Sunday, 14 November 2010

Fremantle for loners

The weekends are the worst part of the week for travel writers. Come Friday the locals you’ve barely seen all week suddenly appear en masse as one big, happy gaggle of family and friendship groups, making the lone journo feel like the poor soul who didn’t get invited to the party – a bit like when your neighbours throw a raucous shindig the night you’ve planned to be early to bed.

Today I really felt the isolation – and I blame Fremantle. On my previous trip to WA I fell in love with Freo, as the Aussies call it. Visiting with my mum and boyfriend I spent many a happy hour sipping coffees on South Terrace, guzzling fish and chips at Cicerellos and knocking back the drinks at Little Creatures – sun-soaked memories that have kept Freo at the very top of my favourite places list for the past five years.

So this morning I arrived by train from Perth in high spirits. I had planned to revisit my favoured haunts and rediscover the laidback port city I’d remembered so fondly. But then I remembered that it was Sunday. The whole of Perth appeared to be in Freo; families with multiple buggies choked the pavements of South Terrace, raucous friendship groups were squeezed into every last space outside Little Creatures and hand-holding couples seemed to be everywhere – most of them meandering along at shuffle pace immediately in front of me.

I could, of course, have jostled with the best of them and grabbed a space in each of the places I’d planned to go, but is there anything worse than being gradually surrounded by groups while repeatedly telling people that yes, they can take that chair? I genuinely don’t mind eating alone but when everybody else is part of a gang it’s hard not to feel lonely.

So my day in Fremantle wasn’t quite what I’d planned. Instead I visited the Maritime Museum to play with the interactive exhibits and still not quite grasp why the Aussies are still going on about winning the Americas Cup and wandered around the markets trying to comprehend how so much hippy tat is still being gleefully sold. I watched herons picking at discarded fish and chips down by the wharf and realized why every Aussie has a hat after walking far too far in the blaring sun. In short, I made some new memories – and they were just as sun-soaked.

1 comment:

  1. Pity you caught it on a Sunday. I remember it as a sociable place but,of course, we were there as a group so we would have had a different perspective. Little Creatures was good - and the fish and chips at Cicerello's.
    Hope tomorrow's bike ride is more rewarding.
    Drive carefully. xx