I've been sitting here for a little while now figuring out how to say this, and, the thing is, I can't think of any other way.
On past visits to Sydney (CBD) I have tended to find it to be a miserable and souless city.
There, said it.
You see, everytime I'm in Sydney it rains (like you wouldn't believe) and its so sticky everywhere - outside you get drenched, inside you can't breathe and can barely move through the air.
And I'm used to Melbourne, where you duck off the main street and suddenly you're in a vibrant buzzing arcade of cafes and espressi.
Now, I have always thought that Sydney couldn't really be souless, right?
I mean, I'm the first to admit that I don't know Sydney at all well - I just don't know the places to go.
This visit I was determined to find the heart of the Sydney CBD.
It really didn't start out that well - anyone I know who lives in Sydney had any idea of anywhere to go for the kind of hygge I was looking for, and (of course) it was raining - a lot.
One of my first ports of call is always Darling Harbour - there are so many cafes there, and its so nice around the water, that I always expect it to be full of tourists breakfasting.
I was surprised to see that many of the cafes weren't even opened yet, and any breakfasting was happening in the food court.
(Although, I was excited to see that there's now a Lindt cafe at Cockle Bay Wharf - that's on list for next time!)
Once I dumped the Darling Harbour breakfast idea things improved.
I headed back towards The Galeries Victoria and, on the advice of a number of you guys, spent over an hour browsing at Kinokuniya.
Ooooh, so much to look at!!!!
I was impressed just with the range of regular books they had, before I even discovered all the japanese magazines and books around the corner!!!
I bought the latest Fruits magazine and a completely incomprehensible (to me, anyway) japanese amigurumi mag.
At the absolute top of my list of places to visit on this trip was Cupcakes on Pitt.
I was interested to see what 'professional' cupcakes look like, and (even more so) how they tasted (compared to mine! hehe).
As you may have guessed from the photos (and there are a couple more shots at my flickr account), between Maria (vanilla, cookies&cream), myself (strawberry, choc brownie, strawberries&cream) and the Boy (I brought home a six pack on the bus - vanilla, dark choc, passion fruit, cookies&cream, jaffa, peppermint) we tasted a fair selection of the menu.
The cupcakes were all presented beautifully, and their mini-size and reasonable price ($2 each) appears to have made them really popular with the surrounding offices - there were 'suits' in and out the whole time we were there.
As far as taste, the non-chocolate flavours were far superior to the chocolate (which were a bit dry and packet-mixy tasting) - I think the strawberries & cream was my favourite (although I bet the vanilla sundae - like the top-most photo, but with vanilla cake instead of choc - would also be absolutely delish!)
I still don't quite 'get' the Sydney vibe, but spending more time there and hunting out places I like sure helps.
And, between all those books, the cupcakes and the occasional break in the weather, as we get to know each other better with each visit, it looks more like Sydney might show me her soul after all =)