The Happy Walk - Sydney Coast Happy Walk Pt6

Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 20:52


Day 5 Thursday 8th March The Rocks to Manly

As I packed my bag I didn't bother trying to be quiet nor did I make any attempt to close the door gently on my way out. Enjoying a little rebellion I literally bounced down to the kitchen, ate breakfast and filled up my water bladders before leaving at 5.45am to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge in pouring rain.

Rounding the corner to the bridge stairs I was confronted by a bizarre scene. Runners and boxers were working out, racing up the stairs, sparring with each other, skipping ropes and all so bright and alert at such an early hour in the rain. It certainly helped to lift my spirit. The same thing was happening under the other side of the bridge too. The sound of everyone encouraging each other as they exercised was a huge boost, their positive energy was so strong it reached me and I carried on through the rain.

It was an odd morning. All that positive energy just kept flowing. People in suites carrying umbrellas in torrential rain were smiling and saying "Good Morning!" as we passed. The rain came down so heavy it stung my skin through my jacket but I still had a smile plastered to my face. I walked through the middle of an electrical storm with hundreds of people heading off to work, sprayed from head to foot by every bus and truck that drove by, even waded through a flash flood at The Spit. It was chaotic.

Originally I had planned to walk around all the harbour front reserves and parks like Cremorne Point, Bradley's Head, Chowder Bay and Grotto Point but changed plans with the wild weather and walked the most direct route to Manly. I set a good pace all morning and arrived at 10am.

When I arrived in Manly I reached into my pocket for the street map and pulled out a clump of wet papier mache. My jacket isn't typhoon proof. I called the backpackers and asked for directions to the hostel which was "Walk down the main road until you get to the beach then turn left and about 500m along you'll see us." I walked down the main road which didn't seem to come out at a beach but ran parallel with it. When I reached the end I turned left and kept walking but found no hostel. After another couple of kilometres and a few beaches further up the coast I decided I must have been given bad directions and walked all the way back to Manly and started again but took the other, slightly narrower and less busy main road and found what I was looking for.

The reception desk was shut with a note "Back in 10 minutes" stuck to the grill. I took off my dripping jacket and watched as a pool of water slowly formed around my feet and under my backpack. Good thing it wasn't a carpeted foyer. The young man who earlier gave me the helpful directions returned and asked how he can help. I explained I had a booking in a female share dorm for the night but he gave one of those perplexed looks that make a tired and wet backpacker's heart sink. There was no record of my booking and no female bunks available but I could have the double room for $120. No deal!

Straight down to the ferry, back across to where I started at Sydney Harbour YHA where I managed to get one of the last 2 female bunks in a 4 bed dorm available that night. If I was just 1hour later I would have missed out. I checked in early and after a shower took a siesta. Later I went down to the kitchen for the Thursday night BBQ and had the $5 members special, veggie burger, salad, coleslaw and soft drink. Bargain!

I had been deprived of good reading material for over a week so I picked out a novel from the book swap to borrow just for the night, The Understudy by David Nicholls, and read half of it in only 3 hours. I feasted on the words, the plot and 'laugh out loud' humour. It was a shame to put it down and sleep.

Have you seen my marbles?
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