Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day Eleven: King's Park/Fremantle

Today was a really fun day reuniting with friends I hung out with on our last trip to Australia, including Sambo (aka Ian) and Christine (who we got to see six months ago in San Diego, too.) Sambo gave a speech at our wedding, and is now recently married himself, to the lovely Kate, and they have an adorable 2-year-old, Violet. Christine also brought her boyfriend Gary, so we had a lively crowd.

We met Sambo, Kate and Violet in Synergy Parkland, a playground in the midst of Kings Park, the largest inner city park in the world (look it up!) Kings Park is a gorgeous, sprawling space of gum tree forests and rolling lawns looking down over central Perth, and even in the icy weather, families were out grilling meat and frolicking on the play structures. I was quite touched by how big-sisterly Jarrah was with Violet--I wasn't sure she was going to know what to do with a 2-year-old--but the two were actually very compatible in temperament and Jarrah did her best to "look after" Violet all day (though believe me, Violet didn't need it--she's a feisty one like her new friend.)

Eventually, the cold drove us into the Zamia Cafe near the playground, and once again I marveled at the delectable food available in a popular public attraction--a lot of U.S. destinations could learn a thing or two here. They even serve "Babychinos," tiny demitasse cups filled with steamed milk (and strawberry marshmallows saucer-side) for the kidlets. I did have a giggle fit when David pointed out that from inside, "Zamia" read "Pimpz," which seemed a less than family-friendly moniker for a park cafe.

After our snack we drove a bit further to the Native Plant Walkway, a cool bridge walk that wended its way through plantings from regions all over Australia, including "Jarrah Forest." We had been describing the walk to Jarrah as "treetop," and then laughed a lot when we had to revise that to "shrubtop."

A bit of negotiating led us to Christine's house, where we hung out for a while telling obscene stories about The Wiggles and engaging in general mirth. It took us a while, but we hatched a plan to drive into Freemantle, or "Freo" as the natives call it, a neighborhood around the port of Perth that has a lot of perfectly preserved 19th century buildings and a disproportionate number of bakeries and gelato shops. After unsuccessfully angling for a table at the Sail and Anchor pub, we ended up at the Freemantle Bakehouse. I was stoked that my roast beef sandwich had beetroot on it, but Jarrah cried when I said they didn't have garlic toast, which has become an odd new obsession of hers. She also came out of the bathroom and announced at concert-level decibels "The bathroom has a huge dead cockroach!" Oh well.

After lunch, our peeps took off, but David, Jarrah and I took a damp, dusky stroll around the narrow streets of Freo, admiring the buildings and the quiet. We saw some Jarrah shops, and got our first fro-yo of Oz, and stopped at the RoundHouse, a stony fortress near the beach that was a former prison and is rather spooky in the dark. I am just in love with Freemantle, though I've now seen it twice only in the dark, so maybe my perception is a bit skewed.

It was a long drive back to Darlington, and we were absolutely beat after a full day out in the cold. So great to catch up with folks this weekend, though--over the years, David's old friends have come to seem like mine.


Jen said...

can I just say that I really want one of those kiddie cappuccinos?

Sambo said...

Hey we made the blog woohoo!
It was a fun but bitterly cold day that we loved every minute of, and Violet is still talking about Jarrah, Sam and Dave and wants to go to America and visit. So does Kate and I btw. Have a great rest of trip and talk soon.

Ian, Kate and Violet

Mary said...

I love the photos of Jarrah with all of the jarrah signs! She must have been excited!

Can't wait to hear more about your trip in person.

Continued safe and fun travels!