Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fremantle Doctors

It has been a big week.  We knew it was going to be, and planned for it, and everything has gone to plan, but it is still one of those big weeks I'll never forget and hope to never repeat.

My partner spent five nights up in Fremantle.  I stayed there the first night too then travelled up and back to visit him every day via the least-scenic coastal route imaginable.  One day I'll make that hour-long journey slowly and stop and photograph the many interesting sights on the way but in the meantime just trust me when I say that it is like a road-trip version of Robin Boyd's book The Australian Ugliness.  Here is a wee Worst of Perth-worthy taster (children and delicate flowers should not click on that link).

In case you are wondering how I managed to abandon home and children and spend so much time up in Fremantle, well that was possible because someone sent me another top-notch care package; my mother posted my sister over.

I was happily made redundant in my own home while my sister played nanny/house-keeper/cook and tootled around Mandurah in my new wheels.

Many times throughout those five days in Fremantle I would escape from the building my partner was in and head out into the world to hunt for food and get some exercise.  Then I would often encounter the wonderfully cooling and welcome afternoon breeze that wafts in from the sea most hot summer afternoons. It is known locally as the Fremantle Doctor, The Freo Doctor or just The Doctor.

Well we may get that gorgeous sea breeze in Mandurah too, but there are many, many other gorgeous things in Fremantle that we simply (and sadly) do not have in Mandurah.  If I'd had a tiny dog with me as I excitedly explored Fremantle I would have said "Tinydog, I've a feeling we're not in Mandurah anymore."

I found characterful old buildings, stunning new buildings and best of all given my taste, stunningly-recycled characterful old buildings.

I found seven museums, The (excellent) Fremantle Arts Centre,

plus numerous other art galleries and exhibitions. At every turn I met interesting people then in one case I trotted down the road and saw their work in a ridiculously up-my-alley exhibition (Beyond Garment).

But best of all given my extreme disappointment at the shopping situation in Mandurah, I found enticing shop after enticing shop.  I found op shop alley, one-off clothing boutiques, heavenly handmade emporiums, deliciously tempting designer wares and - following the napkin-drawn directions of the cool chick who shared my café table one lunch-time - a huge array of second-hand shops from retro to vintage to antique.

Add to that the fact that just wandering the streets is fun as the houses and gardens are so cool and eclectic.

Toss into the mix the fact that Fremantle has numerous excellent cafés and the best coffee I've had since I moved to Australia.  Imagine a big-flat-sunny-Lyttelton or a toasty-tidy-Newtown-on-Sea and if you know me you'll understand why I quickly fell deeply in love with Fremantle.

So while my partner had his health restored by a variety of Fremantle doctors, nurses and other amazing people, I had my spirit restored by fantastic Fremantle, aided on my way by the other Fremantle Doctor.  And to any friends planning to visit us here, rest assured that Sisters Shopping Tours are now well and truly back on the menu.


  1. Am so delighted that you speak so fondly of Fremantle. I am still trying to convince my family of the merits of life south of the river. Do you know of anywhere I can buy special glasses to let my husband see what I see?

  2. I need some of those glasses to make the driver stop on long road trips! Good luck selling Fremantle to your husband. If you do move there I will be seagreen with envy.