Waking up today felt especially weird - not only because I was in a foreign country, but because it marked what is probably the first “normal” weekend I’ve had since I was sixteen. I’ve worked as a waitress since I was old enough to be employable, and when I wasn’t waitressing I was either in school or had time off only to go to a specific event. I have had maybe a handful of weekends to myself to do whatever I pleased since my teenager years.
I knew another brunch was in order, and I pulled up some locations I’d saved on my map. Henry Lee’s seemed to fit the bill, and I hurried Tyler along as I had read most Sydney brunch spots will form long queues the later it gets. We walked along in the blazing sun, agreeing to stop at a pharmacy on the way home for SPF.
Henry Lee’s was tucked away in a small residential strip, the courtyard open with natural light streaming in. There was only one or two other tables sat at the time, and I realized I may have unnecessarily pressed our early arrival. We sat at a table for two near the front, and started to peruse a menu, which seemed nearly impossible to choose from. We eventually settled on a pork belly benedict and crab stuffed croissant with poached eggs and mango. To round the meal out we also shared a honeycomb affogato, which was almost too pretty to drink. Everything was absolutely phenomenal, and I know a trip back is in our very near future (especially as I saw they have on a special TIM TAM STYLE iced chocolate).
Stuffed to the brim, we headed towards home and changed into more comfortable/athletic clothing. We hopped on the train to Central Station and then onto a bus towards Coogee Beach. I was shocked at how packed full the sand and park were with people lying out tanning, until I remembered that it’s technically summer here and everyone’s making the most of the season.
We started off on the coast walk, technically running it backwards as it’s often listed as a hike from Bondi to Coogee. We’d decided we wanted to relax at Bondi after, as it’s one of the most famous Australian beaches. It took us about two hours to walk the winding path along the coast, which is paved nearly the whole way with a few sections of stairs. It was a perfect way to see the coast firsthand for the first time, even if it was the hottest I think I’ve ever felt. Everytime we rounded a corner it took my breath away, and I stopped to take a photo or video. I hadn’t brought my “actual” camera, as I knew we’d be going swimming after and I’d be leaving my things on the beach, but a second walk will have to happen soon to take even more photos.
Once we reached Bondi we switched into bathing suits and ran down to the shore. Given how warm it is out I was expecting temperate waters, but I was shocked at how icy the ocean was. It was comparable to Cape Cod waters in the summer; I’d guess about 70 degrees. We dove in anyways, happy to feel the coolness against our skin after our time in the sun. I’ve always loved the ocean, and it felt wonderful to be swimming once again.
After sitting on the beach and attempting to drip-dry in the humid air, we threw our clothes back on over our suits and searched for the bus stop. I was confused to see only a few others waiting on the bench, as I could have sworn flocks of people seemed to be leaving the beach at the same time. We got onto the M333, and even snagged a seat together. The bus lurched forward, drove about twenty feet, rounded a corner, and stopped in front of a mass of beachgoers looking to head home as well. Not yet comfortable with our sense of direction, Tyler and I had stumbled upon an additional bus stop rather than the “correct” and more populated one. Lucky us.
Before we knew it we were home and tucking into some pasta. After a long day of walking and swimming and a big dinner, I went to bed hoping that maybe, just maybe, tonight I would finally stay asleep until morning.