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May 2017

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Who doesn’t like Saturday markets?

The other day I was going to do groceries and wanted to enjoy the beautiful day. I took a detour via Glebe because I had not really visited the suburb before. As I walked down the main street I accidentally ended up in Glebe Markets, which is organised every Saturday. Tents and stalls selling both new and used clothes, all sorts of jewellery and lunch snacks. I was not going to buy anything, but I enjoyed the cosy, down to earth atmosphere. They have outdoor entertainment as well. This time is was a singer but sometimes they have bands and even acrobats. There are many cafes, restaurants and shops right next to it on Glebe Point Road so it is easy to spend an afternoon in that area.

Glebe Markets are located close to the University of Sydney but you don’t really even have to leave the campus to visit a market. The University of Sydney hosts Wednesday markets every other Wednesday on Camperdown campus. Eastern Avenue fills up with tents selling this and that. It is quite convenient if you have to walk across the campus: you’ll run into the market without even trying to find it.

The Rocks Markets are bigger and more constructed. Lovely cobblestone streets of the Rocks are lined with tents and stalls on weekends. Foodlovers like The Rocks Foodies Markets, which take place on Fridays. 9am to 3pm delicious smells mix together. Fruits, chocolate, fudge, cheese, bread, burgers… Saturday and Sundays are dedicated to everything else. Over 200 stalls full of arts, crafts, clothes, beauty products and everything else. The Rocks is really alive.

Paddy’s Markets at Haymarket are a bit different. It is pretty easy to get lost in the indoor market hall, it is so huge. This corner is full of hats, towels are over there, kangaroo products here and all the food items seem to be located on the other end. This is a place to go for Aussie souvenir hunt. Also the fruit and vegetable selection is great. Paddy’s is open from Wednesday to Sunday, so if you are really clever, you go to get your fruits and veg on Sunday afternoon because the sellers want to get rid of their products. The prices start to drop. Bananas $1/kg. The sellers are declaring their special deals and writing new price tags. Who has the cheapest avocados available?

Artistic Sydney

19 May, 2017

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Everyone can recognise the white sails of Sydney Opera House from a picture. How the walls arch over the ocean and the sunlight reflects from the windows. But have you been inside the iconic landmark?

Anyone can walk in and have a look around even if you are not going to go see a performance. However, the opera, concert or theatre halls are not accessible without a ticket. Those are the interesting bits of the building, the parts where the magic happens, so going to see a show in Sydney Opera house is worth paying a bit. The famous building hosts a variety of music performances as well as world class operas and comedy shows, something for everyone. The acoustics are good and the atmosphere great. Going to see a show in the opera house is a special occasion and surely a memorable one.

If you enjoy arts but want less prestigious experiences, you are more than welcome to go to one of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music events. They regularly have evening concerts, matinees and open masterclasses where you can follow the teaching. I went to a lunchtime matinee which was free of charge: members of public were invited to come to listen young Rising Star students perform piano pieces. Watching those talented children tackling difficult pieces like professionals was stunning. Close your eyes and just listen to the music that pours out of the flygel.

Performing arts are thriving in Sydney but there are also many art galleries and exhibitions around the city. The Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney has free admission to permanent galleries. It is situated close to the city centre, right next to the Botanical Gardens so it is very easy to visit. European art, Australian art, Aboriginal art, photography… It is a great rainy day destination. If you want more you can just visit City of Sydney, What’s On website and search for arts & culture. There are always tons of interesting things listed. I think I have to go to see the astrophotography exhibition by Ed Hurst this weekend.

Sydney is a great city to explore the current art scene. And even if you are not really into arts, it might be worth while checking out a thing or two. 30 minutes lunch time concert is not that long even if you end up hating it. And it is never too late to go to your very first opera.

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When I asked my Australian friends what Australian food I should try, they had to think hard to come up with something very Australian. Alongside the Lamington pies and Anzac biscuits, they suggested coffee. I am from Finland, top 1 coffee consuming country in the world. Saying that coffee is part of Australian cuisine sounds crazy to me. But, even though Australians don’t drink coffee like Finns, they love their coffee.

Australians like their coffee fancy. You can not get basic filtered coffee anywhere: everything is espresso based. Most of the time the coffee is good, but sometimes even Australians mess up the coffee. Yesterday the cappuccino that was supposed to get me through a study session was lukewarm and flat. Disappointing. To avoid bad experiences it is good to know where to get good coffee around uni.

If you need a takeaway, pop by the small cafes. Manning Kiosk looks shabby, but the coffee is good. And you get it quickly. Eat at Fisher is usually busy which is why the coffee often comes out barely warm and without foam. But when there are no lines it is a great place to grab a drink before going to the library which is just a few steps away. Also, it is open until 10pm on weekdays. If you are on the other side of the campus, near Wentworth building, try Cafe Azzuri. It has strong coffee and the crepes menu looks pretty good as well.

When you prefer to sit down and enjoy the coffee from a real cup, the Courtyard Cafe is the place to go. The cafe is spacious and light. It is a nice place to meet a friend or take your laptop for a visit. Why not spending an afternoon studying and drinking good coffee there instead of the library? The lines are long during lunch time but after 2pm the hassle calms down.

If you are a coffee lover, it might be worth joining the University of Sydney Union (USU) and become ACCESS member. The price of a latte is about the same, around $3.90, everywhere on campus but the food outlets give a discount for student union members. And every 7th coffee is free! Also, every day between 3.30pm and 4.30pm students get a special deal, any coffee for $2.50, by showing their ACCESS card. USU has understood that the students need their coffee.

Even though we have many cafes on campus, they don’t beat the nearby cafes in New Town and Glebe. My favourite is Sappho Cafe in Glebe, which is located in the back of a cosy bookshop. Tasty coffee, ceramic cups, old books, small tables, plants and graffiti. It is a proper sit-down-and-enjoy cafe.

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A ball emerges from the pile of men. A man in a bright green jersey catches it and starts running across the field as if on fire. Men in blue jerseys dash after him. How did he get loose? Just before the finishing line a determined blue jersey manages to tackle him by taking a massive leaping and grabbing his legs. No goals this time, but what an exciting moment!

Last weekend’s social event for the Exchange and Study Abroad students took place in the ANZ Stadium in the Olympic Park. Huge stadium hosted the Sydney Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies and athletic events back in 2000. Now the stadium filled up with football fans who came to see the National Rugby League game. Rugby rivals the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Canberra Raiders took over the field while the fans cheered from the audience.

Watching a rugby game can be a bit confusing. Especially if the stadium is very big and the players far away. It might be easier to follow a game on TV when you are directed to look into the right direction and get to see close-ups of interesting moments. However, watching a game live is a different experience. Cheering people and bright stadium lights create an environment that encourages also non-fans to get all excited when the game gets interesting. I can only imagine how much fun it is for the true fans.

As if rugby rules weren’t complicated enough the rugby scene in Australia is divided and rugby league and rugby union have somewhat different rules. If you are going to a rugby game, remember to check the rules that apply beforehand if you don’t know them already. It will make it a lot easier to follow the game. On top of that, the term ‘football’ is used to refer to rugby union, rugby league, Australian rules football and association football also known as soccer. That is a bit confusing.

The Sydney University has its own rugby club as well. In fact the Sydney University Football Club (see, football=rugby) is the oldest rugby club outside of Britain. That might be a good club to check out if you are interested in playing rugby.