Friday, October 30, 2009
Published by Rod
The last week’s Sunday it was Sydney’s Seven Bridges Walk; A city event and perfect opportunity for us to walk around the city and get to meet something else.
I may have not said it properly in the blog, but I have been in Sydney’s CBD just a couple of times before this walk, even though I am going to have two months in Australia. The reason of this lack of visits to Sydney’s CBD is due to we came down under short of money and we cannot afford to spend our money as we were tourists.
Anyway, Kathy was looking on the Internet the city event planning and bumped into the seven bridges walk website (Sydney Events Calendar). This event’s idea is to walk around to city, getting to know something else than just the Sydney‘s regular attractions, gathering the bridges stamps, starting and finishing in your nearest point and walking a closed track of 25 kilometres length. As we are living in Hornsby, our nearest point was maybe Lane Cove Village, but we decided it would be better to start near our beloved Sydney’s Opera House, so our starting point was moved to The Rocks.
And so, the Saturday before the event, we went to our closest Chinese market (in other post I will explain the pros and cons of those markets) to get to waterproof ponchos (just in case it started to rain during the walking) and get some bread at woollies in order to make sandwiches and maybe an apple or two for the journey.
Sunday morning it was truly a sun-day, because at very early hours in the morning the sun came up soon, shining and heating without mercy, but something fishy was in the air... I had read in the Sydney Morning Herald that rain was predicted during the day... So we packed our waterproof ponchos, water bottle, apples and sandwiches and marched to gather with our mates at the Hornsby train station heading to Circular Quay station (the nearest train station to The Rocks). Once in Circular Quay we noticed the Opera House was opened for free visit during that day... Was I already told you guys, we were not wasting our money, so decided to give it a shot and visit the Opera House, but 30 minutes later and 25K ahead of us we knew we needed to start walking; back to the walking at the rocks we picked our passports, take a picture or two and marched to the Pyrmont bridge (our first bridge from The Rocks).
Oh! Almost forgot to show you a funny thing, a techno-aborigine... He he, in our way to The Rocks an Australian aborigine was peacefully playing his didgeridoo in the floor at the beats of a techno music. Pretty cool beats!
Quick note: The first thing to notice when you have the map is you don’t really need it unless you are lost. Every block, turn or redirection is marked with sign related to the event. So you better concentrate in the signs and check your map just to find out how much you have walked and how many is pending.
Pyrmont Bridge gave us a nice surprise, rowing race, as well as rain. But we wanted to finish this event no matter what cost, Kathy and I pulled out our ponchos but our mates didn’t had anything to get covered with, so we walked to a couple of stores just to find, those ponchos are sold in very few places; but raining or not, we wanted to keep walking (not trademarks or slogans were use) and marched to the Pyrmont village to get our stamps in our passport. At that point we noticed our passports (with very few water drops on them) started to suffer some heavy damage due to the water and storage place (my pants’ pocket)... but what the bloody hell, with or without passport we were going to finish the walk (still 6 bridges ahead, no biggy). Put the passports back to my pocket and headed to Anzac Bridge.
The Anzac Bridge showed its silhouette 15 minutes later; is a beautiful and modern cable-stayed bridge. This one was Kathy’s favourite so she took her camera out and starts shooting every aspect of the bridge.
As we kept walking, the rain kept falling hard upon us, but every step near another bridge seemed to fade away the water so we could take a couple of pictures and continue with our journey. That way we went through Iron Cove Bridge (an art-deco ugly bridge with a nice view of the vicinity), Gladesville Bridge and Tarban Creek Bridge (bow concrete ribbed modern bridges with awesome view of Sydney’s vicinity with an outstanding Harbour Bridge perspective at the background) and Fig Tree Bridge. Was at the Fig Tree Bridge were we count those bridges left behind and realised there was one to go... Only the Harbour Bridge was pending for us to walk upon his concrete and iron structure. We took the map out just to find a horrible truth: we were 12 kilometres away from the Harbour Bridge and almost every bridge of this event is included into the very first (our very first) 13 kilometres of walk... But how hard could it be? 13 kilometres went by without any issue... So let’s keep moving forward! (again, no trademarks used)
The thing with this part of the track is, gets very into a residency area with hills and slopes with up to 45 degrees; maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but after almost 3 hours walking in cold rain and those slopes our legs muscles were making our way harder to complete, but we marched on through Lane Cove up to North Sydney. I got to tell you, my left knee was killing me more than anything else because of lesions I had suffered when kid, but I didn’t want to slip this away. Once in Milson Point (about to start the Harbour Bridge) the pain was almost unbearable; the knee was making me squizzed my teeth against each other but at last I was in the Harbour Bridge.
When you start reading about Sydney, the first thing to pop out is the Sydney’s Opera House and the second is the Harbour Bridge. To be honest, I didn’t find anything special about this bridge except it was big, but as the time goes by and you keep readying about your future place to live you start to develop some empathy with its things and a caring sensation grows within. Near the concrete pylons making the Bridge to stand as is, your heart starts pumping and adrenaline flows through your veins. Is something magical that makes you admire the structure and fully understand why this bridge is so important for Sydneysiders. Every step in the bridge was painful but at the same time made me wonder about its construction and how perfect it seems to be. Kathy was mesmerised with the Opera House view and very 20 metres stoped to take another picture of those five hundreds we already possess. At the end of the bridge there was what we believed to be our last stamped. A lady asked us very kindly, “Is this your last bridge, right?” after nodding due to be breathless she told us “you got to hurry up, in order to complete the walk you got to return to your starting village so they can stamp in your passport the walk completed stamp, and it is almost about time to pack everything... Without that stamp your walk would be pointless so hurry!”
All of the sudden, my knee started killing me badly, but my wife and Joe (our only mate to complete the walk with us) cheer me up to walk 3 more blocks to get the final stamp. We saw the village and a peaceful sensation embrace us; we finished our walk at the rocks having these glorious red stamps in our passports. Maybe isn’t something big to finish a 25 kilometres walk, but for us (that we never had participate in these kind of events before) tasted as having completed the Australian Iron Man.
Back to home, the body started complaining about everything done during the day... Due to almost 5 hours of cold raining I was having hypothermia and Kathy had terrible back pains the following days. But even as painful, as hard and exhausting it was... Get to know your city and complete this event is something great and worth it to be done again, in many cases the view will be enough to mitigate exhaustion.
As we walked, we noticed the experienced one among the group. People don’t tend to give for granted weather conditions, thus bring with you something to take cover. Umbrellas don’t work well.
To protect your passport bring something waterproof. Plastic bags don’t work. Maybe a plastic folder would work well.
As you will be burning out your energy reserves during the day, is great practice you have a high energy breakfast (high energy cereal with milk, sugar, pancakes, etc) but you will need to keep it light as you keep walking. Fruits will do it for lunch and maybe snacks, but right after finishing the walk a hot chocolate (or just a chocolate candy bar) will replenish the energy shortage you might be suffering. If the weather is cold and you have low energy reserves is highly probable you will suffer some kind of hypothermia as I did. Believe me, isn’t pleasant.
Hope you enjoy the pictures and the story.
Cya soon mates.