Shopping local and falling off bicycles

During a meandering bike ride through the narrow back streets in Fremantle, to my delight I discovered our new house is a less-than-ten-minute bike ride to Galati & Sons.

My dad owned a fruit & veg shop so I have high expectations. For years I’ve been bereft – yes, that’s right, bereft – of a local, actual fruit & veg shop (as opposed to a supermarket which has a fruit & veg section) which sells well-priced, excellent quality, fresh foods.

Note: I know I could grow stuff myself, but I’m much better at being a customer of fresh food than a creator. I like to work to my strengths.

Thankfully I am bereft no more.
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Galati’s sells more than just fruit & veg – they’ve got pasta, nuts, cheeses, coffee, salami and other associated delicious deli meats, olives, dried fruits. It is a gastronomical heaven.

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Look at me, I thought as I rode my bike home with my backpack full of produce, I’m being friendly to the environment and my body, and I’m shopping local. I am awesome.

Then I nearly fell off because the hill was steep.

That aside, I will continue to ride my bike and shop local….and one day I will overcome that hill.

It kinda sorta reminds me of France

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It’s a cold nearly-winter day in Perth.

This morning in addition to requiring caffeine, I required Feeling Like I Look Fabulous (because sometimes the best mood-enhancer – aside from coffee – is wearing The Right Outfit).

The definition of ‘the right outfit’ varies depending on my mood. It’s not an exact science; the jumble of clothes on my bedroom floor this morning is evidence of this. I ended up deciding to wear clothes I bought in Paris a few years ago…side note: every time I say a sentence involving the words ‘clothes I bought in Paris’, I fulfil one of my teenage dreams. It never gets old.

I digress.

This morning I had coffee at Ogilvie’s in Subiaco.

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Its rustic, old school decor makes me feel like I’m hanging out in an old farmhouse kitchen.

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It reminds me of a few cafes we came across in France so it seemed appropriate – while wearing my awesome French clothes – to get my Saturday caffeine and writing fix here.

Any caffeine-related Favourite Place needs a good vibe and excellent coffee. Ogilvie’s has both.

I’m feeling warm and pretty, and I’m drinking good coffee.

The world is as it should be.

No post-holiday blues…

Returning home from holidays is something I’m not usually good at.

The foot-stamping and hair-flicking tantrums at which I excelled in my teens returns (albeit slightly toned down), and I am prone to bouts of ‘It’s not fair. Why can’t holidays last forever?’. Melodrama is a hard habit to kick.

Today I realised living so close to Fremantle has taken the edge off the returning home angst.

This afternoon we had a brief outing to Theobroma and the Freo Markets.

At Theobromoa the coffee and chocolate is always smooth.

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The Freo Markets have fresh meats, fruit, vegetables & freshly made meals (from pies to paella, bhaji to bagels, haggis to hash browns), souvenirs, clothes, shoes, artwork, buskers…it always leaves me in a happy place.

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Freo is perfect antidote to the oh-that’s-right-the-holiday-is-over whining.

Our outing today was a well-timed reminder that some of my Most Favourite Places are just around the corner.

To resort, or not resort?…

When we travel we like to explore and meander and wander. We’re not guided tour types, and we’ve never been resort holiday types. We’re more the plan-our-own-itinerary-drive-ourselves-or-catch-buses-or-trains-stay-in-apartments/B’n’Bs/holiday home/campsites types.

Having not done the resort thing before, it didn’t occur to me there would be additional costs outside of ‘half board’ breakfast & dinner package. I have a vague recollection of being told there were, but I think the information kind of vapourised in my brain before it had a chance to register.

(Once I’ve made a decision and booked something, I pay no attention to the detail. Probably I need to pay more attention in future).

My surprise at additional costs aside, the Intercontinental Mauritius has been delightful. The quality of the facilities, food, service, views, and staff is exceptional.

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If a person was inclined they could spend their entire holiday within the gates of a resort.

We haven’t, because that’s not how we roll.

Today we explored Trou Aux Biches and Grand Baie:

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I’d never understood the appeal of the beach recliner/umbrella thing. They don’t exist on most Australian beaches and I’d always written them off as unnecessary.

I was wrong. They are awesome.

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We enjoyed more creative driving and interesting roads:
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Tomorrow we fly home and yet I feel like there’s more of Mauritius to taste.

Maybe this was just the entree…

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We’ll come back again to savour more flavours.

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From a holiday house or apartment….

Websites and folk I found useful – and you might too if ever you’re thinking of traveling to Mauritius (I’m not paid to promote these, I simply liked ’em so thought I’d share the love):
http://www.discovermauritiusisland.com/
http://www.tourism-mauritius.mu/
http://www.mauritius-islander.com/

http://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/balaclava/mruma/hoteldetail
http://bonaventure.com.au/

Snorkelling and sugary delights

Yesterday’s mission – which was a resounding success – was to snorkel, so we ventured out for another meander.

We do ‘meander’ exceedingly well.

Our drive to Pereybere Beach took us through sugar cane fields, tourist towns with opulent beach-front villas, and narrow country streets. Along the motorway it’s about 20 minutes; the roads we took made the journey twice as long (and twice the pleasure).

The beach was as perfect as the reviews online said it would be:

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As the self-proclaimed ‘bag watcher’, I reclined gracefully (ish) on the towel while my husband and son enjoyed the delights of the bay. The beach was relatively quiet, and the beach hawkers respectful and polite when their offers to sell sarongs were declined.

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After we left the beach we followed the SatNav’s directions to what became a dead end. It was an adventurous ramble through increasingly narrow and rocky streets until we did a u-turn and found our way back to the highway.

A stop on the way home at L’aventure du Sucre where Mark tasted the locally produced, potent – and, he tells me, delicious – rum:
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And Kobi and I experienced the delight that is molasses:
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It’s a whole new world of delicious.

The Best Bed in the World…

During the one hour drive from Mauritius’ Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport to our resort, we learned the following things:
Motorcycle drivers in Mauritius are….adventurous;
Headlights appear to be optional;
Lanes are more of a guideline than a rule.

We arrived at the resort slightly bedraggled and very hungry. We were greeted warmly by the staff at the Intercontinental , sat down in the magnificent lobby, offered free cocktails while they checked us in and arranged our dinner.

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I’d been looking forward to my first glass of wine in Mauritius all week and it didn’t disappoint.

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I’m yet to try the bath but it’s almost big enough to swim in (this photo doesn’t really capture the size of this thing; it’s about seven feet long):
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For me though it was all about the bed. The Best. Bed. In the World.
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…and now we’re all clean and rested, today we begin exploring…