Friday, November 01, 2013

Monday, 10/28/13 Perth Fremantle

Monday, 10/28/13 Perth Fremantle

The day dawned glorious -- cool, sunny, with low humidity.  It was wonderful.  The ship arrived in port at 7:00, and as I was not on a ship tour, I decided not to hurry to leave the ship.   About 8:30, I walked to the train station only a couple of blocks from the port and took the local train into Perth at a cost of $4.00 for a one-way ticket from Fremantle to Perth.  The scenery all along the way was very pretty -- neat, middle-class houses with well kept lawns and evergreen trees.  At the Perth train station, I had to turn in my ticket in order to pass through the exit gate; if I had lost my ticket -- which was only a flimsy stub -- I would have had to pay again.  Fortunately, I keep most of my stubs.

Perth is a city of about 2 million people in the far Southwestern corner of Australia.  It is Australia’s fourth largest city, and the only large city in the West.  Outside the train station in Perth, I took a photo of the Post Office and the pretty fountain in front of it.  As I walked forward a few steps, I found myself in a pedestrian street -- the Murray Street Mall -- which was a street that had been closed to traffic for a few blocks and turned into a pedestrian street.  I noticed an information office and picked up a map of the downtown area.

As I walked, I began to notice many old buildings, dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s, restored, and occupied by businesses.  They were beautiful.  As I turned the corner on William Street, I could see the adjacent pedestrian street -- Hay Street.  At the head of Hay Street was another information office, where I learned that the Captain Cook sightseeing ferry back to Fremantle was at 11:30 a.m.  I walked through the Hay Street pedestrian street and took photos of many of the beautiful, restored, old buildings all along the street.  I noticed many arcades connecting the two pedestrian streets, and then came to a quaint, narrow pedestrian side street right out of old England -- London Court -- filled with charming shops and cafes.  At the end of the Hay Street pedestrian street, I turned right to St. George Street and walked past the Government House, which was hidden by trees and bushes, and then past Council House to Barrack Street, where I turned down toward the Bell Tower a gleaming copper and glass tower with the old bells from St. Martin in the Field, where I bought tickets for the Captain Cook sightseeing ferry back to Fremantle.

The ferry turned out to be a wonderful trip; the weather was cool and sunny, and I stood on the bow of the boat taking photos of the beautiful houses and boats along the Swan River.  This ferry ride was called a “must” by the ship’s port lecturer, and I agree that it was a really wonderful experience.

Back in Fremantle I had intended to take the Hop-On/Hop-Off tram, and I noticed a tram with the words Hop On/Hop Off on the side that looked like the tram I was looking for.  I purchased a ticket, but later learned that it was not the Hop-On/Hop-Off tram at all, but a Captain Cook tour bus that was mislabled to fool passengers.  I got off the bus and walked around town.

Fremantle is a town of about 25,000; the port lecturer had called Fremantle a college town, and I did see a lot of young people.  Most of the young women were wearing tight-fitting short shorts, and the young men were wearing loose-fitting shorts.  I also noticed a large number of drunks and hobos on the streets, more than in any other city I had visited in Australia.

I got off the tour bus on High Street, the main street in Fremantle, which was filled with restored buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Indeed, these old restored buildings were all over Fremantle.  At the end of High Street, I wandered around and found myself in Market Street and South Terrace Street, the same street, but the name changes at some point.  This street was filled with outdoor restaurants, and I stopped for lunch at the one that was filled with customers -- Ben’s (??).  I had wonderful pumpkin soup, and it was easy to understand why so many people were eating there; the food was really delicious.  After lunch, I walked back to the ship.

With one hour before time to reboard the ship, I tried to use the Internet at the port terminal, but it did not work for me or many other passengers.  I was hoping to update my travel blog and post some photos of the Great Barrier Reef, but no luck.  Later, I talked with the Internet manager on the ship, and he could not find any reason that my computer would not connect in the terminal.  Who knows what happened.  I was able to connect with the WiFi, but then I could not connect with any Internet site.  I’m sure that I needed to click a switch on my laptop, but I was not able to figure out which one to change.

Back on board, I decided not to go to the dining room, but had pizza a the pizza restaurant on the ship.

12,700 steps.

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