Big day for our tour of Perth with my high school friend, Ginny. We feel so fortunate to be able to see this part of Australia with a friend who lives here . . and not in a big bus on a ship’s tour!
Ginny was kind enough to make our first stop the Dome coffee shop where we could get our Internet needs behind us. And I was fortunate enough to briefly chat with Rob and Ted. This café was on a charming little street close to Ginny’s home.
After dropping off our computers at Ginny’s house and getting to meet her dog and cats, we were off for a quick walk to the ferry station, going past the Perth zoo on the way. The zoo had a picture outside the gate showing an example of “elephant art.” With more time, I would have liked to have explored that more. The ferry was a new and fun way to go from south Perth, where Ginny lives, across the Swan River to the city. And while we waited for the ferry, Ginny and I had our picture taken together in front of the city skyline to send back for our class notes. There was a good breeze here as you can see by our hair . . but it felt good as it was already starting to warm up.
We got off the ferry at Barrack Street Jetty which is where the Swam Bell tower is. This bell tower is one of the world’s largest musical instruments. It houses the twelve bells of St. Martin-in-the-Fields from Trafalgar Square, given as a gift from England. It is a unique building made of glass and copper with displays inside about the bells. We actually got to hear them ring, and one of the passengers on our ship was able to be the person to ring them at noon.
From there we proceeded through the Supreme Court Gardens where the Supreme Court building is located (very traditional architecture) as well as other government buildings, such as this one which is very modern. That is what we saw throughout the city – the old and new together. It’s a beautiful city – and so clean! And in the middle of this park are these fun kangaroo statues – my favorite is the one “drinking” from the water garden behind us. Ginny said that the one we are posed next to would be about the adult size we’d see in the bush.
We were moving toward Hay Street and the Hay Street Mall (which is pedestrian only). We passed St. Georges Cathedral on the corner and then walked to London Court built in 1937 as a combination residential and commercial space, but now a shopping arcade in the middle of the city – which looked like a bit of England in the middle of this city with its Tudor style buildings. At the end of this narrow street at the decorative Hay Street Mall entrance was the blue-faced clock which chimes every quarter of an hour. The clock face is a replica of one of the dials in the clock tower that houses Big Ben in London. Above the clock, four knights circle in the window as they appear to joust.
Ginny had planned to have lunch at a restaurant along the water, but we were getting short on time, so decided to just duck in the David Jones store (like our Saks Fifth Avenue) and eat in their extensive food court. We all had Asian noodles of various kinds, which were delicious.
We then walked through another pedestrian mall called Murray’s Street Mall near the Forrest Place area. It was wide and at one end was this wonderful fountain that many people were enjoying on this very warm afternoon. And once again the older looking stone buildings on this mall with the modern glass ones in the background. It was a great mix of architecture in one place.
We then headed up to Perth’s railway station and walked through it to the James Street Mall. Here is where the Art Gallery of Western Australia is located. It was closed today but it would be a great place to visit to see its world class indigenous art. The café next to this gallery had an interesting outdoor art exhibit. When you first looked at it, it was a wall of upside down coffee cups in a pattern. I was going to take a picture of this because it was a bit unique. When I started to focus my camera, I was amazed at what I saw in the cup pattern – Marilyn Monroe’s head! If you squint your eyes, you can really see it.
We decided to take the local bus back to Ginny’s to pick up our stuff and get her car. It was one of the older ones, so it was not air conditioned, but it was still fun to experience another way to get around in Perth.
On the way back to the ship, we took another quick drive through Fremantle so I could get a few pictures. Most of them did not come out very well since I had to take them through the window. But Fremantle is a fun little port town with an excellent Maritime Museum. It has traditional architecture for the most part – nothing really modern. But I thought its charm were the streets lined with outdoor cafes and little shops. If I return to this area, I’ll definitely plan to spend some time here.
This was our last port in Australia, so we were sad when we had to wave good-bye to Ginny and this wonderful country. We had lots of stories to share with our dinner mates. We almost skipped the evening’s entertainment after such a long, hot day, but were glad we didn’t. We were surprised how good it was – a man who combined playing some musical instruments and humorous stories. Laughing was a great way to end the day!