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Published: August 9th 2009
Perfect skies mirror the perfect seas at Manly Bay.
With a head stuffed full of cold and a nose that refused to stop running, I had pretty much decided to not bother going out today, even though it's my last day in Sydney. Then, at around 11.00 am, my nan and Jeanie announced they were going for a walk from Manly to Shelley Beach and I was surprised to find I was actually starting to feel a little better by now and said I would join them. I popped on my trainers and headed out into the bright winter sunshine. My uncle Kev had said that if I was back by 1pm, he could give me a lift to the city so that I could exchange one of the electical items I had bought for Glynn the other day that had turned out to be faulty, which left me just the right amount of time for a nice long walk. Perfect.
Strolling down the pretty promenade, we chatted away and marvelled at the scenery. It was lovely to see so many people out and about enjoying the sun - I swear I have never seen so many dog walkers or mums with pushchairs in such a short stretch in
This pretty promenade runs along the coast from Manly Beach all the way to Shelley Beach. It's popular walk for dog owners and mum's with pushchairs - easy to see why.
all my life! The park benches were adorned with retired folk soaking up the rays and helping their already leathery skin get that extra bit more tanned and leathery. I was impressed to note that by and large people kept to the left-hand side of the path as demarcated by a thick white painted line. Normally lines like that are pretty well ignored but it certainly made navigating around all the people that much easier.
The path hugged the coastline and I watched contentedly as cormorants dived for fish and the occasional mad Aussie took the plunge into the cold blue sea. We passed some expensive looking houses built into the cliffs overlooking the bay as well as some curious little silver statues moulded into the rocks depicting various animal and human sealife such as penguins, fish and scuba divers. It took only about 30 minutes to reach the small, sandy and very picturesque Shelley Beach where we stopped for photos and views of Many in the distance. One of the swimmers we saw getting in at Manly also surfaced just as we arrived which I thought was pretty cool. The return walk was just as enjoyable and we
Across the Sea
View from the promenade looking back at Manly. Spot the cormorant posing on the sculpture?
were back in Manly town with a deliciously creamy ice-cream in hand by 12.15pm.
My head felt much, much clearer by now so I decided to catch the ferry into Sydney rather than hitch a ride with Kevin. It was warm enough in the sun to stand on deck the entire journey into Sydney Harbour and I happily clicked away on my camera to ensure I didn't miss a single shot of the sights around the bay. Seeing the Opera House and Bridge by day was a real treat and I know Glynn would have loved it too if he could have been here with me. Back in Chinatown, I made my way back up the rickety old stairs to the hidden away shop where I exchanged Glynn's goods for a new version without any problems and I then made my way to the bus stop.
All week I'd been thinking about visiting Palm Beach where they film many of the beach scenes from Home & Away, the only soap opera I ever watch. I'd written off going there as it was a long journey and I hadn't thought I would be feeling up to it. Seeing as
Me and Betty on Shelley Beach with Manly in the background.
it was only 2.00 pm at this point, I figured why the hell don't I go there now? The bus rolled up at 2.30 pm and I hopped on board, remembering to ask the lady driver how long the journey would take. 90 minutes was the answer so I figured I would be there for 4pm, and there was a bus back every 30 mins so I could spend an hour there before it got dark and I would need to come back. I found a seat with a good view out of the windows and sat back to enjoy the ride. It got pretty crowded on board after just a few stops and I had absolutely no idea where I was going but luckily I got chatting to an older lady for a while who kindly pointed out some random local sights as we cruised along and assured me I would be fine finding Palm Beach as it's the last stop on the line. I think she thought I was a bit bonkers going all that way just to visit a location from a TV show! The bus eventually began twisting its way along a very scenic route with
Pick Up a Penguin
Along the promenade are a host of little silver statues depicting a variety of sealife from fish to scuba divers. Apparently someone spotted one that looked strangley like our Jish but surely that's just another penguin, right?
beautiful bays popping up around almost every corner. Eventually I was the last person on the bus and we arrived at the end of the line - Palm Beach itself.
The bus was late arriving. It was now 4.30 pm and it would be getting dark outside very soon. I debated whether to wait for the next bus and checked with the driver before I left when it was due. She said there would be a bus around 5pm if it wasn't running late or she would be heading back in exactly 4 minutes. I made my way out towards the beach expecting to see cafes, restaurants and shops of some description to entertain me for a while but there was nothing - just ordinary everyday homes lined the beach front and an icy wind sent chills right through me. I made a decision then and there to make it back to the bus in 4 minutes rather than risk freezing all alone in the middle of nowhere. I ran down the beach, pulled out my camera and then quickly positioned Jish in the sand for a few photos. I then turned the camera on myself and took a
One of a number of little lighthouses fixed in the waters on the way into Sydney Harbour
couple of 'just to prove I was here' photos and then legged it back to the bus. 3 minutes had passed. As I approached the bus, the doors were closed and the driver was drinking a coffe and reading the newspaper, oblivious to me outside.
I headed back over to the beach again and took some long distance shots of the lighthouse on the rocky peninsular, a backdrop which is frequently featured on Home & Away.
Back to the bus I went - this time 5 minutes had passed but the doors were still locked and the driver was still ignoring me. Back to the beach again and I decided to try a photo on timer. Finding a wheelie bin to place the camera on, I hurried over to a bench and smiled my best smile. Back to the bus a third time, only this time the driver was stood in the open doorway tapping her watch and shaking her head at me for being late! I jumped on and hid down the back of the bus, watching darkness fall over the bays as we drove. I wish I could have spent longer at Palm Beach but at least
Recognise anything here?
I can say I've been there. God only knows what the driver must have thought of me - 2 hours there and 2 hours back to spend just 6 minutes on a beach!
With the help of some fellow passengers, I managed to work out a quicker route home than going via the city and found myself chugging along on a local connecting bus back down to Manly. I couldn't resist a quick stop at Aldi, a German owned supermarket chain that occasionally stocks foods from my home country but alas this one didn't have anything authentic for me. I made it home for 7.30pm after an unexpectedly jam-packed day and was delighted to find dinner all cooked for me! A wonderful end to a wonderful week!
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