20131103_RCH_5489 20120101__PKO4418 20131103_RCH_5493 20131103_RCH_5499 20131103_RCH_5507A quick trip to Bronte, which we fondly remembered as being a beautiful beach. But, after being spoilt by so many beautiful beaches on this holiday, it had lost its lustre. Sure, for a beach that is within a city of nearly 5,000,000 people, it’s pretty amazing, but truth be told, the sand is quite coarse and dirty. The dark overcast skies didn’t help with things, either (I included a photo from last time for a comparison). Still, it is a nice beach, and thousands of times better than anything within Brisbane. It was quite muggy this morning, so even though the water was quite cold, I went for a quick swim, even though the signs warned against it, due to strong currents. But, I like to think of myself as a strong swimmer, and with all the Surf Life Savers training all around us, I like to think that help was close at hand should something happen.

20131103_RCH_5514 20131103_RCH_5516 20131103_RCH_5518We came back to Bronte not for the beach, but to brunch with some friends that live here. Like most of our friends that we have been visiting, we knew them from Niseko in Japan. We actually house swapped with them when we visited for NYE two years ago (who goes to Brisbane for New Years Eve? Anyway, we weren’t complaining to get their place in Bronte for a few nights). We went for lunch at their local, Bellagio Café in Bronte. I don’t know why, but we didn’t have great expectations for the food. The menu looked interesting and the prices weren’t too bad. When the food came out though, we were blown away by how good the food was here. Seriously. I ordered quinoa and felafel salad (so much flavour going on, every bite was bliss) and Risa got duck confit, which was also good, but she was secretly jealous of mine, I’m sure of it.

20131103_RCH_5521 20131103_RCH_5528 20131103_RCH_5535 20131103_RCH_5541 20131103_RCH_5553After a lunch-time brunch, we made the 25km journey to visit some more friends in Parramatta. I thought the GPS was optimistic when it estimated a 33min journey time (it took a little over an hour, even using the toll roads). Anyway, it was really great seeing these guys again. Rob was also a JET in Hokkaido, who also married a girl from Sapporo and we haven’t caught up since their second child, little Mia-chan was born. We played with the kids for a while before going for a walk down to a park near their house. The council had done a great job beautifying what would have previously been a rather dirty area down by the river (more like a drainage canal with all the concrete that was in the river).

We explored a little of downtown Parramatta, which again, surprised me at the size. It was more than just the usual shopping area, there were significant offices and other high-rise buildings. You could tell that we were some ways out of central Sydney though ­­– it was a little rougher around the edges and a little more worn.

Fantastic Indian curries for dinner – lamb vindadloo, chicken korma and a dahl with butter and garlic naans. Risa said it was the best vindaloo she’s ever had, I’m not disagreeing, but not sure if I’d go that far (even though it was incredibly goooood).

20131103_RCH_5564 20131103_RCH_5580After a final playtime after dinner, the kids were read a book and put to bed, which gave us a chance to catch up as adults, which was good.