Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Rather worn out after our trip to Rottnest Island, we returned to the Golden Tandoori for dinner, then caught a train back to our hotel at Bayswater.

And then on Tuesday 28th, after so many nights spent there but travelling in and out each day, we finally had a day to spend looking around Perth itself.

First off we went to the Perth mint, via a train ride and then a short walk through the Royal Perth Hospital and the church on Victoria Square. We were amazed by the way pedestrians were invited to use the hospital as a thoroughfare over a couple of busy city streets; we couldn't imagine a hospital in Queensland being so welcoming to the general riff-raff off the streets. The catholic church was beautiful, if a bit of an eclectic mix of architectural styles.

At the mint we read about some history of coinage in Australia. They have an interesting machine that weighs you, but instead of kilograms it tells you what your weight in gold would be worth—at current prices, quite a bit!

Next stop, the new Bell Tower at the Barrack St Jetty. The bells ringing out the hours from there can be heard in the city, but for a small fee you can climb the tower and see them being struck! The view from the top of the tower is quite good. They also have a set of eighteen bells and an active bell-ringing community. We were fortunate enough to be there on a day when the bell-ringers were due to play, so we got to watch! It reminded us of our time in Portishead, where the bells in the Anglican church were used for practice once a week, and then every evening in the lead-up to a competition.

After a picnic lunch on the grass outside the Bell Tower, we caught a bus to Kings Park, which is up on the hill to the west of the city. Walking through the park took us to the Botanic Gardens, where they had wildflowers on display en masse.

We walked through the gardens to the Glass Bridge, part of an elevated walkway. The Botanic Gardens are at the top of a steep cliff down to the Swan River, so the view is quite spectacular.

By now we were rather footsore, but we really wanted to get out to Fremantle as well, so we walked wearily back up the hill and then tried to find Cliff Street which has a stairway called (of course) Jacob's Ladder. The bus stop we wanted was at the bottom of the hill.

At Jacob's Ladder we were amazed to find a veritable army of health fanatics running up and down the stairs. Now you have to realise that the forty-three metre climb (just under 300 steps) is so steep that the stairway actually zig-zags sideways. These crazy people were running up and down the hill. Again. And again. And again. Mad, I tell you.

Anyhow, eventually we managed to get down, and then caught a bus into town. From there we caught a train out to Fremantle.

By now it was quite late. But a short walk from the station along Market Street took us into the business centre where we found quite a number of restaurants. We chose an Italian place called Portorosa, and were delighted with the food!
After dinner, a short stroll around the block, and then back to the station.

We caught a train back to Perth and then our hotel at Bayswater. The stretch between the showgrounds and the city was rather packed, as it was getting near closing time for the show. We had wondered (before we left Brisbane) why we'd had so much trouble booking a hotel in Perth for this last three-night stay. When we found out that the Perth show had just started, it suddenly made more sense.

And then finally on Wednesday morning we took a taxi to the airport for our flight to Adelaide, where we spent the afternoon with old friends Jason and Debbie, and then all four of us flew to Brisbane that night, arriving shortly before midnight. Quite a coincidence there: On discovering that it would be cheapest to fly back home to Brisbane via Adelaide, we thought to ourselves, who do we know who lives in Adelaide? Calling Jason and Debbie, we discovered that they were due to fly to Brisbane that very night—on the same flight! More delightful serendipity. God is good.

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