Parramatta prelude

Parramatta is an odd place to begin an international holiday. It is in the opposite direction to the airport from our house. 

But it so happens that I had a hotel reward that was close to expiring, and with Kita already in a boarding kennel in preparation for our trip to Japan, today was the most convenient for a stay. Now that we are here we wonder why we have not visited more often.
Located upriver from Sydney Harbour, Parramatta was Australia’s first inland European settlement. It was founded in the same year as Sydney itself in order to supply the colony with the fresh produce that the coastal settlement could not.
Today Parramatta is a major urban centre, home to a number of state government and corporate offices. As such it can be rather busy and lacking in parking, the typical bane of the Sydney explorer. 
That was not an issue today, with parking provided and the peace of a major public holiday. 
The Easter holidays started as they should. My work projects completed, a sense of achievement and the exhaustion of hard work. They also began with rest enforced by rain, illness and Easter closures.
The skies cleared for our little jaunt, though Alex awoke with a sore throat. No matter, for we did not expect to do much in Parramatta. 
The hotel is in the throes of renovation, its facade boarded up as if it were closed. However, our corner room was still clean and comfortable. We quickly re-emerged to find lunch along thrumming Church Street.
According to B’s research Parramatta has developed into quite a foodie location. There were certainly plenty of possibilities in our vicinity, but the prices were beyond what we wished to pay. In a nod back to our Bendigo trip lunch was burgers at Grill’d.
After days of rain it was a delight to take a walk in the sun and we wandered around, trying to find the bakery where B and Alex had shared a wonderful brownie while I was in Japan. Sadly the Bourke Street Bakery looked permanently closed, though they have other stores elsewhere in Sydney.
Back at the hotel we adults fell into a delicious afternoon sleep while Alex played. On our waking there was still sun and time enough for another stroll.  First, a stop at Gelato Messina. Wow! Only problem was too many great flavours to choose from.
We ate as we walked alongside the river as the Sun approached the horizon. Alex found a great little playground with slides, climbing slopes and cheerful families.

A little further on is the ferry wharf, the terminus for services to Circular Quay and the city. It was separated from the remainder of the river by a weir with a layer of froth by the base.
Our hotel stay included dining credit, but not enough for a complete meal for all of us. So we thought to buy some take-away. Until we arrived at Singaporean restaurant Temasek, just opened for the night and already with a queue. It’s years since we last ate there.
The nasi lemak was the nicest I’ve had in a while in Sydney, with acar, sweet ikan bilis and finally a decent side of chicken curry, though still not a match for B’s. The side of assam prawns was horrible, full of alcohol. The other dish of char kuey teow was good, though not great.
Despite sharing two dishes between three we couldn’t finish it all and returned to the hotel feeling very bloated. Just enough energy to settle into bed and watch a brain dead movie like Thor. 
A strange prelude to an international trip, but a gentle one that has left us with a desire to return, but with emptier