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Smoky morning

My morning view, 21 November.

You may have heard about the terrible bushfires in Australia. Sydney itself is in no danger, but we do get smoke from fires when the wind is right (wrong?). A large, intense fire in an area about 150km (90 miles) northwest of Sydney, called Gospers Mountain, brought us much smoke recently. I live in the east of the city, about as far from that fire as you can get before encountering the ocean, yet the smoke was bad for me too. The air quality in Sydney on days such as this is rated ‘hazardous’. Just imagine how awful it is for people so much closer.

Below, for contrast, is what I see on a normal morning. And if you’re wondering — no, I did not walk to work on 21 November.

My morning view, 27 November.

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The Walk to Work

No, this is not where I live! But I do pass this grand Victorian residence, protecting its privacy behind exuberant growth, and try to imagine a life that includes living in something like that.

In August I moved from ocean-side Bondi Beach to harbour-side Double Bay (both Sydney suburbs), which has brought me closer to where I work — so close (4km) that I can walk it in 55 minutes, door to door.

These magnificent jacarandas dominate this curve in the road.

It’s a very up and down route, and Google Maps has a nifty feature that shows just how much.

Up and down and up and down …

This church (St Mark’s, built 1848 to 1880) sits at the highest spot on the map above, just after “home”. With no tall buildings, there must have been vast views when it was built — but on the other hand, there wasn’t much to look at in 1880s’ Sydney!

I always pause here and marvel that so many people have this view. The horizon looks murky due to smoke from bush fires.

Time to head down from the lofty heights of the church to almost sea level. This road is, fittingly, called Loftus Road. I first encountered it walking home from work so had to slog UP it — after that, I changed the route home. 😉

Down, down, down. Hard on the knees.

Not only jacarandas are in bloom now — so is jasmine, and it’s everywhere. The scent hangs on the air.

Of course, there’s more to life than jasmine!

Red bougainvillea against a white wall.

At the bottom of the “hill from hell” sits Rushcutters Bay and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. The CYC was established in 1944 and hosts the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race that begins on Boxing Day (26 December).

This is the expansive park beside Rushcutters Bay. At this time of the day, it’s full of joggers, walkers, exercise groups, and dogs (though it looks empty in this shot!). See that tower (like a yellow blob on a stick) on the horizon? That’s two blocks from my destination.

A lovely cafe, but no time to stop. (Sorry Jo, no cake on this walk!)

The Beast of Bodmin Moor? The Hound of the Baskervilles? No, just an elderly Newfoundland dog with his summer haircut. I see him most days.

Anyone for cricket?

I almost didn’t include this photo, as it’s hardly attractive. But it’s part of the walk, and the start of the long uphill stretch to King’s Cross.

Still heading up, but beside a more attractive street. This area is King’s Cross.

This pavement sign is hard to read even when you’re standing beside it. The whole text says “August 1929 Kellett St | Riot | Sly Grog Traders | Kate Leigh vs Tilly Devine | Rival Gangs in Violent Stoush | Razors Guns Bottles Stones | Wounded Do Not Identify Attackers to Police”. (Read about these two fascinating (if scary!) women.)

King’s Cross is gentrifying these days, but it still has its areas of sleaze, crime and violence.

The heart of “The Cross”.

I don’t like this alley (I usually have to flatten myself against the wall as cars go past) but it’s convenient.

I don’t know if this street is officially in King’s Cross or Woolloomooloo, but its character is very different to the streets where the walk starts and ends.

Now we’re definitely in Woolloomooloo — the signs say so! Originally home to dock workers, the area still has an air of non-prosperity despite being only 1.5km from the Sydney Central Business District.

More of those jacarandas. I can’t help smiling at such shameless flamboyance as I walk under the gentle drift of petals. And there’s that tower again …

You can see more photos of the jacarandas of Woolloomooloo here.

Yet more jasmine!

If you’ve read any of my other walk posts, you’ll know I hate stairs. However, this being the city not the bush, there’s a lift here too. 🙂 The stairs/lift take you up to a walkway over six lanes of busy commuter traffic.

The tower is visible again, closer now! And that’s the train I catch when I don’t walk. From the angle of the colourful wall, you can tell I’m going up, again.

Past the art gallery.

Another appealing cafe to march straight past.

This is The Domain, where you could graze your animals back when that was a thing.

Through the grounds of Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital.

Stepping through the gates beside the hospital, you leave the world of the suburbs behind.

At the top of Martin Place. It’s all downhill from here!

I often top up my travel card and buy my (losing) lottery tickets at this little kiosk.

Past the cenotaph.

Trams are running on George St — at last! Still in ‘testing’, but at least the years of wretched construction are over. This tram is just about in front of my office building.

Last glimpse of that tower, from in front of my building.

And here’s the end of the walk, in the lobby of my building.

I hope you managed with all these photos! It’s a varied walk and I wanted to capture the different areas along the way.

Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walks.


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Poppies

This display appeared on Remembrance Day last year on George St in Sydney, at the junction with Martin Place (where the cenotaph is). George St has been closed to traffic for what seems like forever but is probably 2 or 3 years, for the installation of tram infrastructure (you can make out the tracks in the photos). I thought the display was extremely effective.

The poppies were very tall — compare them to the pedestrians above!

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The miraculous disappearance of the tourists

I have never seen so much empty space here.

Last Sunday afternoon, the heavens opened and the rain came down — much needed rain, actually. It came as quite a surprise to the hundreds of tourists in the vicinity of the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay. Five minutes before I took this photo, you could not have seen 10 feet in front of you, let alone all the way to end. Everyone is cowering behind those columns to the left, jammed together as tightly as pencils as in a box. I did feel rather smug with my showerproof jacket and umbrella. Walking along this east side of Circular Quay is usually immensely frustrating, trying to dodge and weave around strollers and families and tour groups; for once, though, I could walk at will!


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Arcs of light

A display at Vivid 2019, Sydney

Definition of arc: a continuous portion (as of a circle or ellipse) of a curved line (says the Merriam-Webster dictionary)

Notice the arcs of light get larger as you move along the circles. This light sculpture is called Circa and was in the botanic gardens during the Vivid light festival this year.

This is my final post for October Squares Lines&Squares. Thanks once more to Becky for her tireless enthusiasm in hosting the Square challenges! I had a lot of fun trying to find creative interpretations of “line”. 🙂

A month of squares in retrospect: