The rains have ceased, and, thanks to the Queen's birthday, we tacked Monday on to extend our weekend here in NSW. We've been heading out to the CBD throughout the week to catch many of the Vivid light installations and exhibits, which involves a lot of crowd wading, so yesterday, we slowed our pace and stuck a little closer to home. Pickle picked out a new (to us) café in Newtown we tried for brunch called The Vintage Café, and we spent the afternoon wandering in and out of random bookstores and art shops. Newtown was a great little suburb with a lot of character. We split the smoked salmon eggs benedict and a BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sammy with aoili) for a not-so-light, but super tasty brunch. We invested in a piece of art for which we still need a frame; I finally broke down and paid $20 for Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (not that it wasn't great writing - I read it today - I've just never been able to get past the price tag for 150 pages), and we finally replaced Wilson (I don't want to talk about it!). Since brunch was pretty significant, we glossed over a real dinner and had a bit of an 80's dance party while collaborating on homemade choc chip cookies (you know - to help work off any excess caloric intake from the day). They were pretty successful for not having a stand mixer (or even a mixing bowl, to be honest...Pickle mixed the dough in a pot with a spatula...not that kind - the kind you'd use to flip pancakes). We may have gone a bit overboard on the chocolate chunks, though there were no remaining cookies after breakfast this morning, so it apparently wasn't too problematic.
Our trips to Vivid included stops at Martin Place, where we encountered the 4 meter tall Mountain of Light, and interactive pyramid of light and sound...
...Geometrics, 32 moving lights programmed to created various geometric designs in the night sky (particularly cool when viewed from directly underneath...
...and 8Bits+Bytes, a game-themed area where local eateries served up competition in a bespoke burger battle and a local design company set up an immersive, body-tracked game of Pong. Pickle and I waited our turn among the kiddies and played ourselves...I thought I had a pretty solid strategy after watching several rounds, but I have to say he beat me pretty badly!
While we skipped the burgers since we'd already eaten dinner, we did happen upon (and by happen upon, I mean sought out with Google maps) a place for dessert called Chanoma Café, where Pickle had the chocolate parfait and I had the Matcha Parfait...
On Friday night, we headed down to the CBD for more Vivid, but first we tried out a place called Chef's Gallery for dinner. There was already at queue outside the restaurant before it opened at 5:30. Pickle and I split handmade noodles (they make them right there in the window) with roast duck and mushrooms and crispy caramelized eggplant. I had a frozen lychee mint juice and Pickle had lychee green tea. We had to splurge for dessert and get the "Piggy and Eggy Fairyland" with black sesame buns shaped like pigs (SO good) and egg custard buns shaped like eggs, a scoop of fresh strawberry and matcha ice creams, and fairy floss (cotton candy), star sprinkles, silver lollies, Pocky and candy rocks. It was more fun to look at than eat, to be truthful, but at least it was a whimsical strike out! By far my favorite part of dessert was the hot tea I ordered: globe amaranth and jasmine flower tea bulb. It was the most beautiful beverage I've ever seen!
After dinner, we headed through Hyde Park and over to the Royal Botanic Garden (celebrating it's 200th birthday this year) and Circular Quay. The highlights included The Cathedral of Light, a 60m long, 8m high tunnel of tens of thousands of lights. (I had noted to Pickle that it feels like we should be gearing up for Christmas soon with the cold weather...this really put me in the mind to celebrate the holidays!).
Strolling through the gardens, our favorite feature was called Synthesis, which featured a huge Moreton Bay Fig tree.
Here are few shots of other installations around Circular Quay as well as the Harbour Bridge and Sydney opera House, some of which were taken Saturday night from the ferry...
Saturday's ferry ride brought us to Taronga Zoo. This is the zoo's first year participating in Vidi Sydney, and it was one of the highlights of our experience. Intricate, moving lanterns were designed to highlight some of the endangered species Taronga works to protect. This was the only Vivid venue we paid to experience, and all proceeds to go help conservation efforts, as Taronga is a non-profit zoo.
Vivid employs projections in a number of different venues around the city. We saw a show on the Customs House, the entrance to the Taronga Zoo, the Museum of Contemporary Art and on the Opera House. Here's some footage I shot at the CMA (no tripod)...
...and here is 12 minutes of footage of the Opera House projections I shot with a tripod that I sped up to 3 minutes...
It's been an exciting and hectic Vivid Sydney experience, followed by a much appreciated lazy Sunday in Newtown. I'm grateful for the break in the rain and the warm sunshine this week has brought. Hope our Southern hemisphere neighbors are staying warm and friends and family to the north are taking advantage of summer!