A SPOT of cool sea air is just the tonic on a ridiculously humid March day and so it is that just under half an hour’s drive east of the CBD, we find the waterfront at Manly a world away from city streets.
There are yachts bobbing in the harbour, parkland, playgrounds, esplanade walks, cafes and, of course, the gentle waters of Moreton Bay lapping a sliver of sandy beach.
Seeing hundreds of yachts moored against a backdrop of palms briefly took me back to Spain’s Costa Blanca, but the big old fig tree shading the perfect spot to stop for coffee (or wine), is pure Brisbane.
What really caught my eye though, was two big shed-like structures which on closer inspection turned out to be boat storage racks. Big racks for big boats reaching up three storeys.
This part made me think of Amsterdam and the storage racks outside Central Station that are jam-packed with bicycles.
I’ve often wondered how, in that maze of metal, you would manage to find your bike and looking at the Manly boat storage, I wonder how you would manage to get a cruiser in and out of the top shelf.
Like the Amsterdam bikes, I think it’s worth a photo.
There’s also a cool, quite literally, walk along the esplanade around to the end of the sea wall where there’s quite a breeze blowing. Actually, it’s more of a gale.
There are plenty of fishermen trying their luck and a group of kids pull a big crab up in their nets.
Just off the esplanade is what has been the “main street” of the town and on seeing the name, Cambridge Parade, I remember that this was my address decades ago. I realize this is the first time I have seen the place since I left in the mid-‘70s.
It didn’t seem much then, but it has certainly moved upmarket now.
When I look for my old house, a Queenslander on stilts I find that, like its neighbours, it has been replaced by modern glass and stucco.
Manly now looks expensive and trendy – and very much like Spain.
All in all, it’s a pleasant day down by the bay.