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To Manly and Bondi

February 2, 2019

After the “southerly buster” Thursday night, fresher air swept in (along with a few showers) that brought the temperature down almost 30F. Despite the constant threat of rain, I stuck with my plan to take the fast ferry to Manly. Maybe it was the gloomy day, but aside from a good lunch (including some fabulous oysters) it was a disappointing venture. The skyline views on a clear day must be something. After a perfunctory walk along the Corso to the beach, where a few surfers were looking for waves, back I went to Circular Quay, and back to Darlo for a good Thai dinner.


The next adjacent suburb to the  south of Darlinghurst is Paddington, or Paddo to the locals. So on this gloomy morning, my last here, I set off to explore this lovely area , with its abundance of gracious wrought iron-trimmed terrace houses facing streets lined with magnificent plane trees. The wrought iron corners look like the doilies my grandmother tatted when I was a kid.

Plane Tree on Paddington

Paddington St Terrace House

I’ll take this one….

Ready for Rehab

Blue Terrace House with Orange Door

The challenge in photographing this scenic area (besides today’s blah grey sky) is the unfortunate electrical wires — big fat cords, poles and ugly transformers placed smack in front of the prettiest façades [sigh]. Not to mention TV antennas sticking out of the rooftops — I thought those were history! So I concentrated on the details.





I found Union Street with its row of delightful gingerbread houses built in the 1880s. As I was passing, an older lady with a walker was approaching her gate, and we began chatting about the houses, which are much in demand. Her neighbor came out to help her, and they invited me inside — what a treat! The front door had a stained glass panel, and the interior was like a shotgun house in the Old West: a parlor, and behind that a study, then a bedroom, then a bathroom, and a kitchen at the rear, with a postage-stamp-size garden out back. Just the right amount of space for an elderly person with limited mobility.

The Paddington Markets happen every Saturday in the playground between a church and a school. Vendors sell clothing, crafts, plants, jewelry — anything you might want — and there are food stalls with Turkish, Himalayan, Spanish, Greek… and a bakery with the most delectable breads and muffins…

Feeling a bit peckish (and needing a loo) I decided to stop in a café for lunch and then catch my old friend the Big Bus. There are two routes, the red (city) and blue (Bondi), and a single ticket allows you to hop on and off both. Having not taken the trip to Bondi Beach, my plan was to cover this last area of the city today. Unfortunately, my ticket was nearing its expiration time (too complicated to explain here) so I couldn’t get off the bus and check out the beach, or the chi-chi residential neighborhood of North Bondi, where homeowners have expansive views of either the ocean or the Sydney skyline across Botany Bay. I’d take either; I’m not picky. Past Bondi was the lovely Rose Bay, certainly worth a visit next time.

To wind up my visit I made my final hop-off at the El Alamein Fountain, which I had passed numerous times on the Big Bus. Formed in the shape of a dandelion gone to seed, the fountain was erected in 1961 to memorialize soldiers killed in the two WWII battles at El Alamein in Egypt. I was fascinated by the water patterns and had fun playing around with my camera there .

El Alamein Fountain

A fingerpost sign reminded me how far from home I am — 16,026 km, about 10,000 miles  from New York.


Cafe Giorgio

There was a cute little café, Giorgio, right there, so I grabbed a seat on the patio, ordered wine and stuffed zucchini blossoms and watched the world go by. The flowers were so good that I ordered another glass of wine and pizza for an early dinner before making my way back to Darlo. Tomorrow, home, at last. But this won’t be my last visit to this amazing city of friendly, open, warm people and fascinating sights, of which I’ve only seen a few.




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