Every now and again you stumble upon a place that resonates with your soul. It’s a place that, even though you may have never been there, the moment you arrive it feels like you’ve just come home. Finding these places, that sing the same song as my soul, is why I travel. As it turns out, the more you travel the more of these places you find. Growing up I had only two: Telluride, Colorado, USA and somewhere on the road to Lago di Castello (a lake in the Piemonte region of north western Italy). Since then, I have gained a few more: Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Chiang Rai, Thailand; Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii; and Albany, Western Australia. For me, these are places that I could live, not just visit. They’re small towns in secluded locations that offer more than an adventure, but a lifestyle.
This was only my second trip to Albany, but I instantly felt at home. The picturesque emerald hills, the salty ocean breeze, the brooding clouds overhead… “yes,” I thought “I could live here.” As I drove around the winding streets of town I could picture a different life for myself. It would be the perfect place to sip thirty year old single malt whiskey as I lounge by the fireplace watching the rain drizzle down the windowpanes and contemplate the character development for my latest novel.
Albany is a calm, slow-paced town that was stuffed-to-the-brim with tourists, such as myself, most likely down from Perth for the Easter long-weekend. Ryan and I started the day at Dylan’s on the Terrace because I had to have their Melting Moments. For my American readers, Melting Moments are basically buttery, crumbly, shortbread cookies with a thick layer of icing sandwiched in-between. They taste a little bit like heaven and are the perfect accompaniment to any cup of tea or coffee. The one’s at Dylan’s have a hint of lemon that makes them stand out from the cookie/biscuit crowd; and has had me craving them for a solid year. We sat down for lunch and each ordered a burger each but when our food arrived we realised that we had filled up on cookies and had no room for our burgers. We could have easily shared one. But to be honest, the only reason I’ll go back to Dylan’s would be for their amazing cookies, biscuits, and pastries.
As a passionate canine enthusiast (tattoo to prove it an all), I HAD to get a photo with the infamous Dog Rock. It’s literally a bolder in town that happens to be shaped like a dog’s head and they’ve painted a collar on the landmark. It’s right by a hotel and a grocery store and it takes a whole thirty seconds to get the pic; but it’s the shape of a dog! Albany can’t really get any cooler to me.
True to Albany form, it rained almost the entire second day we were there. Lucky we took advantage of the perfect outdoor weather the day before and hiked around Albany’s Windmill Farm (see blog post to read all about it), so today seems the perfect day to go to the movies! The movie of choice was Zootopia (see blog post for our movie review).
The day was still young and we wandered in to town to check out the main strip. One of the churches along York Street, Living Faith Community Church, was having a model train exhibition and naturally Ryan had to see what was going on. A gold coin donation allowed us to explore the “to scale” models and speak with the conductors that built their train-scapes. There was so much pride and enthusiasm exuding from these men as they told us about their hard work and their hobby. Ryan could have spent hours taking photos of the trains. I will admit that they were pretty cool, but I was ready to move on after about twenty minutes.
For dinner we met with friend and fellow blogger, Nadine of The Essentialist Blog, at 6 Degrees. It’s a hotel, restaurant, pub in one with a Peruvian-Inspired, modern Australian menu, funky decor, and live music… basically the perfect “watering hole.” The menu has the affordable option of “No Rules Tapas” that is available from 1130am onwards, which is any three tapas for $26
Everyone got a little something different but Ryan and I tried the Mushroom Bruschetta, Tamarind Chilli Wings, Sweet Potato Wedges, and Bourbon Glazed Pork Belly Chunks. Ryan said he still loves anything pork and I really enjoyed the tangy, slightly spicy sauce on the chicken but they both lacked crunch. The sweet potato wedges were delicious but the mushroom bruschetta stole the show with its sweet balsamic and sharp melted cheddar over super soft warm bread slices. Wash it all down with a pint of cider for the perfect Saturday night meal in Albany. As we sat catching up with friends, as the restaurant slowly transitioned into a bar; live DJ and all. 6 Degrees is a one stop shop.
The wet Albany weather on day two was a welcome change, as we'd been battling a series of very hot days in Perth prior to our trip. It was also a good opportunity for me to wear my Han Solo jacket to stay warm and look reasonably trendy. We had a very vacation approach to the day, with no set plan, slowly exploring, and eating along the way. Our first stop at Dylan's wasn't overly memorable, I remember waiting and discussing that we should have split our meal. But exploring the town and stumbling across a model train event was a bit exciting and a unique photographic experience. We spent a short amount of time there before moving on. The next highlight was of course food related. Six Degrees was an awesome hangout spot with some tasty selections. It's now definitely a go to the next time we're in town.
I like Albany because you can schedule in a bunch of things to do, or just explore and see where the day takes you. I had to stop at Dylan's for their melting moment biscuits, but the burger wasn't over all note worthy. The train exhibition was not something I necessarily needed to do, but I did enjoy speaking with the conductors that made the model trains. Six Degrees was a great place to hangout; fun for meeting with friends and also great for a quick snack. We left before the night got too wild, but Six Degrees definitely has something for everyone.