As I mentioned before, we did the iconic walk backwards – we started from Coogee beach located few minutes from our hotel, and had a lunch at the world’s famous Bondi. Well, technically we did it both ways, but more on that later.
After a quick breakfast on our patio, we headed to town. Our first mission was to find a decent cup of coffee, since hotel only offered the powdered instant stuff. We all know how the fellow Canadians don’t function properly without out half-a-bucket of Timmy’s.
It was early in the morning, and we were strolling down the hill towards the beach. I was glad I had my sweater on, but was already trying to build a compelling argument to make Alex carry it once it gets a bit warmer. The sun was warm, but there was still that spring morning breeze.
Coffee (yes, it deserves its own mention)
We came across the first coffee shop and after a brief adjustment to the accent we ordered our first Australian cup of coffee. There were few notable things about that event.
First of all, Starbucks is probably a welfare coffee in Australia. A regular drink costed us about $4.00. Don’t worry, we did not get a litre of it. As a matter of fact, I believe that only North Americans drink coffee in that volume. Regular coffee in Australia is similar to what Tim Hortons now considers a small. Outside of the international chains, I believe this size of the cup was the only option.
The reason it was expensive, was the fact that it is a real coffee, made in a proper espresso machine with a little leaf design on the milk foam.It is fresh every time you order, not every twenty minutes. Most of the people drink flat white, and we did seem to be odd when we told people we drink ours black (but someone back home told us that only crazy people drink it that way as well, so we did not worry).
We savoured our milky shot of energy, and kept strolling towards the beach.
We saw Coogee beach a day before, but on a Monday morning it was absolutely different. It was quiet, and beautiful. The colour of the water, the sand, the waves. It took our breath away. Pulling a camera out of the backpack, we headed along the boardwalk.
At the either end of the Coogee (and every other) beach there was a pool: either natural or man made. Man made version was looked like any outdoor swimming pool, with the exception that it was feeding by the ocean, not some system of pumps. Natural pools, on the other hand are just strings of rocks protecting a smaller stretch of the beach from roughness of the ocean. Alex, being the way he is, ran straight for the first natural pool. His enthusiasm was held back by the, normal for the end of the spring, extremely low temperature of the ocean water (and a tiny crab staring at him from under the stair).
After a while, the path swung to the streets and brought us through the residential areas, sandstone patches and natural trails. We hopped from stone to stone, checked the map every time we saw one on the post.
The landscape changed with every turn, and we strolled through all the iconic beaches and neighbourhoods. At one point we got to cross a graveyard. While historic Waverly Cemetery was under construction, it still looked charming. I can only imagine how beautiful all the sculptures were before they got damaged in the storm.
At this point, we were “promised” to see the whales. Apparently, on a good day you have more chances to see one than on a special tour you would purchase through your travel agency. However, I guess it wasn’t a good day, or the wales had stuff to do on a Monday morning (after all, they have lives, and better things to do than stare at people on the shore), or maybe it was not the season for it. Either way, we kept walking.
Eventually we got to the Bondi. Remember I mentioned those pools? Well, the one at Bondi probably ruined all the swimming spaces for me. It was a full size 50m lane swimming pool with a 25m “kiddie” one attached to it. Both outside, overlooking the ocean. That one wasn’t free and open access at the other pools we saw along the beach, but if I had my bathing suit on, even I would go for a workout there.
By the time we had lunch, the weather turned to worse and all of a sudden everyone disappeared. It quickly became even windier than the morning, and I was glad I had my sweater (which I did not have a chance to take off, yet). Alex went for somewhat of a swim, and we headed towards home.
Yes, we sat on the beach for about 10 minutes, turned around and were on our way back. Honestly, we were not quite sure how their bus system worked, and were not ready to pull out another $60 for a 20 minutes cab ride (we never figured out how much the taxis really costed in Sydney, but the ride from the airport scarred us for life).
After all, we ended up doing the iconic Bondi to Coogee walk after all. Now in the right direction. And it was still just as spectacular on the way back.
At some point the gusts of wind became so strong that we had difficulty walking. That was when I realized why Australians were always wearing big coats in every movie I saw. We got rained on a bit, pushed by the wind, but yet still made it back to the hotel. At the end of the day, my activity tracker said we walked over 20 kilometers. It certainly felt like it.
And the best part, we had 2 more weeks to go!