Sydney’s ‘hidden’ garden of friendship

On the 1st of July, a day trip was taken into Sydney central stopping, off at Willoughby along the way to meet a friend and take his host family’s 12-week old puppy Sammy for a walk. The train journey to Willoughby from Niagara Park took around 2 hours due to having to catch a bus from Chatswood to Willoughby.  Once arriving at the destination, a 5-minute walk was taken to get to the park, where Sammy was let off the lead to run wild. For a puppy, he was extremely well behaved, didn’t leave our sides once.  An hour or so into playing fetch it was decided (mostly decided by the growling stomachs) that it was time to head to Central to grab brunch. After dropping the beautiful adorable puppy off at the house we headed to the bus, which took half an hour to arrive then another half an hour to get to where we wanted to go. Stepping off the bus, realisation kicked in that said person forgot to put the SD card back into her camera, so a quick detour was made to go buy one (finding a shop wasn’t easy).

10 minutes later (already 30 minutes late for meeting another friend) Rebecca comes into view as we head down Darling Harbour to Pancakes on the rocks. Having been told that the waiting time to would be around 20-30 minutes; 5-minutes later we got seated. It was finally time to pig out on pancakes!! IMG_1552

It’s sad that every person who came into the restaurant was on their phones. This group of about 10 came in and sat next to us, every single person including the new born was on some form of device. Not a single one of them spoke, just sat there through their whole meal on these devices. Has it really got to that point where families and friends have nothing to talk about in person?  Don’t get me wrong, you will see me on my phone (mostly taking pictures) but even so, whenever there are others around, that phone gets put on silent and put away.  Anyway, once the pancakes had been demolished a trip to the Chinese Gardens of Friendship was in order.

To get into the Gardens a small fee of $6 is required but with this, you get given a receipt which allows you to go in and out as many times as you like without having to pay again. Which is rather good in a way but it’s not really the sort of place that you’d want to keep going into. It’s more of you’ve been there and done that sort of place; small and not as much there as you’d think. It’s a beautiful garden, worth a look around and to be honest you could spend an afternoon there after all. We ended up in there for a few hours due to taking photos all the way round. As you first step into the gardens Bonsai trees stand proudly in colourfully decorated flower pots. Walking a bit further in you notice red Chinese lanterns dangling above your head. Heading round the bend there’s a big marble slab standing tall with a story about the history and philosophy behind the idea of the Chinese Gardens; one side is in English the other side in Chinese. Going past the marble slab you come across this courtyard, which has this giant frame entwined with two dragons looking towards the centre at a temple by the looks of things. Moving through the courtyard you arrive at the lake, which in all fairness is not as spectacular as you’d imagine it to be. There’s this image you get in your head where you imagine things to be a certain way with a certain amount of wow. Walking around the gardens none of what was seen gave off that wow. Don’t get it wrong, the place is beautiful, the layout is nice but in reality, there are much better places to go.

Heading away from the lake towards the arc there was a bunch of people dressed up in the traditional Chinese wear. They kindly allowed a photo to be taken off them which was rather nice. At this point, we were like oh ok do people really walk around Sydney dressed in that way to come to the gardens? But then just beyond the arc is a little shop where you can pay $10 to dress up in the traditional wear. Getting a little excited, this lady wrapped a white skirt around my waist and placed a pink wrap around my upper half. She then placed this headpiece upon my head which was so heavy. By the time all the photos had been taken, getting the headpiece off was such a relief. DSCN9609IMG_1964

It took around an hour or two to walk around the gardens and take pictures; afterward, we headed for a McDonalds before going to Paddy’s market. People inside the market are really not happy of you taking photos, so the camera was kept hidden in my bag. We just mooched around trying on weird hats and picking out the most revolting revealing Halloween costumes that came into view. Some were just vile! Then Rebecca took us to Spice Alley; highly recommend the place. Although we didn’t stop to eat as said person had to catch the train home.

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