Friday 28 April 2017

Picnic at Hyde Park

I'm sure you've all heard of Hyde Park in London!
Well, we also have a Hyde Park in Perth (Australia), and only recently did I visit it, even though I had driven past it quite a few times.

My husband worked during the Easter long weekend, and because I would be on my own I decided not to do anything special for Easter. My son suggested I join them on a picnic at Hyde Park on Easter Sunday.

Situated just north of the Perth city centre, this huge park has a lovely lake, beautiful old fig trees, exercise equipment, kids playgrounds, barbecues, a couple of gazebos and lots of birds.
It's an ideal place to hold a birthday party, to picnic, walk or even for weddings.

We had thought that most people would be home enjoying a special Easter Sunday meal with their families, but we were wrong! Half of Perth was at Hyde Park for sure!!

We drove around and around trying to find parking, and eventually parked a few blocks away. Luckily for me, the cooler box I took had wheels, otherwise I would have a heavy load to carry.

Barbecues, exercise machines, gazebos and lovely trees
Swans, Ibis, lakes and shady walking paths
After lunch we went for a long walk around the park, to try and get the baby to fall asleep in his pram and came across the source of the music we could hear - the Songkran Festival - which is the celebration of the Thai New Year or Water Festival, which was being hosted by the Thai Language Centre of Perth.
In one of the park's corners was a stage with dancers and musicians, there was a jumping castle, food stalls, and plenty of people sitting on the grass enjoyed a beautiful sunny day outdoors.

Songkran Thai Festival
 As we left the park and returned to our car I took a photo of the city, so you can see how close the park is to the city centre.   
It certainly was a lovely Easter Sunday!


Tuesday 25 April 2017

25th April - Anzac Day in Australia and Freedom Day in Portugal

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance celebrated in Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Tonga, to commemorate those who served and died in all wars and conflicts and honour all those brave men and women who fought in those same wars and conflicts the Anzacs - the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, formed in Egypt in 1914, operating during the battle of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

I've been wanting to go to Anzac Dawn Service, at Kings Park for ages, but once again I didn't manage to wake up at 4 AM to make it to the 6 AM service. I've been far too tired with too many badly slept nights, so I decided to rather catch up on sleep.

But I didn't want to let this day go by without remembering such a poignant event, so later in the day I drove to the main road of our suburb to take photos of the Anzac Memorial plaque laid out by the local RSL (Returned & Services League of Australia).
Hundreds of Anzac services are held across many towns in Australia.

Dozens of crosses with names of the fallen soldiers
Flowers, garlands, messages and crosses for the fallen soldiers
Our Autumn (Fall) weather has been so great, with temperatures in the high 20's C (77 to 82F), so in the afternoon, I decided to get catch a bit of sun by doing some gardening as it's such a relaxing activity too. And I spent about 3 hours replanting, moving plants around, etc. Hopefully the relaxing day will mean I'll have a good night's sleep too.

Strangely enough, the 25th of April is also celebrated in Portugal, as Freedom Day,  
since on this day in 1974 a military coup in Lisbon overthrew the Dictatorship that had been in power since 1933. 
Known as the Carnation Revolution, it comes from the fact that almost no shots were fired, and the population celebrated the end of the dictatorship and the war in the Colonies, by putting carnations on the soldier's uniforms and into the muzzles of their riffles.
(Only 3 people died in this revolution).


Monday 24 April 2017

Monday Mural - Squares

I found this mural on the grounds of St Patrick's primary school in Fremantle.
One wall has a fish painted on it, the other walls were painted with squares in various colours.
Painted by Brenton See a younger graphic designer from Perth, who enjoys depicting animals and objects in his works and has been greatly influenced in his art by David Attenborough's documentaries.

For more murals from around the world please click here.

Thursday 20 April 2017

Icons of Influence Walking tour

One last post about my outings with the family while they visited in March, and I'll be back to posting about current events.

Because of a 8 hour delay on their departure flight, the family managed to win extra time that we used doing a walking tour of Perth.

We took the train into the city, but were about 10 minutes late to join the walking tour that departs at 11AM from the Information centre at the Murray street Mall near the Perth station.  I decided we could still go ahead and got a map to follow the same trail.
These are some of the highlights:

State Buildings - is a group of 3 buildings which includes the original General Post Office, the Lands department and the Titles Office, all built in the late 19th century. They are situated in the corner of Barrack street and St.George's terrace, marking point zero, from which all measurements of distance from Perth are taken.
The buildings were empty for many years and have recently been renovated, now housing a top class hotel, restaurants and bars and some boutiques.

St George's Cathedral -  an Anglican church in St. George's Terrace, it was completed in 1888,  and it's interior is worth visiting because of it's many beautiful stained glass windows. 

Perth Library - not an old building, but a recently constructed one, stand just behind the Cathedral. If you climb to the 1st floor you can see a rather interesting painted ceiling.

Government House - also in St. George's Terrace, the residence of Western Australia's Governor, was completed in 1864 and is set in 3,2 hectares of beautifully manicured gardens.
Although not able to go inside (the house is only opened to the public a couple of times a year), the gardens are open to the public on Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's from 12 to 2pm.  (the photo of the house below was taken last year, on one of the open days)
And by the way, the present Governor is the Honorary Kerry Sanderson, the first woman to hold this position.

Perth Boys School - it was Perth's first Government school building, constructed by convicts in 1854, to look like a church so as to impose a sense of duty.
Next to it stands the Perth Technical School, built in 1910.


Forrest House Replica and Bishop's gardens-  At 221 St. George's Terrace, stands a replica of the home of Alexander Forrest - an explorer, investor and politician, Mayor of Perth in the 19th century, who built a house on the terrace in 1895.

The replica houses a popular bar - Rigby's. You can also visit the gardens behind the Forrest Centre building that stands right next to the replica - Bishop's gardens, a lovely relaxing refuge for the office workers with statues and waterfalls.

Barracks's Arch & Parliament House - At the top end of St.George's Terrace stands the Barrack's Arch, all that remains from the former Pensioner's barracks built in 1866 to house the ex-soldiers employed to guard the convicts.
Due to public protest, it avoided being demolished in 1962 to clear the view for parliamentarians at Parliament House. Eventually the back part of the building was removed to make way for the Kwinana freeway in 1966, but the main Arch was preserved.
From here you can look back and have a good view of St. George's Terrace.

Parliament House was opened in 1904 and can be toured on Mondays and Thursdays at 10,30am.
All along the Terrace there are plaques on the pavement recognizing the many people that have influenced the growth of Perth and Western Australia. (below right)

You might have noticed too that all these original buildings stand along St. George's Terrace, which was designed to be the city's powerhouse, a large avenue parallel to the Swan River. 
Today St George's Terrace is still Perth's powerhouse, housing many of the world's biggest names in business.

And so ends our walking tour of Perth's iconic buildings. Hope you enjoyed the armchair tour. We walked close to 12 thousand steps that day!!

                                                                                                                                  15th march

Monday 17 April 2017

Monday Mural - Seinfeld

Painted by the very talented artist Paul Deej in 2016, this 35mt long mural of the various artists from the Seinfeld TV sitcom, was commissioned by Smartline Mortgage brokers.

It can be seen in the parking lot behind the IGA supermarket and the Smartline offices (corner of Beaufort st & Grosvenor rd) in the suburb of Mount Lawley.
It was a pity there were many cars parked in front of the mural so I couldn't get the full view, but the individual characters are spot on.

For other murals from around the world please follow this link:

Jerry Seinfeld
The nutty Kramer
George Costanza
Seinfeld and Elaine, Frank, Estelle & George Costanza, Jackie the lawyer, Newman & the Soup Nazi

Part of the mural with various Seinfeld characters

   (copied from the internet)

Saturday 15 April 2017

I found the Easter Bunny!

At the food court of Garden City shopping center, not far from where I live, I came across this Easter Bunny.

Created by British born and Perth resident artist Stormie Mills, this Bunnyman character was first displayed at the Cottesloe Sculpture by the Sea in 2015, having won the Kid's choice prize.

Since my husband will be working this Sunday, my son and daughter in law will join us for Sunday dinner rather than lunch, and the three of us will have a picnic lunch in one of Perth's beautiful parks. 

Wishing you all a most wonderful Easter. 

The huge feet of the Bunny
The bunny and Cinderella? hand out chocolate eggs to the kids at the shopping centre.
I took a photo with the Bunny too but didn't come out too well...

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Road trip to Jurien Bay

On the 10th of March, my husband and I, Sister in law and Brother in law piled into our fully loaded car and started our road trip to Jurien Bay on the Coral Coast, about 222km north of Perth, where we would spend the next 3 nights.
Because our 4 month old baby grandson was also travelling with our son and daughter in law in another car, we had to have frequent stops for feeding, nappy changing, etc.

Day 1 - Our first stop was just outside Perth's northern boundaries at the former Atlantis Marine Park in the small fishing community of Two Rocks 60km north of the city.  The now abandoned Atlantis theme park was built in 1981, but closed in 1990 due to financial problems. 
The statue of King Neptune at the top of a hill has been restored from vandalism and was heritage listed by the Western Australian Heritage Council in 2006.
The area was enclosed with a wire fence but I saw a couple taking photos at the top and asked them how they got there and they indicated a hole in the fence through which I climbed.
I'd heard about this park and seen photos but never been there before, so it was quite interesting to see Neptune and the various statues scattered around, some of them looking a bit dilapidated.

King Neptune, dolphins and mermaids at Atlantis Marine Park

Lancelin was our next stop to take some photos of the beach and have a bite to eat from our packaged lunches. On the road lots of white sand dunes were visible, the pristine beach was deserted and a few fishing boats were at sea.
Lancelin - sand dunes, beach with fishing boats, big houses by the beach and our grandson with his baby sunglasses
Late afternoon we reached Jurien Bay where we had rented a small holiday house and unpacked. 
Jurien Bay is a well know fishing spot and it's marina provides a haven for crayfishing boats. Named after Charles Jurien, an administrator in the French Navy it was found in 1801 by French naval explorer Nicholas Baudin.

After familiarizing ourselves with the area, we went to the jetty to watch the sunset. We were lucky to see a dolphin but couldn't catch him in a photo!
The next day there meant to be a "classic car show" on the main street, but although we were there on time and waited for a while no cars showed up! Later on we saw two of them near the beach and spoke to the owners who said the show somehow didn't materialize. Strange!!

Cervantes beach and jetty (my son, daughter in law and baby), sunset and 2 of the classic cars we saw.

Day 2 - We drove to Dongara about 130km north of Jurien Bay via the Indian Ocean Drive to explore the coastal area
We explored the area's beaches and the many small towns along the coast. From the many statues that could be seen around crayfish is king. We made our way back in the evening.

Various town around Jurien bay - beaches and crayfish statues

Day 3 - after a relaxing morning, we made our way to the Nambung National Park near Cervantes, in the early evening, paid our entry fee (into an envelope as no cashier was there at the time we entered) and drove around the 12km loop looking at the Pinnacles.

The Pinnacles popular with tourists, are rocks make of limestone varying from small stones to stones over 2mt high spread out in the desert. They became well known after 1967 when the area was gazetted as a reserve.
It was a windy day but that didn't deter the flies that were out in force, and we could hardly open our mouths in fear of swallowing a couple...our backs were full of them and every time we entered the car we had to help each other clear them so they wouldn't bother us inside.

I had been to the Pinnacles before but always during the day, so this time our aim was to watch the sun setting over the pinnacles and the show didn't disappoint!! 

Lots of photographers with fancy cameras lined up taking photos from all angles. Mine aren't so bad either considering my modest camera.
We left when the sun set and the moon was visible in the sky making the earth appear red.

Sunset over the Pinnacles, my husband and I in front of one of the tall boulders

Sun down and moon up in the sky

Day 4 - Time to pack up and return to Perth. We stopped at Cervantes about 30km south of Jurien bay to visit Lake Thetis.
The lake is one of five sites in Western Australia that features thrombolites (believed to be about 3000 years old) which resemble stromatolites, the oldest living fossil formations in the world (up to 3,5 billion years).
The lake is named after the ship Thetis that surveyed the coast between 1847/8.
There's a boardwalk of 1,5km around the lake making for an easy stroll.

Cervantes was established about 50 years ago to accommodate the workers of the local crayfishing industry and has about 500 inhabitants. The coast here has seen over 1400 shipwrecks since 1622.
The town was named after the Cervantes islands nearby which were named after an American whaling ship which wrecked on the coast in 1844, which in turn was named after the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.
Maybe for that reason the town's street names are mostly Spanish - Seville st, Catalonia St, Valencia st....

My husband couldn't return without having crayfish for lunch and even though we looked into eating at the Lobster Shack we decided rather on eat at Cervantes Bar & Bistro.
The food was wonderful and tasty and our waitress was a friendly Canadian girl on a working holiday.

Cervantes lookout to empty beach, Lake Thetis, prawns and squid and grilled lobster

About 100Km north of Perth, our last stop before reaching Perth was Guilderton, on the Moore River estuary.
It's a pretty place where the dark river almost meets the sea. 
We climbed to the top of the viewpoint which gave us views over the town, river and sea.

On top of the Lookout with view over the town. Statues of Pelicans and a man with binoculars 

We arrived home in time for dinner having enjoyed our trip with the family.
Hope you also enjoyed getting to know a bit more of Western Australia.

Monday 10 April 2017

Monday Murals - Yellow monsters

Another bus stop in the town of Fremantle, painted with yellow and orange monsters.
I took this photo while sitting in the bus on the other side of the road, so I have no idea who the artist was.
For other murals from around the world please follow this link.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Driving around the Swan River coast

Monday, 6th of March was a public holiday, and with my husband home we opted for a car ride around Perth's Swan river to show the family Perth's nicest views and the most amazing houses!

We started at the point of the river closest to our suburb - Riverton and Shelley - and made our way around all the way to Fremantle, across to the northern suburbs and returned home about 6 hours later.

Our first stop, 1 on map at bottom was to admire some of the mansions built across from the river in the suburb of Shelley. (With few exceptions most houses are across the road from the river or beach as to allow everyone access to the facilities, without having to own a mansion). 

Extra large mansions around the river - top right shows the most expensive house sold in Perth for $57million (in Dalkeith, which is close to spot 7 on map)

Then on to stop 2 - Deep Water Point park in the suburb of Mount Pleasant where we stopped for an ice-cream at one of the food vans. For the first time ever I saw a UV meter which showed 9 which is in the danger zone! There was also a water station where you could fill up your bottle with normal or sparkling water for a small fee. The van where we got the ice-cream had a funny sign hanging inside (bottom right of photo).

Deep Water Point - water refilling station, UV measurement sign and funny sign found in ice-cream van

In Applecross - stop 3 - we stopped at one of the prettiest playgrounds south of the river - Heathcote Reserve, with great views across the city, wonderful playground and a small beach below. (You can read more about this park on this blog link).

Heathcote Reserve in Applecross - playground, beach and city views

Onto stop 4 - Point Walter Reserve in the suburb of Bicton, another great park, always full of people picnicking, playing sports, kite surfing, kids having fun in the water, and families having a bite to eat in the local restaurant
There is a tongue of sand that extends 1 km into the river hosting bird colonies. 
In the middle of the park there's a bronze statue "Habibi" by Ayad Alqaragholli, an Iranian born artist who's had a few of his works exhibited at the Cottesloe Sculpture by the Sea. He had one of his works at this years exhibiton (2nd photo, top left of the blog post).

Point Walter Reserve - families having fun, paddling with the dog, sculpture 

After crossingn the river onto the north side of the city at Fremantle/North Fremantle - stop 5, we decided to have something to drink at the Dome cafe that sits on the river's edge. Again some mansions and the prettiest apartment blocks with river views.

Last year "The Freo rainbow" was presented by the artist Marcus Canning. This massive piece of public art, was made with 9 recycled containers, stands 9 mt high, 19mt long and weighs 66 tonnes.  I enjoyed it's view from both sides of the river, and it's certainly a joyful piece of art.

Freo Rainbow , metal reclining metal chairs in the public park next to a mansion, Dome Cafe on the river and our iced chocolate and chocolate cake.

Stop 6, was at the Bay view lookout, which is between the suburbs of Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove (among the fanciest of Perth's suburbs). It is the highest lookout over the Swan River, and from the top we could see Mosman's restaurant which perches on the river, the city in the distance, while a lot of sail boats floated by on this beautiful day.
The wall where we sat for a photo is full of commemorative plaques to those that died in the wars (I presume local residents).

Mosman's restaurant (second white building w/jetty), view of the city in the distance, my husband, SIL and I on the Remembrance wall and a lady paddling with her dog.

And we were headed for stop 7 on our tour - Claremont jetty, in the suburb of Claremont, where we saw lots of fishermen catching blue crabs. 
The long jetty was originally built in 1898 when goods were brought in to the area by ferries and barges, and it was renewed in 1991 and is now mainly used by fishermen.

Long jetty with Pelican on the lamp post, Blue crab, view of the bay, war gun and sun setting over the Swan river

The sun was setting by the time we finished our tour and returned home. It would have been interesting to know how many kilometres we travelled around the river, I'll have to take note next time...but it was a day well spent, my in laws loved the tour and were astonished with the size of the houses and boats we saw around the Swan river.
And this is how the other half live!

Hope you enjoyed the ride around the Swan River and you can follow the route on this map.

Driving around the Swan River

                                                                                                    6th March

Monday 3 April 2017

Monday Mural - Wacky bus stop mural

Looking through some pictures taken last year I came across quite a few photos of murals I still hadn't posted.
I'll start with this one painted by Perth artist Stormie Mills at a bus stop in Ord street, just across from the Fremantle Arts Centre.

The Fremantle Arts Centre (bottom photo) was originally a lunatic asylum built by convicts in the 1860's.
It closed in 1941 due to campaigns by women's groups, as the place became known for sadness, suffering and even murder. It's rumoured that it's now a haunted building.
Probably the reason why Stormie Mill's wacky figures were painted at this bus stop!

Fremantle Arts Centre (see story above)

Other murals from Stormie Mills: