Today we walked and shopped through a spectacular shopping arcade that we had visited during our 2006 trip, and to a new area that we learned of during a tour: Queen Victoria Building and the Sydney Fish Markets.
QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING
QVB is a heritage building that occupies an entire city block in the Central Business District on George Street (a short walk from our “home”). It was built in 1890 as a municipal market; after undergoing restoration, was re-opened in 1986 and is Sydney’s most popular and prestigious shopping arca de.
In front of the main entrance is a huge bronze statue of Queen Victoria. There’s an interesting story behind that, according to our friends: It seems that the statue was sculpted as to honor Queen Victoria as The Irish Queen, and was originally located in Dublin. At some point, due to changes in the political environment, it was removed and put into storage. In the mid-1980s when it was moved to Australia and placed in front of the QVB, where she sits to this day.
We walked around and enjoyed the central Christmas tree that extends from the ground level to the dome third level dome in the center of the building. Not to be missed also are two massive clocks at either end of the building. We browsed through many exquisite shoppes, including one that featured articles of aboriginal design (where we bought some beautiful table runners and napkins). Then had a light lunch at a tea room on the second level, along the black wrought iron railings on the left side of the clock picture below…It all felt very English and very proper….
On our way out, we took a central escalator to the ground level, and discovered there were underground levels to this magnificent building. We were leaving to go to the Sydney Fish Market in search of dinner, but made a note to return to check out those levels Specifically, we wanted to return to Victoria’s basement, a literal candy store of kitchen accoutrements.
SYDNEY FISH MARKET
To get to the Fish Market, we took a bus to the Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour and walked a few blocks from there. I’m sorry to say that the fish markets were a bit of a disappointment–we were expecting some combination of Pikes Place in Seattle and Seafood Central in Auckland, and instead found wholesale fish warehouses and a few retail markets around an unattractive fishing harbor. There was a food court and some outdoor seating next to the docks, but quite unappealing and with unpleasant fish odors. Certainly nothing picture-worthy.
The retail markets did offer spectacular seafood choices, though. We bought some fresh scallops and tuna that Bob stir-fried in “our” luxurious apartment downtown. Over dinner, we decided that tomorrow would be another shopping day: to Paddington Market in the morning (an outdoor artisan market that we had visited in 2006), and then back to the QVB to explore its underground shopping.