Saturday, 25 January 2020

December Wrap-Up - Part 6

Sunday 22 December - We had given Max and Isabelle (my daughter's in-laws) an early Christmas present, as they wouldn't have time to use it after Christmas - 2 tickets for a Captain Cook cruise from Perth to the port city of Fremantle.

The cruise departed at 9,30 from Barrack Street Jetty near Elizabeth Quay, so that morning Karina and I drove them into the city and saw them off.
Statues of swans wandering around near the Swan Bells Tower. Max and Isabelle at the door of the cruiseship

They were expected to arrive in Fremantle 1h15 later, so we returned home (20min drive) and a short while later Karina, Thomas, and I picked up Benoit from their Airbnb and drove to Fremantle (30min drive).
I parked my car at the Victoria Quay parking lot, paid for parking, and when we got to the pier the in-laws were just coming off the boat.

Just outside the Maritime Museum there was a free outdoor exhibition about shipping containers and their contribution to our way of life, entitled "Container - the box that changed the world", with 6 solar-powered containers, each conveying a story of how containers have revolutionized trade, transport, business and our day to day life.

The 6 containers in the "Box that changed the world exhibition"

Inside some of the containers

The six containers are: 
‘Ship’ - the history of the cargo industry before the invention of the container and the impact of its introduction.
‘Cargo’ - trade, customs, biosecurity and how perishable goods are transported around the world in the cold chain.
‘Port’ - the radical transformation of ports and port cities in Australia and around the world. It also gives visitors a peek behind the scenes at Port Botany, one of Australia’s busiest ports.
‘Ocean’ - the challenges mass shipping poses to our oceans, including lost shipping containers, cargo spills and acoustic pollution, and the current focus on sustainable shipping.
‘Build’ - the quirky and innovative ways containers are used beyond shipping, including ‘small homes’, food trucks, art installations and even swimming pools.
‘Things’ - a glass fronted container with a shop-front style window display demonstrating the origins of everyday objects in our homes.

We next walked to the Round House, the oldest public building in the Swan River Colony, built in 1830, just 18 months after settlement. 
Used as a jail until 1886, it had 8 cells and a jailer's residence, all opening onto the central courtyard. It has had various other uses since, but is now open to the public.

Fremantle is also home to many of the State's beautiful Victorian buildings.

On the way to the Fremantle Market I saw these beautiful oldies driving by.

Fremantle Market was established in 1897, and is one of two surviving municipal market buildings in Western Australia that is still used for its original purpose. 

With over 150 stalls, it is one of Fremantle's most visited sites by tourists and locals, and is only opened from Friday to Sunday.

After the market we had lunch at the nearby pub "The Monk". The men were keen to try the tray of craft beers, and the food was quite nice. We even had a young French girl serving at our table.

The Monk - craft beers to taste

Next, we walked to Fremantle Prison just behind the market, as they wanted to do a prison tour. The tour lasts just over 1 hour, and I went to retrieve the car from the parking lot by the harbour and then waited for them in the prison's parking lot.  

The prison opened in 1855 and closed in November 1991 and is now a World Heritage site.
Unfortunately there were 44 hangings carried out at this prison, with the last one in 1964!

When they went in I called Jose, who had stayed home, to meet up with us at the prison, as we had arranged to go to past our son's house for coffee. 
After the visit at Michael's house we went home for dinner.

Various statues around Fremantle

Monday 23rd December - the whole family was invited to a barbecue, swim and boat ride in the river at our friend's house, so it was a quiet and relaxing day. 
After a swim Isabelle and Max went out on the paddle boat and the rest of us went on the electric round boat.

Some of the feathered animals in the river had downy offspring and it was cute to see them feed the young.

At 6pm our friend calls the ducks, and whatever other animals are around the area and they came and feed on the bird feed he throws them.

Feeding the ducks

When we returned home in the early evening we set out the tables on the deck for our Christmas Eve dinner the next day.

Tuesday 24th December - While Karina and Jose did started on food preparation for dinner, I took Isabelle, Max, Thomas and Benoit for a drive to the "Crawley Boatshed", also known as the "Blue Boathouse" in Matilda Bay
This iconic boathouse in Mounts Bay Road, just below Kings Park has been around the 1930's and is Perth's most instagramable spot.

Near the boathouse, Eliza a bronze sculpture in the Swan River, named after Mount Eliza, the hill where Kings Park is located, and commemorates the old Crawley Baths which were demolished  in that area in the 1960's.
Eliza is 2,2 metres high and was created by Perth artist Tony Jones. She often gets dressed up on special occasions or just for fun by humorous Perthites.

I then drove just around the corner to the Bayside Kitchen, a lovely cafe that serves breakfast, lunch or dinner with views of the Swan River and right by the Matilda Bay beach. They had a great choice of gluten-free cakes which pleased Isabelle and they had coffee and cake and a juice for me. 

After our stop I was meant to take them to one more tourist attraction, before returning home, but Isabelle wasn't feeling too well, so I drove back and left them at their airbnb so she could rest.

Bayside kitchen - can you spot the ravens perched on the chairs ready to eat the leftovers?

The guests started arriving at 6,30 for our Christmas Eve dinner which was held outdoors in our patio. 
I made the main dish - Codfish in cream sauce, made the Christmas fruitcake and two desserts and prepared a cheese and crackers platter. My daughter in law made the ham, and other guests guests brought salads and more desserts. 
It was an enjoyable and loud event with 16 people sitting down to dinner, and people speaking in 3 different languages.

The Christmas tree and presents, the outdoor patio and the first guest to arrive, an 86 year old friend
 It was almost midnight when the last guests left and we moved to the sitting room to open the Christmas gifts. 
It was close to 1am when the the French in-laws left and walked to their airbnb just 5 minutes away.

On the 25th December, guests started arriving at 1pm for lunch. This time we had 12 people around the table, and because it was a very hot day, instead of eating outdoors we extended the dining table and ate inside.

After lunch we gave our two grandchildren their presents. Little J was given a small keyboard as he loves music and dance, and we all had a laugh when we set up the keyboard and he just sat down and started banging on the keys. When I prompted him to sing he started with "Wheels on the bus" and then just carried on with 3 or 4 other children's songs. A true performer!

A good time was had by all.


  1. Wonderful post and some interesting clicks...thanks for sharing sami

  2. Love all the bright blue skies and water of Australia looking at it's best! Looks a fabulous Christmas I shall be humming the wheels on the bus all evening now!
    Wren x

    1. Thanks Wren. I know that song is very catchy. We cannot utter those words as Little J starts to sing it straight away, and most times he wants to watch the video that goes with it too :)

  3. How nice to spend the days leading up to and including Christmas with you and your family, dear Sami. I enjoyed it all, including the trip to Freemantle and Victoria Quay. Love the Victorian buildings. Great find on those cars, and I loved revisiting those boxcar containers. There's an entire shopping center in Wichita that is comprised of these shipping containers. It's fun to see them used after they are no longer used for their original purpose.

    Wow, that Round House is amazing. So is the prison. You know how to treat your guests.

    Enjoyed seeing The Monk. We have a local microbrewery here that sells those taster beers. Everyone always gives me the stout, since that's the only beer I actually like.

    I always love visiting your friend who feeds the ducks, because I know I'm going to see a black swan or two along the way. What fun to be able to navigate the river, too.

    Really enjoyed the blue boathouse on Matilda Bay, but Eliza is the fun statue I always like to see. I remember one year you took photos of her dressed in a tee of some sport win. I also remember seeing her during a time when the water was up past her waist. Please don't tell me I'm dreaming, because I always enjoy seeing her.

    You put on some great spreads, both Christmas eve and Christmas day. I am always hungry when I leave your blog.

    See you tomorrow for Murals, dear.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth, you have a good memory when it cames to Eliza. I showed her at least once dressed in a Portuguese T-shirt when Portugal won the Euro 2016. She was actually dressed up by two of our friends who got on a canoe to get to her.
      That is nice to see containers being used as shopping centres, I have seen a lot of houses made out of them on tv programs.
      I was disappointed that there were no swans at my friend on our last visit. We will be going there Monday, as it's a public holiday and I hope they are back.
      I don't drink beer, I tried the stout and still didn't like it.

  4. The sculptures of the swans are really appealing, as are the other sculptures. This is really urban planning at its very best. As someone else has mentioned I am hungry after I have looked at many of your posts!

    1. Thanks David, glad you've enjoyed the statues around town. The swans were away for a while, when the Elizabeth Quay construction was on, but they are back :)

  5. A good time certainly was had by all Sami,you are an amazing host💙

    1. Thanks Grace. I think I probably did too much, hardly gave them breathing time, lol.

  6. sure packed a lot into December.

    1. We had to Tom, as the French in-laws were only here for 2 weeks, their first visit to Australia, so I had to cram in as much as I could :)

  7. I never would have thought of a shipping carrier museum exhibit!

    Your Christmas looks lovely -- all that delicious food. It must have kept you very busy in the kitchen. Love your stories of Christmas and all the littles with their gifts. Sounds just perfect.

    1. I never thought there would be anything interesting to say about containers, but it was a good exhibitition. It was a busy time in the kitchen, with 7 people to feed every day, plus the big Christmas dinner and lunch. Thanks Jeanie.

  8. I find the Round House particularly fascinating.

    1. It is an interesting piece of history. Thanks William.

  9. Fremantle is such a great place to visit. Somehow we missed the blue boat house in the river. The electric boat sounds interesting. I haven't seen one before.

    1. I like Fremantle too, such a gem. Our friend loves his gadgets, so he ordered the round boat from China. Next time you visit Perth I'll take you to the blue house Andrew :)

  10. Dearest Sami,
    You sure do live in a region with lots of tourist attractions for taking guests.
    A great time for such an extended Christmas Eve dinner, as you said in three languages.
    Smart for not having lunch outdoors as it could be too much for those not used to this kind of climate.

    1. Thanks Mariette. Sadly they weren't here long enough to be able to see a lot more things around Perth. Next time maybe!

    2. That's exactly the reason why we had my Parents in 2005 for 6 weeks as it is far less of a rush for the guests and the hosts that is! 😉

  11. I never saw the containers. Are they permanent?
    Awesome, thank you for showing! Somehow I seem to know... have you or Grace blogged about this before?

    Freo sure is my third love (or such ;-)...)
    Huuups! Only from Friday to Sunday?! We were lucky so often then with the markets!!!
    Never been at the Monk - on the list for next time! Fun coincidence with the French girl!

    Oh, yes. I felt sick when we saw the "hanging place". They also told about a young boy. He was imprisoned because he stole an apple.
    Yes, he was an Aborigine. A very hungry one :-(

    A very cool pic with the green blouse and white hat - fancy and beautiful!!

    Lucky ducks there!

    Boat house and Eliza - on the list! Sadly the routine with giving our Ringers socks in winter has stopped (and no, I will not climb up there!) - do you remember them? Right in the city, near Karstadt, facing Henry.
    Oh, am I glad I can (or could) eat anything! A burden not only for oneself when you can not.

    Now that sounds like just yet another fun Christmas!! Oh, and a yummy one, too!

    LOL. I know your part of the world, and I remember how I sat outside the cabin in Madeley (back then called still Wanneroo) that had no aircon in 2006 with a bucket of cold water to sprinkle over me.
    The guys with aircon looked and me and shook their head. Yes. It was HOT inside.

    Oh, cute, I hope J will love playing. My Dad sadly made me quit being too strict. I was too fast, have no feeling for tact - doesn´t every player have his own pace? His own interpretation?

    Oh, to sweet memories!!

  12. Usually Fremantle markets only open Friday to Sunday. They will open Monday when it's a public holiday and in mid-December I think they open from Wednesday onwards. I don't have a white hat, so had to go and check - that is Karina :)
    Yes, I remember that story from the Fremantle Prison. People went to jail for very little then :(
    Not easy when people have dietary restrictions, makes eating out a lot more difficult.
    I don't think J has been "training" his piano, too noisy for their house, lol. I need to get them to bring it to my place and then he can make all the noise he wants,lol.
    I agree, I think every player has their pace and their interpretation.

    1. Forgot to say, the container exhibition is not permanent, it started in Nov and goes on until 14 April. I think it was Grace that had on her blog sometime ago, this was the first time I saw it Iris.

  13. A wonderful 'December' post Sami.
    Great photographs.
    Do you know I'm now humming the wheels on the bus LOL!
    It was a great favourite with both the children and then the grandchildren!

    All the best Jan


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