Growing up in Pittsburgh, you learn to love rivers. But if you grew up in Sydney instead, you probably learn to love the beach. And "love" might be not strong enough. From what I could tell, Sydney folk LIVE the beach. Maybe it was because I was visiting in November, when their spring starts to turn to summer, but the laidback vibe was pervasive and contagious. It's been a struggle to get back into the swing of things here at home after ten days of living without many responsibilities.
While in Sydney, I spent time in Manly Beach, which is where my friend Mullen has cast her lot. As you might be able to tell from the photo above, Manly Beach is a little like a beachy paradise. Actually, a lot like a beachy paradise.
Here are some photos to enjoy, and then be jealous of, when you realize that up here in the United States, we are settling in for the dark cold winter months (i.e., the exact opposite is happening in Australia).
Walking along the beach in Manly will easily get you into the "Manly Vibe."
Beach volleyball, surfing, sunning... Is this real life?
The Corso - where every other shop sells surf-style fashions, most people look like they walked right out of the 1990s, and food and drink options are a plenty.
At the edge where the beach meets the cliff, there is an odd little pool.
Flowers on the cliffside.
My last full day in Sydney was spent in Manly. It was my only opportunity of the trip to rent a bike. And it was also the first day of the cold I caught, which is still holding strong, nearly a week later. But, I wasn't going to let a pesky sore throat and runny nose stop me from exploring. Even though I was a little concerned that the combination of a cloudy head and the whole "driving on the other side of the road" thing could be a problem. I never got used to traffic being on the left, and hardly ever jay-walked because I could never figure out which way the cars were coming from.
When I rented the bike - er, "hired" the bike - the guy at the place was advising me on where I should go that would be easy to navigate, not knowing anything at all about Manly's layout. I wanted to go to the park up at the top of one of Manly's cliff. He warned me about a very steep hill, to which I scoffed and thought, "Psssshh... I'm from Pittsburgh. I own steep hills." And then about thirty minutes later, when I was about halfway up the steep hill and was cursing my cold for making me feel week, I thought, "This park better be worth it, because I now feel as awful one of those turd lizards looks."
Fortunately, I was handsomely rewarded for the steep-hill-climb effort.
The bike that got me around, and that I did not crash while navigating left-hand-side riding.
Now that I'm back home, where the sun is setting upsettingly early and the clothing layers are starting to happen, Manly is becoming a distant memory. But it's nice to know one of my best friends lives there, and that a return trip is likely necessary one day. After all, I never did try that whole surfing thing...