Trains, Perth and Fremantle.

Road Trip Day 24: 15th June 2007

The one thing I wanted to do whilst visiting Perth was spend a day on my own, riding the train to visit the Perth CBD and Fremantle. Today was that day.

When I head out on my own I don't really do much except walk and observe. I enjoy walking and I like to get out and see how places have changed from when I was there last.

My morning started with a fairly long walk to the train station. On the way I passed through , what I imagine, is one of the largest Westfield Shopping Malls in the country. It's nearly big enough to have its own postcode. The Westfield was built before I left Perth. Apart from looking a little more lived in, it looked pretty much the same. Maybe a different shop here and there but that's about all.

I was a little worried that the trains ticketing system might be all different and I'd have to spend some time relearning it, however the basic system was unchanged. Put your money in a machine on the platform to buy your ticket. There is a new system called 'Smart Cards' which I guess are prepaid, multi trip tickets. On every station there is a reminder for you to 'tag on' and 'tag off' if you have one of these and gates have been built with the machines to do this placed as conveniently as possible.

Checking of tickets has become much tighter too. With gates having been installed across all exits at major stations so that guards can ensure you're not trying to fare evade. There's still a few ways you can get through the cracks. Traveling in off peak times they tend not to watch the exits and you can walk straight through unchecked.

My train arrived in the Perth CBD around 11am and I spent about an hour walking around. I was going to climb the Bell Tower on the foreshore of the Swan river but it was $10 to get in. I'd seen the museum inside the tower and the view from the top on an earlier trip so $10 for a quick look seemed a tad expensive.

Not a lot has changed in Perth. One very large building that used to be the home of the Myer shopping centre had been leveled to make way for Perth's new below ground railway station however it was early stages so really all you could see was the gap where the building used to be.

I reboarded the train and headed for the port city of Fremantle, a place I one day may choose to live should the opportunity arise. I like Fremantle because it is a very historical city with a great number of heritage buildings, plus it is by the beach. Whilst I'm not much of a swimmer I do like living right next to the coast where the sea disappears to the horizon. It has a feeling of possibility and opportunity about it that appeals to me.

Fremantle is very much a working port so you can see everything from cargo ships to ocean liners and naval ships coming and going. Heading out and disappearing over the horizon.

There is one particular spot in Fremantle that I always visit, a lookout located next to the Round House (an old convict prison). From here you can see out over the boat marina and the waders beach. It's a fantastic view at sunset and one that I once started to paint. You can observe so much activity. People doing all sorts of things. On this particular day I observed a girl taking photographs.

Not your usual holiday snaps. I first noticed her because she was fully dressed in jeans but wading up to just above her knees in the water on the beach below. Her camera was pointed straight down in such a way that she could only be taking a photo of the surface of the water and whatever could be seen below.

When she had done that she moved out onto the beach and started holding dried sea weed up to her lense and taking extreme close ups of that. I figured she had to be some kind of 'arty' type person.

She eventually made her way up to the look out where I was, taking some photos of the view before heading off. I last saw her when I left, laying flat out on the steps I had to use, taking photos of the ground. Strange but only at this look out are your chances of seeing this kind of odd activity greatly increased.

Fremantle hasn't changed a great deal. In my walking I went through the famous Fremantle Markets - busy as always - and the not so famous, E-Shed markets - not so busy as the stall holders would like. I was going to have some lunch at the E-Shed but all the outdoor tables were in full sunlight and I didn't particularly like the atmosphere in the indoor section of the food hall.

In the end, I boarded the train back to Perth CBD and had a late lunch in the Foodhall at the Carillion Centre. Nothing special just a roast meat roll with chips. During my meal a girl sat at a table directly opposite me. She was eating chips and gravy with a boost juice... I guess you'd call that a balanced meal, healthy and unhealthy!

That was pretty much my day. I caught the train home shortly after I'd eaten because by the time I got home it would be starting to get dark. Not exactly thrill a minute but it is nice to get out on your own sometimes.

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