Climbing and beers

Quite a busy little day wandering around the city centre, getting a feel for the place. I was meeting Fiona (you may remember her from such things as being in Vietnam at the same time as me) after lunch, so I spent the morning just plodding around, looking in shops and trying to locate a bookshop that sold A+ texts – quite a task in Australia, I’m discovering.

Fiona was staying at a backpacker’s near the station and she was there at 2:00 when I turned up. Great to see a familiar face again! We had a dig through some “touristy” stuff and decided on a wander to Kangaroo Point for some rock climbing. This started at 4:30, so we had some time to kill. Walking shoes on, we plodded through the botanical gardens, up Kangaroo Point, and beyond until we located a very nice pub and had a quick drink and a packet of crisps. For energy, you understand.

We arrived at Riverlife in good time, put all our stuff in a locker, grabbed a couple of helmets and harnesses and headed into the hot sun. Our trainer was Linda and she showed us the ropes (har har), how to ensure the safety line was kept taut and the basics of getting up the cliff face.

Enthusiastically, Fiona and I threw ourselves at the climbing. Just as enthusiastically, we fell off. A lot. Around us, people were crawling up and along like spiders – quite literally in the case of one French guy who just seemed to stick wherever his fingers and toes touched the rock. Believe me, this isn’t as easy as it looks. As I’m typing this the following morning, my wrists and forearms are still a little shaky!

I don’t think we did too badly, but we barely made it 5m up the 30m face in either of the two places we tried. However, we both reckon it’s something we’d love another shot at. Great fun and great coaching, and only $29 per person for 90 minutes. If you sign up for 13 weeks, you can pay $29 per week and do any of their timetabled activities (abseiling, rock climbing, kayaking, skating…) which is a great deal for backpackers working odd shifts or half-days.

Night fell as we packed up the equipment and I got some good shots of the cityscape and walls before our stomachs told us that we’d burned a lot of energy and needed to replace it.

On the walk back to the city through the botanical garden, we spotted a couple of possum. The second was perched on top of a bin, about to have a proper scavenge. Something seemed a bit “different” about it and on close inspection I could just make out a little baby possum in its mother’s pouch! It was tiny – and well covered so I couldn’t get a photograph. Shame.

After some walking and checking of menus (and baulking at prices) we found a bar that did food for as little as $5.90 so decided it looked nice and deserved our patronage. Fiona had a lasagne which was apparenty “OK” and I had a steak sandwich big enough to have it’s own ecosystem. Lovely it was, too – and less than $10. The beer was OK as well.

Fiona fancied a change of scenery, so we walked round the corner to an Irish bar and got charged a fortune for some dodgy beer before being kicked out when they closed. The last remaining place was the cattle market next to the hotel Fiona was staying at. A swift water (yes – water) there and I had to catch the last train back to B&A’s. Well, I’ll catch up with Fiona again in a week or so when I get to Melbourne.

Somehow, I managed to stay awake on the train and made it to bed in one piece. Posted by Picasa

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