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Published August 5th 2017
Explore historic inner city life in trendy Balmain
Excitement stirred when an opportunity to stroll down memory lane recently presented itself as I reflected on the friendly share house in an ideal location. Then I had a prestigious job of commuting by ferry - which was only a short walk down the street with a relaxing harbour crossing.
These tantalising memories were not disappointing as I strolled amongst the historic buildings, the magnificent church where the Saturday markets were held, the local pubs that attracted crowds with regular live music on weekends. I wandered past the old sandstone buildings, the Palmolive and other factories soaking it all in.
Darling Street is scattered with all things typical of a trendy inner city area, boutique cafes, hand-made jewellery, fashion or designer wear as it's now called, footwear, lifestyle shops, a large public library and all description of historic buildings. From the high browed local and international designer labels to the recycled, there is truly something for everyone here.
This supply and diversity of unique boutiques has grown massively and all just a short commute to the city centre. The solid tenement houses stand together long and narrow with nearby shops, cafes, eateries, the scenic parks and harbour vistas. Who could ask for more?
Original timber workers cottages nestled next to the factory
But it is the markets that deeply impressed me with the high quality of local handmade wares. It used to be in the church but has now outgrown that and is open every Saturday weather permitting. It boasts more than 140 stalls of recycled and contemporary arts, clothes, books, jewellery, crafts, footwear, antiques and much more. The market offers plants, organic fruit and veg and a multicultural food hall where the world's cuisine is mouth watering and good vegetarian options are provided.
Another highlight is the saltwater tidal pool, built in the early 1880's and named after our great swimmer, Dawn Fraser. It has a kiosk catering for poolgoers and those just meandering through the adjoining park.
This was a three-hour easy stroll after a relaxing vegetarian feast served by cheerful waitresses and finishing with lattes and the freshest lightest of berry muffins at another cafe a couple of blocks away both on Darling Street. But why detract from your personal exploration, with so many amazing choices, why not find your own?
another original building converted to apartments with a cafe at street level