Today saw Karen wake up with a lot of pain in her hip. It was probably from all the walking we have done over the past few days. She deduced that the extra strapping she now has to wear on one foot meant she was not balanced or level and therefore throwing the rest of her body akimbo. She was really struggling to walk. She made some adjustments to the various orthotics and took a number of different painkillers. We also made a note for her to get another appointment to see the Orthotic specialist in the hospital in Norwich for when we get home.
Our plan today was to get a train to visit Freemantle but I was not confident we would actually even make it to the station. We set off slowly, very slowly. The heat was not helping Karen at all. As we had not had any breakfast prior to leaving we stopped at a McDonalds which was about half way on our walk to the station. We sat for a while contemplating whether to go on, but suddenly Karen started to get some relief from the pain and was able to walk more easily. This meant she was happy to make the cut through the Target store where another couple of apparently essential tops were purchased to help alleviate the pain.
At the train station we were advised to buy a family ticket which for $13 gave us both free train travel anywhere on the Transperth service all day. Trains to Freemantle run every 15 minutes and there was one waiting at the platform for us. The train was new, bright, clean and efficient. We went through through the Perth suburbs and arrived at the end of the line into Freemantle in 30 minutes.
Our first impressions of Freemantle was very positive as we crossed from the station to the street that led us the short distance to the City Centre. Most of the buildings were over 100 years old and very ornate and well preserved. There is a variety of different buildings and they are merge together to create a lovely atmospheric shopping street to walk along. We were enamoured and went into some of the local shops and purchased a few souvenirs. The weather was glorious.
We decided it was time for refreshment and went to a cafe called Dome that was part of the same chain that we had been to the day before on Rottnest. Karen paired her coffee with a scone with jam and cream.
After this we thought we would explore more of the town. We headed to Bathers Beach and walked along the boardwalk. It was like we were in a different sort of town altogether. There were lots of fish restaurants and even a Ferris wheel. Again it was very nice and there were lots of people milling around. The beach was quite small but still quite pretty, if you ignored some views of the large port that impinged on the view.
We were startled as we walked along by a cannon being fired. It was apparently a daily event at 1pm. Karen also saw the ‘ball being dropped’ from a mask above the cannon to also signify the time, although I missed seeing it.
We made it to the cannon after the crowd that had gathered had dispersed and took the required photos. Then we walked back across the town and ended up in the Freemantle Oval which had its gates open. This is the local Aussie rules ground.
The more we saw of the town the more we liked it. It had been one of the places I had considered for us to stay instead of central Perth and we agreed it might be a good option for a night or two on another trip.
Heading back along the Main Street we decided to go back to Dome for our lunch as we liked both the position and quality of the food. We both had some poached eggs and thoroughly enjoyed them.
We then poked around in a few other shops and in one where Karen had to ask the very friendly owner why everyone in Australia seemed to be obsessed with UGG boots given it never really gets cold here. The answer made us laugh in that apparently she knew of a place further south where it once got down to 4c overnight and therefore the sheepskin boots were much needed for much of the year.
I consequently looked up the average temperature in Perth itself and the coldest average daytime temperature in their winter is about 18c. If I lived here it would mean I would never need to wear trousers or own a jumper again.
Back on the train the service was just as efficient on the return journey. Our walk back to the Hotel was interrupted by a quick whizz round Woolworths to get some more fruit and snacks for the next few days. I was surprised that no one wanted to join in with me singing ’thats the wonder of Woolworths - thats the wonder of good old woolies’. Disapointingly they also didn’t seem to have any pick n mix, nor a record department.
In the hotel we chilled out on the balcony for a couple of hours. We were pleased it was now in the shade as the official temperature was still showing 28c at 6pm.
Tonight we couldn’t be bothered to walk anywhere for dinner and so just went down to the restaurant attached to the Hotel. We sat outside and both had the Caesar Salad, mine with Prawns and Karen had hers with Salmon.
Back in our room we relaxed and watched a documentary of Griff Rhys Jones travelling from Perth to Sydney on the Indian Pacific Express which was ironic as the train crew had been staying in our Hotel the day before and we had spoken to them. I’m not sure I would want to spend almost 4 days on the train on the journey across the Australian Desert (unless Griff was also on board to keep me amused).
I think I can now safely confirm that Perth is a 2 pant city. The heat definitely necessitates the need for 2 showers a day along with a clean pair of pants each time. Karen is not happy with the extra washing, but I have enough clean pairs to last until we get home.
Tomorrow we move on again. We both agree that we are getting fed up living out of a suitcase even though we have been here in one place for 4 nights. The trip is starting to come to a close and I think we are almost ready to go home.