We recently took a trip to New Castle and Sydney. Coinciding a trip to see my sister in law with Nouman Ali Khan’s Story Night. Our trip was fun, eventful and busy. Although we didn’t stay long, I thought I’d share what we got up to on our halal holiday in Sydney. I’m not sure what constitutes a halal holiday, I guess for us, it’s eating halal, taking part in halal activities and surrounding ourselves with good clean halal fun (but mostly eating).
We started our mini holiday in New Castle. It was a good chance for us to settle and relax. Being in my sister in laws house was as close as being home as you could get, we lazed around and ate. Indian chaat and some delicious Malaysian food were some of the foods we enjoyed as well as home cooked meals by my sister in law.
We planned our Sydney trip for Friday and Saturday, with a stay over on Friday night easing the pressure to get back. We packed up and left early Friday, wanting to desperately make it in time for Jumuah at Lakemba Mosque where NAK was giving the khutbah. After a 2 hour drive we stopped to refresh and onto the mosque we went. At the mosque it took a little shuffling up and down for us ladies to find our place, as time went on the mosque filled to capacity. We patiently waited and Alhumdulillah had the opportunity to hear and watch NAK live (as live as you can get from a projector screen in the ladies section). He spoke of Ramadan and our duties beyond it. A very inspiring khutbah indeed. Here’s a link to that lecture, I may just have to rewatch as a reminder to myself.
We set off for lunch after Jumuah had finished, no selfies in hand. Our hunger was well satisfied at Dougie’s Grill in Bankstown. Great service and great gourmet burgers. Mr munchies ordered a camel burger, yes, CAMEL. My curiosity got the better of me and I had a taste, maybe there was a lot of filling in that burger, maybe I didn’t take a big enough bite, but to me there really isn’t anything weird or outrageous about the flavour. It’s slightly beefy, slightly lamby (beefy? Lamby? Those are totally words). Mr Munchies enjoyed it (so did his beard)!
We headed to our room after lunch, as I mentioned before the view was amazing! The Opera House and Harbour Bridge are beautifully designed but I was more in awe of their backdrop, would they look so beautiful if it were not for that crisp clean ocean and milky blue sky. It was a perfect day, with perfect weather and an amazing view, subhanAllah.
That night everyone went off to see the show while I decided not to brace the crowds with 2 kids at bedtime. The kids and I relaxed in the room and I was happy I had the chance to see NAK at Jumuah.
Saturday was busy, crazy busy! We started our day at the Liverpool Eid festival with special guest Zaky! We met Zaky!!! We even took a photo. He didn’t say much, quiet guy that Zaky, seems to talk more in his DVDs. He’s got a brand spanking new website too, check it out, it looks pretty good, what do you think? The cookie monster also fed a calf and went on a pony ride, he had so much fun.
Haldon street in Lakemba was our next stop. The very famous Haldon Street seems to be really popular in the news lately. For me, it was comforting, seeing such a culturally rich place, hearing Arabic in the streets and seeing Arabic on the walls (not that I can understand but still nice all the same), we even saw The Crudely Islamified Mannequin Man, nope, no selfie with him either, we had a number of missed opportunities this trip. There were 3 Islamic book shops on the street. 3! THREE! Mr munchies and I were like kids in a candy store, you would think we’d never seen islamic books before. We came home with a lot of titles, mainly children’s books, all worth it Alhumdulillah. Here’s a picture of some of the books we purchased (the learning roots books were purchases at the Liverpool Eid Festival in the Zaky stall).
If you stop at a baklava bakery in Lakemba ask for basma and ashta (AKA sweet cheeses). It is delicious, really light and tasty. I need to find a recipe to share.
Our last stop was an Indian chaat place, they seem to be very popular in Sydney, this one was full and busy. It was followed by another 2 hour drive home and subsequently putting all the kids to sleep. We spent the next morning packing and by evening we were home.
All in all the trip was wonderfully fun. Travelling with kids definitely has it’s ups and downs, having to work around tired, sleeping kids, that need food and milk and just some plain old comfort can be draining but having your kids close to you and sharing in these experiences with them makes the hard times worth while.