A pleasant day at Brisbane’s Southbank”

This weekend was the Regional Flavours promotion of Queensland produce at Southbank, the site of Expo 88 beside the Brisbane River. As you know, we do enjoy our fresh food and visiting the fresh food markets in Europe.

So yesterday morning we caught the train from our local station at Lota for the 35 minute ride to Southbank.

When we arrived we found that many others had arrived before us and the market stalls were very busy with queues to buy goods at most of them. The regions of Queensland had displays of both fresh food and goods produced in the region from that.

We weren’t tempted to buy much as we didn’t have the car. I lived in The South Burnett for ten years and so bought a bag of curry flavoured peanuts for old times sake. Kingaroy is famous for its peanut van which sits beside the main road into town and sells peanuts with many flavours.

You could buy a stemless plastic recyclable wine glass for $5 and visit the area which showcased the many wine-producing companies of Queensland for tastings. We do not really enjoy tasting many wines in quick procession so we didn’t bother with that.

Many stalls were selling food for eating on the run- everything from berries to ice cream to chicken wings to camel milk and camel cheese to sliders and tagines. There didn’t seem to be an area where you could sit down to have a proper meal within the Regional Flavours displays and since we like to sit down and enjoy our food, we ate at one of the local restaurants, French Martini, where we both enjoyed moules cooked in white wine and lemon with a baguette. I also enjoyed my glass of French Chablis. The moules were delicious but the baguette was quite disappointing – not up to the standard I expect of French breads. We sat and enjoyed ourselves over our leisurely lunch. I felt quite disloyal eating at a French restaurant on this day but consoled myself with the thought that the mussels would have been local.

After lunch we wandered back alongside the river to South Brisbane Station, enjoying the lovely ambience of Southbank where so many families enjoyed the artificial beach and the parklands.

All in all, a very pleasant few hours!

Beautiful beaches at Porto & Matosinhos

We are now in Portugal for the first time. We docked here at the industrial port near Matosinhos this morning and caught the shuttle bus into Porto proper, about a thirty minute drive along the beautiful coastline and beaches. This was my favourite part of the day.

The surfers were out on this lovely sunny day but the breeze by the water was cool still.

Once we passed the mouth of the Douro River, there were many fishermen and small boats with outboard motors. It reminded me of the years of my childhood that I spent at Donnybrook on Pumicestone Passage just north of Brisbane. There my parents had a multifaceted small business: a corner store, boats for hire, an unofficial post office and, as well, we sold petrol (with an old hand operated petrol pump). At the same time, Dad was a professional fishermen and crabber. Of course, our boats were inboards as there were no outboard motors at that stage.

I found the town of Porto itself to be quaint and so steep. Not good for the knees. We had a frustrating time here as we had booked tickets on the yellow vintage hop on hop off bus. We waited 50 minutes for it to come and then the driver’s reader wouldn’t read my e ticket which had assured me that I didn’t need a printed ticket. So he wouldn’t let us on. Very frustrating. Then we climbed some very steep steps to the market which wasn’t open and didn’t open until midday. More frustration! We did find a coffee and two excellent Portuguese custard tarts. We enjoyed them. Two coffees and two tarts for a total of €4. Amazing!

I do love to use a nice pen that feels good in my hand and there is a great pen shop here that we lingered in. They also stocked beautiful sets of coloured pencils for serious artwork. I have a lovely set of pencils that I haven’t touched in a few years. I think I’m getting the urge to get them out again. All very tempting but I resisted. The other shop which severely tempted me was quite a large hat shop. I very nearly bought a stylish black and white hat but David convinced me that I wouldn’t get it home in immaculate condition and I should buy one at home. So I will.

The streets are very interesting, so steep and narrow and the buildings are several stories high. Shops occupy the ground floor of many.

We wandered around until our knees were done (mine anyway) and then went to catch the shuttle back to the ship. Another 45 minute wait!

Now I’m waiting for a turn in the laundry. At least David brought me a lovely coffee!

Delicious food & beautiful art

We’ve had another fun day in our lovely Paris home which is in the attic of this beautiful old building behind which you can probably spot an iconic Paris landmark.

The Marché President Wilson are held just around the corner from our building on Wednesday & Saturday mornings and we have been hanging out to stock up on fruit, vegetables and, of course, French bread. So early this morning, in spite of a temperature around 1*, we went down and it was amazing.

So much fresh produce: meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables, breads etc. All so very tempting! We can now have a delicious dinner at home of an evening and we are looking forward to it tonight. A veal steak for David and, for me, a big plate of fresh vegetables: white asparagus, zucchini, carrots, beans; all to be followed by sweet strawberries.

After we packed our goodies away, we caught an Uber to go to the Foundation of Louis Vuitton which is an amazing piece of architecture housing a collection of art works.

It is currently housing the Courtauld Collection on loan from Somerset House in London which is undergoing renovation.

The Impressionists are our favourites so we really enjoyed this exhibition of works by Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas and Van Gogh as well as others. We then went to the Museé Marmottan-Monet to see the largest collection of Monet anywhere in the world. It was wonderful.

Enjoying this beautiful art work in such an amazing city is a privilege. We are so very lucky.