Happy New Year!!
I hope everyone celebrated and welcomed 2014 with great excitement and positivity.
For my last trip for the year 2013 (as mentioned on my 2013 year-ender post), we flew to Brisbane on the tail end of December to meet 2014.
Zombie grew up in Brisbane so it’s always a trip to memory lane for him when we are there. As for me, I appreciate the vast difference in lifestyle, weather and vibe between Brisbane and Sydney. It was a 5-day trip and these breaks are enough for me to refresh and have an awesome start to the year.
It was one of those very laid-back trips focused on a lot of eating, catching up and visiting old friends and family.
Here are some of the things we got up to:
King Island & Wellington Point Sand Bar
SUBURB: WYNNUM, QLD
This was an impromptu beach visit ( I was clearly not dressed for it!). We went to Wynnum (a coastal suburb), and after a lazy and windy lunch of calamari and chips (fries), headed to nearby Wellington Point Sandbar.
At low-tide, the sandbar stretches all the way to King Island and it is easily accessible by foot. It was a pleasant walk in the sandbar and an easy way to spend the afternoon. We were there on a weekend, it’s clearly a good spot for families with young children to spend time in. When high-tide came, I discovered that it was also a popular spot for windsurfers.
The Best Peking Duck Outside of Asia
SUBURB: CANNON HILL, QLD
Zombie’s family took us to have Peking Duck dinner one night. If you haven’t had Peking Duck before, I strongly advise you to do so. It is one of life’s sweetest pleasures that must be indulged in at least once in a year. I say once a year because it’s a very rich (and unhealthy) pleasure.
I’m not a big fan of duck and its dark meat but this dish sets my palate a-quackin’ all the time.
Peking Duck is a mini-wrap. Inside the thin pancake is a sweet medley of crispy roasted duck skin, a thin slice of shallot (spring onion) and cucumber, with a dollop of hoisin sauce ( sweet, dark and sticky).
What I love about this particular Peking Duck is how they sliced the roast duck skin. I can normally only eat about maximum of 4 wraps in one sitting because of the heaviness of this dish. But in this place, they expertly skimmed the fat off the skin, so you are left with perfect wafer-crisp squares of crispy (almost fat-free) duck skin!
In a Crab-by State of Mind
SUBURB: DARRA, QLD
Darra is a suburb in Brisbane that has a lot of Vietnamese shops and restaurants. We had crabs for dinner one evening. And as much as I loved the Peking duck dish above, nothing beats a good seafood (specifically crab) meal for me.
This particular crab was fresh, sweet and succulent. I love everything about eating crabs. The shelling, the slow pace, and the finger licking goodness. I love that it leaves me satisfied without feeling sick from being full (as is usual with meat dishes)
Dessert / Night Scene
SUBURB: FORTITUDE VALLEY and MILTON in BRISBANE
We looked for a place to listen to live music on a Monday night, 30th of December. It was a hard task as most clubs and bars are closed on a Monday night. Not to mention that it was the night before New Years Eve, so most bands had the night off before.
After driving up and down the streets, we finally lucked out in the suburb of Fortitude Valley, where there were about 3 bars open. One of them is this open beer garden sort that had live music. The one-female performer was awesome. She sang acoustic versions of year 2000 classics like “Otherside” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers and “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus.
(on a side note speaking of music, I just
found out realised that my battlecry album during my rebellious adolescent years, Green Day’s Dookie is turning 20 years old on the 1st of Feb 2014!)
On the way back, we passed by Milton, a suburb near the CBD area, and found this desert place with a really nice Parisian ambiance:
The ceiling is open and gives the impression you are having dessert under the Eiffel Tower:
The place offered a lot of European desserts like tiramisu, gelato and cannolli. And while I definitely enjoyed my gelato, I have to say that the ambiance of the place trumped the dessert more.
This is Brisbane’s main shopping area in Queen Street. I didn’t really spend much time here. I only came here to go to church on the 31st of December.
December 31 is my father’s death anniversary. We lost him quite tragically and this accounts heavily as to why I am not a big fan of Christmas, or just that festive time of the year. It was his 8th death anniversary on the 31st of December. I try to keep my Christmasses/New Years as low-key as possible. But wherever I am in the world, I always find a church and go to mass first thing in the morning of the 31st.
New Years Eve
The Arbour in Brisbane’s Southbank is a trademark of a walkway with bougainvillas. I think this would be Brisbane’s equivalent to Sydney’s Darling Harbour, where its near the water and there’s also an array of cafes and restaurants where lots of tourists and families go.
This was where we also watched Brisbane’s fireworks as 2014 came closer.
It won’t be fair to compare Brisbane’s fireworks to Sydney’s (where I have spent the last 3 New Years Eves). What I did love about Brisbane’s fireworks though was the music that accompanied them. It was unusual to hear Elvis Presley’s “Fools Rush In” and The Beatles’ “She Loves You (Yeah, yeah yeah)” to fireworks. But it does work, and the fireworks went in time with the tunes.
Liono the Persian Cat
This is not really Brisbane-specific but I think my new pal Liono deserves web-time in this blog. You see, I’ve never been a cat person (I’m a true blooded DOG person as seen here)
However. (A big HOWEVER)
I had the pleasure of meeting Liono the Persian cat while visiting one of Zombie’s friends.
I’d like to think Liono was also thrilled.
Well, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Persian cat before, more so played with one. Zombie’s friend also had a dog (a pug) and I found myself playing with Liono more.
I spent about half an hour rubbing his belly (like a dog), and although he remained stationary, Liono also spent all that time trying to swipe at me with his open claws. That counts as having a moment doesn’t it?
Well, to my credit- when I said goodbye, Liono looked every bit crestfallen. (refer to his first 2 photos–yes the very same expression 24/7)
I’m not a fan of last minute trips mind you. But sometimes, they just happen. So it’s good to know you are covered when you do need them 🙂
How did YOU spend your holidays? Was it also filled with food, friends, family and feline-lovin’?
Sam @ Travellingking.com says
Happy New year Jean – I’m sure 2014 will bring you many many lovely moments!
Sorry about your dad! But I’m glad you have a lovely way of honouring him 🙂
It has certainly been nice “meting” you this year I look forward to following you in your experiences throughout 2014!!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thanks so much Sam, a very happy new year to you too! 🙂 May 2014 bring us more travels, and who knows we may meet for real too!