Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Running around town

Been a busy bee lately, going to-and-fro the west & the city as I've acquired myself a job. The backlog of entries that I have to do is just overwhelming, and this is the beginning. I don't think I'll be able to catch up within the next couple of weeks as uni has just started as well, and my genetics & biological psychology classes aren't contributing much to my blogging goals. Haha. Anyway.

Not so long ago (okay maybe a month or so ago...), my friend Katharina & I chose to explore Parramatta, one of the western suburbs in New South Wales. I would never have picked up interest in visiting Parra until she suggested it; I've always just gone there to shop or go to the uni. When we met up I was starving (as per usual), and of course our first stop was for food. That day I picked City Extra, where I ordered myself some baked lamb shanks which were beautifully made:

Fall-off-the-bone meat, tangy tomato sauce, buttery mash & hot peas - absolutely delish!

City Extra is a 24-hour restaurant on Church Street, Parramatta

My favourite part: the menu! :-) Love the creativity.

After having my fill, Katharina showed me the places we were about to see. I didn't realise it's a town full of history. We visited the following on our little adventure:

Parramatta Park
Old Government House
St John's Cemetery
St John's Anglican Cathedral
Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic church
Elizabeth Farm

Parramatta Park is a few minutes walk just from the train station, and it's a huge place to see.

Parramatta Park entrance

It actually contains 2 of the oldest buildings in Australia, one of which is the Old Government House. We didn't get to see the Dairy Farm, and we didn't get a chance to go inside the Old Government House as we were a little bit pressed for time. What a shame. In general the park is really good for a walk or a picnic. The next time I go there I'd definitely stay longer, cos I feel like there's much more that needs to be said about it that I can't say at the moment.

I found a really beautiful old tree whilst walking.

The Old Government House

After visiting the park, we went over to St John's Cemetery which is the oldest cemetery in Australia. I never would have thought it's situated in Parramatta, and I reckon that's really cool, considering it's not so much a popular tourist spot (or so I think... I need clarification here folks, I'm assuming things. BAD!). We hung around for a little bit, looking at all the old graves. It may sound pretty odd &/or creepy, but having to be in such an old place really just sucks you in. I must admit it was quite an interesting experience.

Oldest Australian tombstones

Shortly after, we checked out St John's Anglican Cathedral. It was my first time inside an Anglican church, and it had a welcoming, homey effect that I actually liked. Maybe it was the lighting and the stillness of the place; I don't know. I did notice the lack of a crucifix:

Is that the main difference between Anglican & Catholic? Someone enlighten me!

Later in the afternoon, my friend and I headed to the other side of Parramatta. We first passed by Our Lady of Lebanon church, which has a very different architectural design compared to most Catholic churches I have ever seen.

My friend Katharina outside the church

I just absolutely love this photo and thought I'd share :-D

This side of Parra is where the exciting part is. Nope, I didn't mean 'exciting' as an equivalent word to 'clubbing', but I did mean it as the Elizabeth Farm Reserve.

Call me a dweeb, but it is such an awesome place to go to during the day. It is Australia'soldest European building where Elizabeth & John Macarthur established the wool industry. What's so beautiful about this place is it's an open museum, where you're free to touch everything inside as it's all a replica of the 1830s house.

This is what the homestead looks like from across the lawn.

The canvas rugs are my favourite things! These are hand painted with 15 coats of acrylic (if I remember right) on top, and 15 on the bottom. AWESOME CRAFTMANSHIP, yes?

Me, relaxing in the verandah.

At the end of the day, we were exhausted as anything. Our legs just went all jelly on us, and we ended up in Westfield - the place I thought everything Parramatta was made of. My bad, Parra's definitely worth a visit, with all its history and culture. I vow to never look at a suburb just as a plain shopping town again!