Here I am, still in my beloved Australia. This time in Brisbane, an hour on a plane north of Sydney where I arrived in a very hot summer day. My friend James came to give me a hug while I was disembarking before leaving to catch his flight & Andrew picked me up at arrivals, it was so nice seeing them after so many years!
We headed to Hendra which not far from the airport. It is a beautiful residential area, with streets full of big tres covered with lovely red flowers when they blossom; they also have massive pods, my mouth dropped when I saw that they were longer than my arm.
There are two racecourses, there used to be heaps of stables, not many nowadays, but you can still see some horses crossing the streets as well as beautiful Queenslander houses, built higher from the ground to allow the air underneath to cool down the house.
There is a wonderful cafe in Mason Street called Saabi Cafe, where besides preparing an excellent coffee, they make a wonderful macadamia hot chocolate. I used to love going every morning to have a big one with a toast of Turkish bread, the one I discover on my trip to Blue Mountains post, with Vegemite which is as Australian as the kangaroo. It is a black paste made from yeast, salty & full of vitamins. It was created in 1923 due to the scarcity of spreads after the war. It is “national food”, similar to the English marmite, for the ones who know it.
At this point of my trip I felt as local as the koala. Who made me feel part of this place the most were my wonderful neighbours. Andrew & James introduced me to many of the clients of the cafe. Every morning I’d chat to everyone, say hello to their kiddies or doggies, I’d even look after their dogs whilst they were ordering their coffee.
In the evening we’d take our vizslas/children for a doggie walk to a beach near a mangrove.
Nudgee beach is only ten minutes away from Hendra & I found it to be a very beautiful place, only made nicer by Otto running, Odi fishing & Red daydreaming
Someone said it was not the best of the beaches, but to me it was wonderful, entirely for us, with sunset included.
These routines made me very, very happy. On my first night we went to a very cool market called Eat Street Northshore. It was packed, there were food places of all sorts, concerts, shops … the atmosphere was great, it was like being in a festival.
We had a yummy curry sitting by the river & bought treats for the doggies.
Queensland is tropical & quite hot during the day in the summer, that is why in the following evening we went to Mount Kootha from where we could see the whole city. We enjoyed the sunset & the city being slowy all lighten up. It was very magical.
We love sunsets, so next day we took the ferry to the center. I recommend it100%. It is like taking a bus that glides on the water, from one side of the river to the other, picking up passengers & keen ones like us to enjoy the ride & the view.
The ride was fabulous, seeing the skyline of the city while the sun sets was very magical & spectacular.
It was getting darker & we were getting closer to the Story Bridge, all lighten up in blue was very seductive.
We got off at South Bank Parklands, from there we entered a walk that looked like the inside of a whale, or this is how I imagine it when I think about Jonah & the whale.
Near the “harmless tummy of the whale” there was a big wheel & a city beach, fabricated so its citizens could enjoy it during the summer days, I must say it was busy.
Even the sing that reads Brisbane was full of small creatures, as you can see.
An early morning we went for a walk before it got too hot. First we went to New Farm, a very nice area with colonial buildings mixed with Queenslander houses, a park where we walked the “children” & a very nice restaurant area by the river where to eat and chill out.
From there we crossed our Story Bridge to Kangaroo Point located opposite the CBD, or financial district.
Arriving at the Kangaroo Ciffs there is a pleasant path by the river, with barbecues to have outdoor picnics, iguanas crossing, ferry terminals & climbing instructors, yes, to climb or do rappel.
As you can see, a path/park for everyone. The temperature was rising quite a bit, so we decided to come back before melting the doggies.
In the morning, during my usual visit to the Saabi café, while having my hot chocolate & my toast with avo & vegemite, I asked myself, could I be more Aussie?
There was a very beautiful book keeping me company that day “Gratitute” by Oliver Sacks. Andrew lent it to me & I’d like to share it with you. It is the epitaph of the author. He is going through a terminal cancer & shares with us a reflection about his life, so brief as well as very full. He thanks every moment of it, even the toughest ones, like when his mother discovers he is gay & repudiates him, or his complicated relationship with Judaism. Short, intense & beautiful book.
Thank Brisbane, thanks Hendra, thanks Saabi cafe & thanks boys for welcoming me.