My Happy 21st Weekend!

When your friend tells you that she needs to go to Sydney for a haircut and that she is taking you with her, for the weekend – you do not refuse!  This is exactly how it panned out for me.  Now I’m not going into the whys and wherefores, that made it necessary for my friend to go to Sydney for a haircut, because that is her story not mine!  But I will say, that after seeing the haircut happen and knowing her circumstance, it was a completely reasonable thing for her to do and thank you to my friend and her husband for giving me this wonderful gift of a weekend away!  We did offer for her husband to come with us but he sensibly declined.  I guess he knew that he would just be in the way!  He did, however, chauffeur us to and from the Brisbane Airport and make the bookings for our flights and accommodation for us …. always helpful and appreciated!


We left Brisbane just before lunch on Friday and returned late Sunday afternoon.  We were spoilt with Qantas Business Class seats for the hour and a bit flight down.  This also meant that we were to sample the first of quite a few good reds, during the weekend.  It was during the flight that we dubbed our adventure My Happy 21st Weekend!  Over lunch, we realised that I had not been to Sydney for around 21 years – the last time being for primary school national swimming  championships to watch BossBoy compete. (Since I’ve been home, I have worked out that it was probably 23 years ago but I’m sticking with the 21st celebration as this had become our unofficial theme!)  On arrival the weather was fine and warm when we exited the airport, which gave us hope for a great weekend.

After checking in at the Amora Hotel, we entered our room to find this ….


Yes, just one bed!  Now this may not have been such a big problem if I had not shared with my friend the simple fact that I had forgotten my pyjamas!  She was simply NOT willing to go there and so in a matter of 15 minutes we were moved into our new room that looked like this ….


They were both queen sized beds, even though the photo looks as if it was one queen and one double!

This room was to become the base for my happy 21st weekend.  Our first stop was to be the hairdresser for the haircut!  I have to say that watching Philippe work wonders on my friend was most impressive and her sometimes difficult to manage hair, looked sensational when he had finished!  You can find him inside the Four Seasons Hotel at Philippe Xavier Hairdressers , if you are ever in Sydney and the need arises!


Later that evening, after my first ride on a double decker train, we joined my friend’s son, his partner and her mother for a delicious home cooked dinner in their unit.  It was such a treat for all three of us mothers’ to be cooked for.  I believe there is no better way to get to know someone, than to share a meal, good wine and great conversation and this was no exception!  We returned to our hotel, via Uber, with full tummies and happy hearts.

Saturday morning dawned with clear blue skies and a blustery wind.  After a delightful buffet breakfast at our hotel, we embarked on a morning of shopping and sight seeing.  This began with a walk to the Queen Victoria Building or QVB, which took a little longer than it should have, due to disruptions forced by the on-going construction of the light rail in George St and the other wonderful arcades and shops, on the way!  The QVB has a wonderful array of shops and after spending some time window shopping and purchasing the odd bits and bobs, we decided to sit next to the magnificent clock, at Cellinis Bar Restaurant, to eat a late morning Devonshire Tea.  Both the Devonshire Tea and the clock were splendid.


Next we walked down to Circular Quay, where the wind was ferocious but the sights were spectacular.  Thankfully, it wasn’t cold as we wandered amongst the many tourists playing Pokemon Go or taking in the famous landmarks of Sydney Harbour!   However, we were happy with our decision to remain on dry land and not to venture out onto the choppy water.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House looked a picture and were well worth my aching knees, when we eventually returned to our hotel some 4 or so hours later.

Looking back towards the city from the Opera House.
Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Sydney Opera House.
Original stairway leading up to the Botanical Gardens.
Original stairway leading up to the Botanical Gardens.

We also loved the street performers around the Quay.  They certainly added to the enjoyment and the colour of our walk.  The blustery conditions made it difficult and even at times dangerous to perform.



Saturday night we once again joined my friends son and partner for dinner but before that we caught a train to the heritage listed, Marble Bar at the Sydney Hilton, to meet them for a drink.  This beautiful place is full of impressive artwork, ornate carved bars and stained glass doors from the Victorian era.  From there we taxied to Glebe where we ate the most delicious traditional Italian food at Ombretta.  The menu is  changed to a different region of Italy according to the season.  We ate from the Piemonte region and would happily recommend any of the dishes offered from the menu, which changes so frequently that it is only offered verbally via the excellent wait staff.  Another highly enjoyable evening consisting of great food and wine, coupled with much laughter and fun.

Sunday was to be our last morning in Sydney and we spent it wandering around the Marrickville Markets.  Primarily an organic fresh food market, there is also a large number of tasty ethnic food stalls, plants and clothing, as well as preloved household items.  This would certainly be a place to regularly frequent if we lived in Sydney.

We even caught up with Frida there!



From the markets, it was off to the airport and a happy goodbye to my friend’s son and partner.  Happy because we knew they would be in Brisbane in four weeks for a family gathering.  We were happy to spend a couple of hours at the airport in the Qantas Club as my sad old knees had developed *Berlin Syndrome from all the walking.  This is so disappointing, as I have been exercising regularly, but they are continuing to make walking any distance or length of time, difficult.  This did not dampen the enjoyment of our time together, however.  We had fun  celebrating my 21st in Sydney – especially when telling people it was my 21st!!!  Some of the incredulous looks I received were truly hilarious and an explanation was required!


So our weekend was made up of time spent with my friend’s son and his partner, the “haircut”, eating and drinking, seeing the beautiful sights of Sydney Harbour and talking!  It was just what we needed!  Happy 21st Weekend from us both!


p.s. Stay tuned for my next post to see how my partial social media detox went!


*Berlin Syndrome – my poor old knees really suffered from all the walking I did while visiting my son in Germany a couple of months ago.



Hi, I'm Mandy! Wandering my way through life using words. Family and friends. Connection and community. I care. I write. I share. I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and if you'd like receive updates via email please click HERE.

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