I’d stopped at Myall Lakes on my cycle tour along the coast of New South Wales, a trip where I’ve mingled with the surf crowd on golden beaches, cycled through eucalyptus forests resounding with the maniacal laughter of the kookaburras and hopped on and off little ferries that potter back and forth across the bays or through channels in the mangroves where pelicans hang out in large flocks. I arrived in Sydney from the appealingly-named suburb of Manly on another ferry that gave me a spectacular view of the famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge as it chugged into the city. Sydney is a swanky, modern place and seems to be populated entirely by people who look like they just stepped out of a fashion magazine and by beautiful, tanned women who saunter serenely along the waterfront promenades in floaty summer dresses. I, meantime, stomp around in my rotten trainers that smell like a possum died in them, feeling not at all beautiful, just hot and sweaty.
Extreme heat is the name of the game here so I’m always happy when the day’s cycling is over and I can slip into my thongs. Before you start picturing me in a type of skimpy underwear, let me explain. In Britain we call them “flip-flops” but in New Zealand they are “jandals” and in Australia they are “thongs”. They are that ubiquitous and classic piece of cheap, airy footwear much loved the world over except in Scotland where you’d likely loose toes to frostbite if you ventured outside in your thongs!
Australia is hot but it’s not always dry, as I discovered when the continuation of my cycle trip south of the city was brought to a premature end by monsoonal rains that brought unprecedented levels of precipitation and flash flooding, clearing the famous beaches of their beautiful people. So, on a rather damp note, my brief tour in Australia is over, as is my time pedalling down under. And as the days and months on the road accumulate while the trip budget diminishes, it’s time for me to fly back to the northern hemisphere for the final leg of my bicycle journey and the return ride to Scotland. Keep watching as I cycle home across Europe from the exotic, eastern city of Istanbul.
Portobello here I come!
Photos on Flickr - click on the link to the right and click on the pics.