Have you ever picked a random destination on a map and decided to go there, just because you’ve never been before?
That’s how I came to be coasting around the side streets of Balmain one cloudy day last November, looking for a nice 2P – for those unfamiliar with the somewhat confusing parking signs in Sydney, this means a parking space which is free for 2 hours.
Sometimes I like to just walk around with my camera and see what happens. I think it helps me see places in a different way.
Without further waffle…. let’s go to Balmain!
Balmain is a suburb in the inner west of Sydney, just off the A40. I find this hilarious because that’s the road I grew up near in rainy England. It’s one of the older districts in Sydney, with buildings dating back to the 19th century.
Some of the buildings look like they could be lifted straight from the Welsh valleys, if you ask me.
On the main road we found the town hall, decked out in similarly tasteful shades of grey and muted green. We’re not in Wales anymore, Toto.
The grey and green theme was continued throughout our walk, picked out in architectural details as well as entire building colour schemes.
We found the Balmain Glasshouse, a community space that is used for growing various edible plants as well as community education. I have to say, it looked very chic.
I became fascinated with the architecture of the buildings we walked past. I found them quintessentially Australian.
Then I wondered, what makes a building look Australian? How would I pick this out of a line-up?
Is it the veranda? The ironwork? The mixture of brick with wood, or the shape of the windows?
Or is it the way that plants and greenery seem to be incorporated almost integrally to most spaces?
Whatever it is, all I can say is that the colours of Balmain are definitely tasteful greys. Which unfortunately reflected the weather, not providing us the vibrant blue Sydney skies to which we have grown accustomed.
I found my colour elsewhere, like in the peeling paint of this patriotically painted pub.
Soon enough it was time to head down to the ferry wharf, where we caught a boat directly into the CBD. I’d never really been to this part of the city before, so it was refreshing to see the now familiar sights in a different context.
Oh hey, harbour bridge.
I found Balmain a peaceful, chic and overwhelmingly grey place. In a good way. The thing that surprised me the most was how quiet it was, yet how close to the CBD.
Have you ever been to Balmain? What did you make of it?