The Perks of Perth

It’s only been a few days, but Perth has already treated me to a bunch of firsts: the first kookaburra of my trip (spotted ‘in the wild’), the first heavy showers (followed by more heavy showers), and the first Germans (wouldn’t be able to live without them! ;)).

Bunkbed buddies
After two smooth 6.5 and 10.5-hour flights (transferring in Abu Dhabi), I arrived at my hostel in Perth on Wednesday afternoon. As an introvert, a hostel is the perfect place to step out of my comfort zone. All those strangers invading my personal space, sharing the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen; it’s something that needs some getting used to. Luckily everyone here is really laid back, and since it’s a pretty small hostel, it feels a bit like a student house. (Not that I ever lived in one since I very happily avoided that way of living while I was at university.)

Only three days in, I already have a special place in my heart for my 23-year-old Italian bunkbed buddy. Every time we’re trying to have a conversation in English, he’s looking at me with these big, scared Bambi eyes. It didn’t take long before we started using our hands, feet and Google Images to make sure we were actually talking about the same topic.

The biggest group of Europeans here, however, are ‘ze Germans’. I’m not sure yet if they were arranged by my dear ex-colleagues so I wouldn’t miss them too much, but if so, I appreciate the effort. Add a couple of Dutchies and a handful of French(wo)men, and you get a nice mixture of roommates.

Kings Park and Botanic Garden
So what have I seen so far? On Thursday, I had a stroll to the harbour which ended a bit sooner than expected since I didn’t even reach the bridge before it started pouring with rain. Even for someone who lives in the Netherlands, these were some impressive showers! After enjoying the view for about twenty minutes, it still didn’t get much better, so I went back to the shopping area by racing from one shed to the other.

I even considered going back to the hostel but in the end, I was really glad I didn’t, because by the time I reached Kings Park and Botanic Garden, the sun came out and the sky turned blue. The rest of the afternoon I spent walking around this beautiful park with over 3,000 species of flora. The sweet scent of some of the trees and flowers just woke up my holiday senses. Another plus is that Kings Park is located on a hill, which results in a great view of Perth’s skyline.

Freo Friday
On Friday, I hopped on a train to Fremantle, a smaller city with a hippy feeling, about 30 minutes from Perth. It was almost a shame that I don’t drink coffee because they even have a Cappuccino Strip to try some world famous black gold. Or so they say. ;)More interesting to me was Fremantle Markets, a typical indoor bazaar with little shops that sell mostly food and souvenirs. The Aboriginal relics reminded me of Hugh Grant walking down Portobello market in Notting Hill: “Thousands of people buy millions of antiques; some genuine… and some not so genuine”.

Secrets of Esperance
After a few days without having to set an alarm, I’m actually excited to say I’ll be picked up at a hostel down the road at 7 am tomorrow morning. My first 6-day guided tour from Lost in Australia is starting, and I’m thrilled to finally see some natural wonders of Western Australia. I’m especially looking forward to visiting the Valley of the Giants where we’ll be admiring some massive trees (and probably enjoy some tree hugging). Other highlights will be the white beaches of Esperance (including the odd sunbathing kangaroo), Wave Rock and last but not least: sleeping in swags under the stars.

Lost in Australia - Secrets of Esperance