When I found out that my next suburb was Galston, I though it would be far. And it is a good distance, heading north west, from Sydney. But I didn’t know that. The reason for that thought was that it sounded like Gladstone; a town in Central Queensland way too far from me.
This is definitely another world. I sit outside a hot-food place (I am not eating…) and I inspect my surroundings, listen to the people around me and it is definitely different from what I see and hear outside my office every day.
I know another suburb that is even farther than this one. However, they have their own little city going on. Galston, on the contrary, seems more like a little town within a big city,
I walk around the village and visit a couple of shops looking for a book someone recommended. I can’t find it. I will have to wait until the airport.
Mansions. Estates. These are the words that come to mind when I see the places around here. Money. And plently of it.
They do not look very Australian though. Some are Swiss chalets, some Hamptons estates. I daydream about a holiday house full of animals; mainly dogs (I am obsessed with dogs) and horses.
However, I feel uneasy. I think, being so far away, on my own, in such a deserted place, makes me wonder. I do not think it is a dangerous place. It is more the “What ifs…?”. Even my faithful GPS is lost today.
This is different. For once, the city centre is a park. In this case, Cabarita Park. And I like it.
I sit in front of the beach. Oh yes, this place has a little beach and it is so nice and peaceful here. I do not know what is on the other side but it is nice to see the houses and boats. A Fantasea boat sails pass me and it is a reminder that the tourist season is in full swing. They are taken around the bays and harbours of Sydney. On this beautiful day, that is a great idea.
The crickets are going crazy with the heat; their singing is syncronized and very loud.
Groups of people here and there; young, friends, families. Playing ball, having picnics or BBQs. Since I don not carry food around or cook, I head to the cafe. The breeze is beautiful and I enjoy seeing the people sailing.
A dingy. Two people; a man and a woman. They dock and the woman get off. The man takes off. In summary, he just gave her a “lift” to this side of the shore. What a way to move around!
Seagulls probably live by the say “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them”. Always going around in a flock, always fighting with each other for food.
I have a confession to make. I am very leazy today and did not feel like leaving the house and walk around. But now, here, I see this old-looking building and the laziness is left well behind. It is surrounded by new buildings, therefore it stands out. I love old buildings. Not that I would live in one. Just the thought of possible ghosts is enough to freak me out. Do they exist? I do not know. And I do not want to find out.
The old-looking building is a house so there is no much I can see. But I discover that this area of Cabarita is amazing, and in my books, here is where I want to live. So, I may be back…to stay.
It is Saturday, 8:30 a.m. and I am out of the house. Hell, I am out of my bed! I am not a morning person any day, specially weekends but I love what I do. Now, where is the coffee?
I am not sure I am in Acacia Gardens anymore. I kept driving until I could see “something” more than just houses and a water tower. I drove, and drove, and drove. What do people do around here? Drive all the way to the city? Maybe Parramatta?
What do you tell your family and friends about your visit to this place? Not much, I think. Where is the exciment? So many questions, not much to tell. One thing is for sure; it makes me appreciate where I live even more.
I have two words for Acacia Gardens: Bye, bye!
I feel overdressed. I am wearing jeans on this bright, sunny, 21C day. My legs do not feel the heat. But my head does; I have a headache.
The first thing I notice about Balgowlah are the hils. From afar I can see the roads going up and down framed by tall and imponent palm trees.
As I start making my way around the area, a tower emerges above all the houses. It is topped by a cross. I soon discover it is an anglican church.
I look for a cafe – as usual – so I can write and have a coffee with my painkiller. They have a patio and I decide to sit there. I love that it is just me and it is quite and fresh. There is a back door that goes to the street. It reminds me of stories with secret doors that take you to magical worlds. I am tempted to sneak out and discover what is behind but I have to pay at the front so it is not appropriate. From the patio I see another tower, another church. This has the very distinctive green of old copper.
I find out that behind the mysterious door are a charity shop and a uniting church. I go into the shop whish is quite big. I look around, laugh at some funny photos they have on a wall at the back and on my way out pick up a flyer about volunteering – on a parti-time basis – at one of their shops. I may think about it.
Further down the road, there is a little shopping centre. I go in because – like the old cliche – I am drawn to malls like bees to honey. I buy a book and it makes me feel smarter than, let’s say, buying shoes.
For the last time I admire the 1960’s style of the houses around the area. I am not an architect and I wasn’t even born before or during that time but I watch tv, and movies, and read magazines so I think I know how they look. In fact, when I was born, we lived in a house built in the 60’s…or or was it in the 70’s?
I don’t know if this is cute or sad, but it definitely is different when the “city centre” of a place is 4-5 shops on one side of the road. Oh, Sydney! I love thee…but you have to give me a little bit more action here.
I go into a pizza bar. No surprise there that I am eating. Marinara pizza made the way it should. Thin, crispy, full of garlic and oregano. I was in a rush, I even burnt my palate.
I eat half the pizza and take the rest with me. I leave the half pizza in my car and decide to go for a walk. During my walk I notice that the local pharmacy closes at 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and doesn’t open on Sundays. So, does that mean that people can’t get sick half of the weekend? You find the usual suspects; a mini-market, a hairdresser, a cafe.
It is so quite that I can hear my own shoes stepping on the concrete. The architecture of most houses tells me this is an old suburb. I see a man painting the exterior of a house. I look carefully at what colour he has on his brush. Most of the house is mint green and just a tiny corner is grey. The brush has grey. Good luck, he has a whole house to paint ahead of him. He is not the only one though as I see many houses around that are being painted or fixed.
I keep walking and suddenly I see the exact moment when a palm tree branch breaks and lands on a roof. A lady that is walking pass jumps at the noise. The branch stands vertical on the roof. I get my phone from my bag to take a picture but instead read the message my sister sent me and reply. The branch falls off the roof to the ground and I miss the photo. Note to myself: Snap away, my sister can wait!
I see I am reaching the spot where I parked my car and then see a black cat walking into a front yard. When I get to that house, I look for the cat. When I call him out, he turns around scared, stares at me and runs away. I just smile.
You must be kidding! I am in the city centre of Badgerys Creek – according to my GPS -. In reality, I am in the middle of nowhere. I have company though, cows and I can hear them mooing. I can’t believe this is considered a Sydney suburb. I drove for an hour and this is more like a country town.
I drive eight more kilometres to a winery. I don’t drink but they have a restaurant and food is exactly what I need right now. But there is no restaurant in sight: ony a wine shop and train rides for kids. I am not happy. In fact, I am “hangry”.
Travel writers the world over may stone me for this – plus Badgerys Creek’s residents, of course – but I think coming was ind of a waste of my time. Although if I stick to my own words, I have to say that I have now an “educated” opinion when it comes to this place; I can tell first-hand if I like it or not instead of taking someone else’s opinion as a fact.
I am ready to go home – so soon – and I hope I will find some food closeby. Suddenly I see a sign that says “Hubertus Country Club” (Fancy!) and after making sure they take visitors, I drive in. Well, it feels like I am in a trip within another trip. I am not in Badgerys Creek anymore – literally -. I am now in a nearby suburb/town but inside this restaurant in the country club, I am transported to Germany. And Austria, Switzerland and Hugary. The menu, the signs, some of the customers, all is German. Deutschland rettet den Tag!