Monday, 15 April 2013

Day #18-22 Perth (Fremantle)

Our caravan park is out in Fremantle where Joseph thought we would be away from the hustle and bustle of Perth and just a short walk to a train station where the train would take us wherever we wanted to go. Alas! there is no train station but if we walk twice as far we can catch the FREE bus into Fremantle and from there we can catch either the train or FERRY into Perth!

So before Perth we walk twice as far and catch the FREE bus into Fremantle, the port for Perth, where passenger ships and a million container ships berth.  It is an old historic city with lovely buildings and on Liz's advice we take the trolley trip around and enjoy our day - especially the SENIOR'S fares!  

Fremantle - the old jail (closed in 1993!)
I find myself wondering why Port Adelaide (where I grew up), that used to be the port for Adelaide, couldn't be revived to be like Fremantle. It could be/should be - except that it doesn't have a huge river that runs right into the heart of the city (Perth/Adelaide), with regular ferry service - except that the (few) huge cruise ships now can only dock in Outer Harbour (7 kms away) and except that when "we" (Australia) won the America's Cup, the owner of the boat didn't come from South Australia . So along with the river and the cruise ships, Port Adelaide missed out on everything that the America's Cup brought to Fremantle; coat's of paint, people (lots of people), notoriety  and … success. It's going to consume me for the rest of the trip because that's where I will be renting an apt/townhouse when we get back in June - and I want it to be beautiful again -  like Fremantle! 

Next day we walk twice as far and catch the FREE bus again and then the ferry into Perth (senior's rates again) It's a lovely slow-1.5hr-ride and once we pass under the low bridge (no more ships) there are beautiful houses and King's Park lining the sides and it takes you right into the heart of the city.

 It's a few block's walk to the main shopping street- mall past some lovely gardens and it's raining in Perth!  We don't have an umbrella (it never rains in Perth!) and no need to really buy one (it never rains in Australia) so we whittle away the day while we wait to meet up with Erin at Jamie Oliver's new restaurant. Joseph heads off by cab to buy a sleeve for his cast that will (hopefully) allow him to swim and then we find the cheapest food we've had since November - three soft tacos for $10.00!! (quite good) and then finally, after a dozen book stores (I know - it should have been art galleries/museums!) we head on over to Jamie's to secure a table ahead of the crush.

Joe at Jamie's
The "loo" at Jamie's

It's so good to see Erin. We talk about a lot of things; her life here and all of the things that are different in Australia, we marvel at how many British people there are in this town and we reminisce about Canada and … enjoy the meal! Erin's been in Perth for four years now and she can't believe the changes since she arrived  - so many projects to revamp areas around the city and the effects that the mining boom has had in 'waking up" sleepy little Perth to become quite the going concern.  

She gives up her Saturday to spend with us; brunch ON the beach at Cottlesloe

 (we drive Erin's car that she lends us, she "scoots" out there on her Vespa)

 and we spend the afternoon exploring Kings Park. 

The park is right on the water's edge with a wonderful view across to the city centre.


Western Australia has thousands of endemic plants - found nowhere else  - so there are sections showing lots of these in amongst the regular trees and plants and then there is the BOAB tree!  It's HUGE.  It was in the way of a bridge near Hall's Creek so the aboriginal people gifted it to Perth and I think that would have been quite the site to pass on the road going north!
The Boab!
On our last night we meet up for movies in the park - at the university actually.  Such a wonderful setting amongst tall Norfolk Island pines (that they planted 20 years ago when they started the event). There are huge canvas chairs to sit in and everybody picnics on the side before the movie starts.  Even though the movie isn't an all-time favourite (TABU) we enjoy it and we enjoy the evening a lot.  (don't ask me why I didn't take a photo!)

So it's goodbye Perth (you are as lovely as everybody said you were) -  goodbye Erin (we already knew how lovely you were!)!  We're heading north and the real "fun" begins!

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