28 August 2010

No 35 – Laid-back Boxing…… Day – Penultimate day in Perth & final visit to Freo

Boxing Day is always generally a chill out day, although for me during the noughtees, on quite a few boxing days I had to work so that was not so much the case especially when I worked as a sales advisor for electrical retailer Comet and customers had nothing better to do with the day after Christmas than to que up in their hundreds from the crack of dawn to be amongst the first in for the Sales!

In Oz though Boxing day is full of B’s Beer, BBQ’s, Beaches, Ball games etc and is the perfect chill out day to follow Christmas.

My Flatmates who I spent 3 months living with in Perth had gone home to their families in Sydney so for the Christmas period I decided to go back to the Lodge right in the city where I first stayed in Perth.

During Christmas day (Which will feature higher up in my countdown) I got chatting to 2 Norwegian guys, Jonas & Eirik who had only recently arrived in Perth I mentioned Fremantle how I planned to make one final trip there on Boxing Day and as it happened they had just purchased a car and were planning to drive there on boxing day so it worked out extremely well that I had a lift and they had a tour guide to show them around Freo for the first time.

So off we drove, Eirik, I think driving and he soon started taking about how it was strange to be driving on the left side of the road, oh dear what have I let myself in for I thought!

However we had an uneventful drive to Freemantle and found somewhere to park, we walked alongside the coast a little before having a good look round the roundhouse, famous for being the oldest surviving building in Western Australia.

Then we had a good walk around the pleasant harbour.

By now it was time for a quick beer so it was onto Little Creatures brewery for a quick pint, their pale Ale in my opinion the best beer in Australia, we would return there later in the car to pick up a supply on it in bottles for the evening ahead!

We had a good walk through the streets and onto the fantastic Markets where I was desperate to get one last slab of the best cake in the world, home made carrot Cake, I had first sampled it on my previous visit to Perth 4 years ago & I was delighted when I made my first visit back to the markets in August that the lady that baked & sold the cakes was still there & so it was always my number 1 item to buy at the Markets!

But Alas she was not there today, I guess she had been too busy cooking her family dinner over Christmas to cook Carrot cakes to sell at the Market.

We then went back to the car sad to be carrotcakeless but soon cheered up when we picked up plenty of Pale Ale drinking supplies from little creaturs, I then directed them the scenic backroads route back to Perth, which I had done on my bike several times but was a route that motorists would not usually find.

This spot has got to be the best viewpoint in Perth from it you can see the Indian ocean, Freemantle and the mouth of the Swan river, then you can see most of the stunning river as it winds its way towards Perth city cenre 18km away and in the distance you can even make out the skyscrapers of the city center! the best way I can do it justice is with this panoramic picture I made from several shots taken a month previously when I was up there on my bike click on it to enlarge and enjoy the view!

Upon leaving this spot we drove off and made a brief excursion onto the right hand side of the road, which alike the UK is of course the wrong side of the road, there was thankfully no other traffic around, I have to say though that other than that brief moment his driving was far superior to any Australians! ...... I guess I have to say that as he may be reading :) 

We stoped at another viewpoint about halfway between Fremantle and Perth, it shows just how big the river becomes it looks more like a lake!

It was great to visit these stunning viewpoints of Perth for the final time, I would sure miss them.

We arrived back into the city and back at Townsend Lodge that evening there was still loads of meat left to BBQ from Christmas day & as a consolation for not getting my Carrot Cake I realised I had some Christmas pudding & cream left in the fridge along with the our bottles of Little Creatures Pale Ale it made for a great evening of eating and drinking, I would then make sure the following day to have a decent final bike ride in Perth to work it off!

07 August 2010

No 36 - We all live in a Freo submarine – Freemantle – 21st November 2009

I had many great days out in Freemantle, or Freo as the locals call it, the port town 19km (12 Miles) Southwest of Perth, from cycling out there via the Swan River, visiting the fantastic markets, great fish and chips to stunning sunsets.

But one of the best days out there was when my Flatmate & I visited the Maritime museum and did their Submarine Ovens tour. I have been on many Ships, planes etc in museums but despite having been to places that had Submarines tours had new got to do such a tour before.

Arriving at Freemantle station it was only a few minutes walk to the impressive museum which architecturally has some similarity's with the Sydney opera house.

We had an hour or so to look round the museum before our sub tour they had the Americas cup winning yacht Australia II on display there along with the story of the Boxing Kangaroo which was the official mascot.

Time soon passed and it was time for the Sub tour, we had an very enthusiastic tour guide who actually served on this sub during it’s early years from 1969-1972 and even told us he was now 79 - before he ran up the ladder to the entrance at the top without even breaking sweat while the rest of us were all gasping for air time we reached the top especially given that it was something like 32 degrees!

After a bit of time admiring the views from the top and taking some photos we then descended down a ladder into the rear of the Sub and ended up in the Torpedo bay!

Everything was so impressive I almost felt that I was on some Space station especially given the the sub had several airlocks to divide it into sections in case of emergency's

Do I look like an astronaut on a space station going though that airlock?

Carrying on through the sub we soon passed through the living quarters, not quite so impressive, narrow triple bunk beds making some of the 10 bed hostel rooms I've stayed at seem like 5 star hotels!

We then saw the main control center of the sub which for 60's technology was very impressive.

Things continued to amaze me as we went into the engine room, I have never seen such a huge engine!

We were told how the sub could if necessary stay underwater for 6 months and travel the distance of twice around the world without refueling!

There was one more section of the sub to see before exiting up the ladder and for the crewmen it was the most important section of the Sub, Can you guess from the pic below why?............................

 The fact that a fire extinguisher is right by it just proves it's importance, have you guessed yet?

OK here's a Clue

Yes it was where the beer was all stored, each crewman was rashend to a bottle per day.

After about half an hour in the Sub  it was time to climb up the long ladder to exit the Sub It sure was a fascinating tour and a Bargain at only $8 (£4.50) including the museum entry

We had some more time on the roof of the sib before saying goodbye the the fantastic tour guide.

We then went off to have some fantasitic Fish n Chips before going for a walk round Freemantle to walk them off!