31 Mar 2009
On our way into Fremantle two days ago we stopped off at Cottesloe beach and were quite taken with it. It’s a very attractive little beachfront town with a great beach and some interesting places to eat. Unlike a lot of the coastal towns we’ve encountered so far, this guy seems to have found the secret recipe for success; so we decide to find somewhere to stay in the area, and end up at the “Luxury Bungalow”. This is a little one bedroom place round the back of Gerry’s house, and boy, does Gerry know how to kit out a cottage. It’s good all those knick-knacks and vital supplies that you invariably end up needing / wanting on a longer trip, and well as the bare necessities: decent BBQ; massive and well appointed bathroom; gourmet kitchen; dishwasher; washing machine; big flat-screen TV; Foxtel with all the channels. You know – the basics). So, if you’re looking for a place to stay near the beach, give Gerry a call.
If, while I’m out and about, an inspiring thought or observation hits me, I’ll occasionally make a note on my phone so that I remember it later while writing this journal. While cryptic, most of these notes make sense a few days later when I’m writing up. However, I occasionally come up against one that leaves me perplexed. So, in closing for today, I’ll leave you with this closing note in the hope that it makes more sense to you than me: “Pavement trains $700”.
We’ve pick up some tips on the most desirable neighbourhoods to live in around Perth, and one of these is Subiaco – purported to be the Mosman of Perth, so to speak. So we head on over and take a wander round. Our first encounter is with a wonderful bakery that sells real baguettes (so important in life), so the neighbourhood passes the first test. Additional points are quickly accumulated by good coffee, an attractive yet useful mix of shops, and close proximity to some beautiful wide open spaces.
Subiaco lays claim to the home of the Worlds best pizza. No, not Perth’s best, or Australia’s best, but the best in the world. Quite a claim and something I would imagine the Italians might take umbrage at. It’s a place just off the main strip – small, nay cramped, with a selection of large sheets of precooked pizza, available by the slice. My God, what are they thinking? You can’t make world beating pizza this way. Foolishly, we step back out and give it a miss. For now.
After stocking up on good food and coffee, we drive a few blocks towards the city and into Kings Park. This is Perth’s major park and botanical garden, and certainly rivals anything that Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide has to offer (and that’s saying a lot – I’m a big fan of all three). It offers some beautifully kept grounds, sweeping vistas of the city, two rivers that converge on it (the Swan and Canning rivers) and some peachy places to picnic. We proceeded to do just that.
There’s one road that loops round that park (and it’s a pretty big – the road takes 6 km to complete the loop). All the way round the road is attractively lined with mature eucalyptus trees every 20m or so. Sadly though, each tree has a small plaque at its base, dedicating the tree to an Australian that gave their life in one of the wars. There’s a lot of trees.
Back near Swanbourne, we note that the town is home to one of the very few nudist beaches in prudish Australia (aptly named Swanbourne Nudist Beach for those of you that are looking). We steer clear. (Golden rule of nudist beaches – you’ll only find people you don’t, under any circumstances, want to see without their clothes on).
I round off the day with a stroll through the neighbourhood to the beach, which is surprising pleasant. This is clearly a suburb with surplus income and a series of agreeable walking paths wind around the houses and parks and lead me eventually to Swanbourne beach.
Granted, we’ve only been here a short time, but Perth has the impression of being a windy city, and to prove the point, I’m met at the beach with quite a blast. The sunbathers are sensibly absent (their tans would be sandblasted away), but there are a few kite-surfers doing battle with the wind and waves. These guys are crazy – it’s really blowing out on the water and I briefly linger, jaw dropped, to watch a couple of guys go hurtling by hauled along by an impressively large expanse of cloth. Presumably there’s a way of going upwind, but the guys I’m watching don’t seem to have figured it out yet. (While I write this, a few days later, they’re probably pulling up somewhere on the Indonesian coastline).