Just a Reminder – The Beach Is Closed Today

“It’s beach day!” that’s what we exclaimed when we woke up this morning. Ok, not really, but we should have! The plan for the day was to check out Sydney’s famous eastern coastline beaches – Bondi, Bronte, and Coogee. We opted to walk a few extra minutes past King’s Cross to save a $2 AUD and a transfer to take our direct bus to the northernmost beach, Bondi. The walk was uneventful despite a lot of people looking like they’ve already had a day at 9 a.m. in the King’s Cross area – people drinking beers, folks heavily sighing while inhaling their cigarettes, and some good walk of shame sightings. We waited at our stop a mere 10 minutes (we had just missed the previous one, so their frequency is awesome), before our 389 picked us up. Thankfully we had already procured our Opal cards so we were good to go. It was a 25 minute ride through some adorable neighborhoods picking up a variety of people – a grandmother with her granddaughter, mid-twenties women heading to brunch, and even a dude with a surfboard. It looks like we’ll be following him.

That’s a lie, we didn’t follow him. He got off at the south of Bondi Beach, where the break for surfers is said to be. We continued on a bit further hoping to end up with the swimmers and boogie boarders. Really we were just guessing, because the bus wasn’t driving along the beach but inside the neighborhood and Lynn’s GPS wasn’t cooperating. So, a few stops later we parted ways with the 389 and following a father and young daughter carry their surfboard to the center of Bondi Beach. We had arrived!

We removed our flip-flops, walked through the sand, and settled in on a nice bit overlooking the center of the beach. Here we were treated to the activities of the Surf Rescue Life Saving Club who were busy with their training, running the beach, fighting the waves swimming, and practicing safe transportation on one another. When we weren’t admiring their spectacular levels of fitness, we read our books and snacked on our packed lunch items. We also attempted to go for a swim, but as soon as we stuck our feet in we said no thank you because it was too chilly and chose to walk the beach instead.

Our lifesaving friends
Our lifesaving friends
Bondi Beach looks a bit like California
Bondi Beach looks a bit like California
Doug doing sand tests at Bondi Beach
Doug doing sand tests at Bondi Beach
We hat. We play.
We hat. We play.

Around noon, we packed up our things and headed for the coastal walk that would take us south to Coogee Beach. On the way we stopped at a few places to admire the waves crashing against the cliffs, the skilled surfers catch a few, and to comment on how awesome it is that every single beach had a pool built into the surrounding cliffs which is free and every so often catches the remnants of a big wave.

View from above Bondi Beach.
View from above Bondi Beach.
The Bondi Beach pool.
The Bondi Beach pool.
Waves crashing along the coastal walk.
Waves crashing along the coastal walk.
Doug showing off while subsequently learning there is a wasps nest in there.
Doug showing off while subsequently learning there is a wasps nest in there.
He got it!
He got it!
Bronte Beach
Bronte Beach

We arrived at our next stop, Bronte Beach, in no time. Setting our items in the sand, we thought we’d try that swim again, but upon further inspection saw that there were a number of Beach Closed Dangerous Conditions signs posted along the shore. There were quite a few people out there through and the lifeguards weren’t doing anything. We entered up to our knees, but Lynn, ever the rule-follower, decided it may be best to not approach all the white wash. Instead we walked to the edge of the beach were a number of folks were wading in a natural protected pool and hung out there for a while.

It looks dangerous... but no one seems to notice.
It looks dangerous… but no one seems to notice.

Being sufficiently cooled off, we returned to our towels to eat our lunch. While doing so we heard over a loudspeaker, “Just a reminder. The beach is closed today. There are dangerous conditions” in a very monotonous lifeguard’s voice. Did anyone leave the water or stop their current entry? No, of course not.

The natural pool we dipped in at Bronte Beach
The natural pool we dipped in at Bronte Beach
Another pool at Bronte Beach
Another pool at Bronte Beach

With a limited amount of time to complete our journey we took off again on the coastal walk until we arrived at Coogee Beach, the most happening of the three. A festival was taking place featuring many stalls selling crafts and food. The beach was also packed with sunbathers, most with glass beer bottles despite the multiple signs stating that alcohol consumption is forbidden and the lifeguards making another monotonous announcement of “Just a reminder. Alcohol is prohibited.” Australians aren’t rule followers, it seems. We set our things down and did some legitimate swimming among the waves. Doug even caught a few body surfing, ending up with quite a bit of sand in his pants. We then spent an hour or so reading and napping before catching a bus back into the city.

Coastal Walking
Coastal Walking
A cove that was being used for scuba diving certification.
A cove that was being used for scuba diving certification.
Coogee Beach
Coogee Beach
Proof that we went in the water
Proof that we went in the water

We spent the next few hours prepping for the fanciest night of our trip, thus far, and eating dinner. We had tickets to see Handel’s Messiah at the Opera House and needed to very much iron our “nice” clothes. We also were set on making pepperoni calzones from scratch for dinner which did not disappoint.

Yummmmy!!
Yummmmy!!
Looking fly
Looking fly

Around 6:45 p.m. we were off on foot to the Opera House, looking quite spiffy. We procured our tickets from Will Call and spent the next 20 minutes or so sipping wine, overlooking Sydney’s harbor from inside the Opera House. The Opera House itself, well, let’s just say you can tell that it was built in the ’60s. There is a lot of wood paneling, concrete stairs, and geometric shapes – not the most stunning. At 8 p.m. we settled into our seats for the beginning of our 2.5 hour oratorio.

And, it felt like 2.5 hours, possibly even 5. It was long, there was a lot of incoherent opera-like singing and distracting sign language dancing. Doug enjoyed the chorus of 436 people (which he did count), especially when their standing and subsequent singing would rouse him from his nodding off. Lynn, on the other hand, let’s just say she most likely will never go to the symphony again. She spent the majority of the time watching the sign language chorus present the lyrics she could not understand in hopes that they would decipher the performance for her. Instead it seemed like they just did whatever they wanted. Their signs would change even when the words would not (example “Amen” over and over and over and over and over again). Well, at least Lynn learned something about herself.

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The concert hall of the Sydney Opera House in all its geometric 60s glory.

When it was finally over, we walked back home being happy that we had such an opportunity but being glad that it was finished.

Daily Walking Mileage: 14.7

Fun Facts:

  • Sydney offers a pensioner’s max daily public transportation fare of $2.50 AUD for their senior citizens. Should we consider retiring here?
  • 15 minutes of Handel’s Messiah features the lead singer repeating the words “Despised… Rejected… Afflicted with greed” over and over again. How do we know? Because Doug timed it, or at least timed it after he started noticing the pattern which means it was actually longer than 15 minutes.
  • Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is playing on Monday. Had we not just found out about it, we would have probably seen that instead.

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