Cockle Bay

I spent a couple of nights in the Pyrmont area of Sydney, and headed out to take in the harbour area early in the morning. On my way to a cafe to grab some breakfast, I crossed the Pyrmont bridge, to be greeted by a steady stream of joggers and cyclists. It was something I noticed every day – Australia gave me the impression of being an active nation.

Cockle Bay has a monorail that loops the area, and has great views of the city.

The National Maritime Museum is also close by.

There’s lots of fountains in the area.

And parks being built.

And street art being drawn.

Manly on a Sunday

I got to spend a couple of nights with some very nice people who were friends of our friends. Luckily for me, they lived in Manly, and on Sunday I headed out early to take in the beach.

This was winter, and it was T-shirt and shorts weather. When I got to the beach front, it was a hive of relaxed activity. The surf shops were open, and there were plenty of surfers riding the waves.

Surfboards at Manly Beach

The less active folk were having breakfast and getting coffee from the cafes. This one looked particularly popular, and as I queued for a flat white, I got chatting to the guy in front. In turns out that he went to the University of Edinburgh to do his PhD 40 years ago, and I work there, so we traded stories about the city and Scottish weather while we waited.

Getting coffee at Manly beach

I was impressed by the large number of joggers that were out. The lifestyle seemed quite fitness oriented – but maybe that’s the weather again. Who would want to stay indoors when it’s this good? There were water fountains all along the beach for the athletically inclined.

Manly beach water fountain

Mind you – those Aussies like their meat!

Manly beach - Ribs and Rumps

Volleyball was very popular. There were public nets set up all along the beach.

Manly beach volleyball

Manly beach volleyball

Despite all the activity, there were plenty of people and their four-legged friends taking in the views.

Manly beach

And of course, no Australian beach would be complete without surfers…

Manley beach surfer

Manley beach

2012 – Sydney, here we come!

I haven’t been making photographs or posting as much as I’d like to recently. That’s because we’ve been preparing for a huge change in our lives.

After several 5 a.m. Skype interviews, I have got a job in Sydney, doing something I enjoy.

What a change it will be. We are currently living in Scotland, leaving for work in the dark, coming home in the dark, and doing our best to keep out of the freezing rain and gale force winds. Much as I love my current job, and Scotland, we will definitely not miss the winters.

The process started long ago. I’ve always been interested in Australia, as long as I can remember. The unique flora and fauna, home of one of the oldest cultures, the incredible landscapes and space. By coincidence (really!), my wonderful wife is Australian, and after jumping through lots of hoops (actually, far less than I had feared) to get my visa, off we go. Much of our determination to emigrate comes from wanting our son to be able to experience as many interesting things as possible. He got his first camera for Christmas, and is very excited by it, so I am looking forward to us exploring the country together and photographing as we go.

I went over to Sydney last year to do a bit of scouting for work, and although I was only there for a few days, I was captivated by the harbour.

I stayed with some friends of friends in Manly, which is on the northern shore. The ferry runs from here, all around the harbour, and to the Central Business District. Possibly the best commute in the world?

A bit of trivia for you – the bridge was Middlesbrough, England, my adopted home town.

As the ferry docks at Circular Quay, one of the world’s most iconic buildings can be seen. I spent most of the next day there. Every angle revealed a new and dramatic view of the building. I fell in love with it.

You can catch a passenger ferry that takes you all round the harbour area. It’s an incredible way to take it all in.

I can’t wait to get back.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.