swimmers.

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

I love it when the water is this colour!

From Bondi Icebergs

And then dessert – lemon tart. Hell yeah!

From Bondi Icebergs

Talk about an ideal day in Sydney – morning swim at Bondi Icebergs pool, good meal, lemon tart and a cup of tea, enjoying the sunshine Down Under.

From Bondi Icebergs

Hello, Sydney!

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

The Bondi to Coogee walking route:

From Bondi Icebergs

I’m looking forward to next time I get to swim (and eat) there! Happy Australia Day for tomorrow!

The life of Pie

Got to eat a meat pie when I was back in Oz. Not any ordinary meat pie, mind you, but a Harry’s Cafe de Wheels pie. They call it the “Tiger” (a pie floater) – meat pie topped with mashed potato, mashed peas and filled with gravy in the middle. Mmm yum. That’s what I’m talking about.

From Harry’s cafe de wheels
From Harry’s cafe de wheels
From Harry’s cafe de wheels
From Harry’s cafe de wheels
From Harry’s cafe de wheels