Freo, Family and Florentines

Rising to a beautiful summer morning and dining on the balcony is starting to become a habit. Oh, how I love being conditioned to this type of lifestyle. With my Princess on the other side of the table, the breeze blowing gently across our bodies and the morning vistas penetrating our waking eyes I can say that this is a lifestyle that I aim to become accustomed to.
We had arranged to meet up with my brother, Steve, and his partner, Casey, today so after breakfast we sorted ourselves out and packed our things before heading out the door around 10.30.
The Boatshed coffee machine was calling us again so we drove down to the foreshore and placed an order for a latte and a Chai tea latte. Of course no morning tea would be complete without a little yummy side order of a bakery piece so this morning we ordered a very tasty square of Florentein biscuit. We enjoyed sipping our brews and nibbling on the tasty chocolate covered biscuit during the 20 minute drive to Fremantle.
We had planned to meet Steve and Casey around 1300 however we intentionally arrived a little early so that we could take in some of the weekend market experience of Freo’. After parking the car we set off in search of some of the local shopping venues. Needless to say it wasn’t long before The Princess was trying on some tops and bottoms. It was nice to walk around the streets of Freo and to check out the variety of wares on offer. We didn’t buy too many things for it is always a challenge to keep the suitcases to a reasonable weight – particularly with internal flights.

We dropped our purchases off at the car and walked the short distance to Clancy’s Fish Pub – the venue for today’s lunch. We almost bumped into Steve when we walked into the bar – we surprised each other to the point that for a couple of seconds we didn’t actually “see” each other. Steve and Casey were dining with friends of theirs, Brett and Susie, out the back of the pub so we joined them under the gum tree and settled into some easy conversation over a light drink or two.
None of us had eaten so we ordered some light salads to share. The Princess ordered a Shanghai chicken salad (can’t get away from the Asian theme) and I settled on a very nice pumpkin salad.
It was great to catch up with Steve and Casey and to meet their friends. It was also great to sit back and relax in the ambience of another Aussie outdoor pub setting on a beautiful summer afternoon here in Perth.
We said our goodbyes around 1530 and The Princess and I returned to the streets of Freo in search of nothing in particular. However, given the lack of caffeine in my system, one of the first “ports of call” was a coffee shop. One of the lovely things that Freo is known for is the Italian influence. Many years ago Italian migrants settled in this area and made Freo their own. Their influence on the culture of the city is tangible. The proliferation of Italian restaurants and eateries means that the choice of good coffee houses is huge. We settled on a place called Florentina’s and took a street side table from which we were able to enjoy the “moving sidewalk” . The coffee was great and The Princess surprised me with some delightful Italian biscotti’s.  Mmmmm – Freo dining late on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
With the caffeine levels at an appropriate level and the bill paid up we headed for the indoor markets. Unfortunately it was a little late in the afternoon and the markets were starting to wind down. However, we did get to take in some of the ambience and the interesting things on offer. The Princess bought some “stocking fillers” for the Canadian family members that will be joining us next week in Australia.
The Sail and Anchor, an historic Freo pub, is located across the street from the markets and it offers some lovely boutique beers and a great pub environment. So, after the markets closed, we ventured across to “The Sai”l and sampled a beer. The Princess is not too partial to beer so she settled on a Chambord martini while I ordered a local pale ale. Keeping the theme of outdoor dining going, we sat out on the beautiful old first floor balcony and sucked in the atmosphere of the late Saturday afternoon crowd and street noise below.
With the threat of a parking meter attendant writing us a ticket we left “The Sail” and walked back to the car and continued our tour on four wheels. I showed The Princess a little more of the historic town of Freo in the dwindling light before heading north along the coastal highway back toward Perth. We were not particularly hungry however, as we drove through the beachside suburb of Cottesloe I asked The Princess if she wanted to eat some fish and chips on the beach by moonlight. Needless to say, it didn’t take too long for her to respond in the affirmative. We found a lovely little fish and chippery and purchased a piece of hake, two potato scallops and a very nice dim sim and headed across the road to the beach. Now there is something unique about eating a very tasty feed of fish and chips by moonlight on the beach with my Canadian wife. In short, it is a treat that one has to savor.

After dinner we rolled up our shorts and walked along the water’s edge. The waves were rolling in and we delighted in getting wet in the Indian Ocean water. The beach was lit by floodlights and the seagulls were flying at low level to stay in the light. It was an interesting sight to see gulls flying at night – white darts in the inking blackness. We collected quite a bit of sand on our legs from the walk on the beach so we made use of the beach showers to get rid of the remnants of soft sand before returning to the car.

One of the wonderful things about Perth is the proximity of the beaches to the city so it wasn’t too long before we were pulling into the driveway of our apartment building. The day of activity and dining meant that we were ready for a quiet night back in the apartment and an early night – I plan to be up early tomorrow for a run along the foreshore.

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