Posted: Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008
Next Earliest Posting Date: Monday, Nov. 3, 2008 afte Melbourne, Australia
Today we landed at the port of Fremantle (a small port of 45,000 people) which is on the Indian Ocean and is famous, among other things, as being the port where Australia defended its “American Cup” in 1987. Unfortunately, they lost the Cup in that race, but the port still is the major port for Western Australia. Up river, (the wide Swan River) lies Perth, with a population of 1.4 million.
I have to start any account of Australia by talking about the Australian people. Susy and I had only set foot at the Fremantle terminal, talked with some “information” people and some jewelry vendors, before we looked at each other and said “these people are the friendliest, kindest, people we have ever met on our travels”. What a pleasure it was to be back again in Australia. You tend to forget how they bend over backwards to give you help, advice, and just say a kind word. Stop anyone on the street, and they answer your questions with a big smile and you feel their sincere desire to want to help you. I’m sure there are some mean, bad Australians, but we haven’t met any.
On with our stay in Perth, look at the photo album entitled “Perth, Fremantle Port, Australia” above. The first photo is the beautiful mouth of Fremantle Port looking out to the Indian Ocean. The second photo is the port sign and after getting off the ship Susy and I walked over to the train station to catch a 25 minute train ride to Perth. The Train Station in Perth is right in the very center of the city, so we walked around a little bit so Susy could get a flavor of (what else) the stores. She even had to check out a “Target”, but gave it a thumbs down compared to our equivalent. Perth has a free bus route that takes you around the city, so we climbed aboard and went down to the “Esplanade” or water front on the Swan River. The next photo (3rd) is my best attempt at showing you the Perth skyline. It is a beautiful city, with huge parks between the river front and the city center. On the water front (and the main reason we went down there) is what is called the “Swan Bell Tower”. The fourth photo shows you the tower and you can see the design has two walls surrounding it making it appear to be a swan. The tower houses 12 bells which were a gift to the City of Perth in 1988 to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary. These 12 bells came from “St. Martin-in-the-Fields”, Trafalgar Square, London, England, which is famous in London for ringing bells for major events for over 600 years. They were cast between 1725 and 1770, while 6 additional bells were cast and added in 1988. OK, the next photo shows Susy ringing one of the bells. I got to also and Susy said she wished she could have captured my face because I was smiling like a little kid with a new toy. From the tower we struck off walking through the beautiful parks and in the 6th photo you see Susy in front of the richest purple (they may look blue in the photo, but believe me they were a bright purple) flower stands I have ever seen, with lovely roses in the middle. The seventh photo shows the “Governor’s House”, with a grass tennis court and beautiful gardens. The next photo shows Susy in front of bronze Kangaroo statues (you can’t show Australia without showing kangaroos). We wrapped up our visit to Perth by returning on the train and I just had to show you the next to the last photo (9th) which is a sign above two seats right inside the train car door. The sign says “Stop, Priority Seat for Mum and Me”, but look at the mean face on that baby (reminded Susy and I of somebody???). Finally when we got to the terminal Holland American or Fremantle (you never know who) provided us with an Australian folk song group called the “Windjammers”. They played all our old Australian favorites, including the famous “Waltzing Matilda”.
Susy and I climbed aboard, after a long and complete day. We loved Perth and only wish we could have had more time to explore its sites (Susy said she missed seeing the “Mint” where they print the Australian dollars).
Onward to Melbourne,
Love you All,
Gary (alias Gagu)