Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Sorting through old photos on the computer recently, I came across some pictures of our Seattle trip back in August 2018 (see here and here for the previous posts about the rest of the trip in Canada and Alaska).

At the end of our travels in Alaska, we flew down to Seattle from Fairbanks (just below the Arctic Circle). You only have two options by air out of Fairbanks – one is to Minneapolis and the other to Seattle. No flights go back directly to Canada, from where we had started our trip up to Alaska, so we decided to break our journey back to Vancouver by spending a few nights in Seattle.

Unfortunately courtesy of a gentleman in front of us in the boarding queue who coughed and spluttered everywhere, I went down with the worst case of flu I’d had in a long time, which marred our 4-day Seattle sojourn. Monsieur was happily not affected but I think I took a hit for the team! Imagine if that had happened nowadays in the Covid era? I would have been stranded for a while, unable to fly anywhere.

Anyway I had about a day to enjoy Seattle (simply putting my growing headache and tiredness down to our busy schedule in the previous 3 weeks) before the onset of full-on flu symptoms. I was so sick – hence the Seattle holiday has become rather a blurred memory and curtailed most of our sight-seeing plans.

Nevertheless we did still manage to get out and about on the first couple of days before I was confined to bed in our Airbnb flat, unable to even watch TV. Monsieur went out in search of medications and immune-boosting supplements so by the last day I was just about able to walk around the block and have a small evening meal in Belltown (the locality in which we were staying).

That is the story of why I never posted about Seattle but given it’s a while ago and we’d actually taken some interesting photos I thought it would be cathartic to write about our trip there!

As I said before, we had chosen Belltown as our base. According to the Visit Seattle website (here), Belltown is “walkable and cool” and “has an artsy laid-back vibe”. We saw street markets, quaint cafes, larger bars and restaurants in the short time we were there but didn’t get to explore as fully as we hoped. One thing I do remember is how hilly it was – not great when you have the flu.

We did however get to one of Downtown Seattle’s main attractions, the Pike Place Market, about a 10 minute or so walk from our apartment in Belltown.

Down by the waterfront, Pike Place Market is truly an amazing place. With so many stalls, shops and little boutiques it is easy to get lost! You can easily find the fish market though by the aroma of freshly-caught seafood. The fish stall is particularly famous for the zealous fishmongers, or more accurately “fish throwers” who throw the slippery catch of the day around to the cheers of the onlooking crowd. I found an article here in National Geographic, which explains the origin of the tradition. Apparently on an icy cold day back in the 1980s, one of the customers ordered some clams and the employee had to to go from the counter to the stand where the fish was kept. Although it wasn’t too far it was so cold that he yelled out and threw the bag at another employee serving at the counter where the scales were kept. It proved to be more efficient so the tradition was started and continues to this day. It was rather like watching a theatrical perfomance hence we took quite a few photos there.

I should also add that when we visited (towards the end of August 2018) there had been a terrible wildfire season in the north west Pacific region. We had encountered wildfires and the consequent smoke during our trip to Canada, in particular in Banff and the Rockies. Now smoke from the Washington State fires had drifted down to the Seattle and Puget Sound area causing an unpleasant smog. In fact if we’d been arriving the day before, our flight would have been cancelled due to poor visibility. The airport was only reopened on the day of our arrival.

The smoke haze does affect the quality of some of the photos. In no particular order is a pictorial snapshot of the Bellown and Pike Place neighbourhood – the industrial look is quite typical of what we saw in downtown Seattle.

The pier area is interesting and the Seattle Aquarium is highly recommended though we didn’t visit ourselves.

There is a thriving pub and bar culture and I did struggle to find healthy food options but I think we often just settled on the first place we saw as I wasn’t feeling too great even on our first day there.

I didn’t like the idea of the chewing gum wall at all though. You can make your own minds up from the photos (if you can spot it, enough said)!

I’ve got a couple more posts to share about Seattle, which hopefully I can post up soon. I hadn’t realised I hadn’t posted since the end of April. All the family except myself and Monsieur have had Covid. We’ve escaped so far though I have had a heavy winter cold (non-Covid as I’ve done several tests). Back on track in time for the school holidays where we have some outings planned and currently enjoying crisp, clear Perth winter weather.

Ciao for now!

Copyright © 2022 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose

Monsieur recently bought a small print of the six Nyoongar seasons. It is an excellent way to understand the weather patterns in the south western part of WA.

The Six Nyoongar Seasons

April and May represent Djeran season, Djeran is marked by cooler nights, dewy mornings and when leaves fall to the ground. Ngari (salmon) are prolific”

It is a beautiful time of year, which signals the end of the intense heat of the summer months. The welcome change, however, is also a harbinger of cooler and wetter weather to come. There is a chill in the air in the evenings and overnight, a flurry of bird life starting to build their winter nests yet it is still pleasantly warm during the days.

One of our favourite walking spots is Star Swamp, an area of preserved and protected bushland just down the road from our home near the coast. We tend to avoid it during summer when it is simply too hot. We are also not keen on encountering any local snakes who might be sunning themselves but by early autumn the conditions are perfect. There is an overall loop (the Heritage Trail) that extends right round the reserve but in between there are a variety of smaller trails with delightful names such as the Fairy Wren Trail, the Paperbark Trail and the Jarrah Trail.

As their names suggest, many of the trails take you through tree-lined pathways. We saw a large number of the pretty little fairy wrens the other day darting between the trees and bushes. Although also a Quenda habitat area, we have yet to spot any of the little marsupials though our friends spied one on a walk a while ago.

Over Easter the banksias were in full bloom with their distinctive spiked orange flowers (they do vary in colour depending on the type).

Another interesting feature is the wealth of historical information provided along the trails. You learn a lot about the local history, how the local aboriginal groups lived with their innate knowledge of the land plus the early history of European settlement in the area.

At the Hope Street entrance to Star Swamp you can also find one of the oldest olive trees in Perth. Apparently it dates back about 160 years and is still producing a large crop of luscious-looking black olives!

Sadly, as you may be able to see from some of the photos, there is an ever-present threat of bushfires (alas often deliberately started) and one part of the Heritage Trail is fenced off to allow the bushland to recover from a recent fire a few weeks back.

The bush is however remarkably resilient and soon new shoots will start to appear. We feel incredibly lucky to have access to this beautiful natural bush reserve so close to our home in the midst of the Perth urban sprawl.

Banksias – Star Swamp Reserve

Copyright © 2022 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose

A quick hello from Perth!

Lacking a bit of inspiration recently for the blog as I haven’t much in the way of new travels though hopefully that will change going forward now we are starting to open up.

I captured these photos on a late afternoon walk a couple of days ago. The cloud formation was really unusual – storm clouds mixed with light golden rays as the sun was starting to set. You can spot Monsieur and Winston le Schnoodle in the distance if you look closely.

Copyright © 2022 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose

It’s been an interesting few weeks here as Western Australia finally starts to open up to the wide world and gets used to “living with covid”.

We have increased restrictions as a result and so many places have reduced capacities at present. The weather has remained unpleasantly hot (it’s been the warmest summer on record) though there are signs of autumn with our vines and plane trees starting to turn golden.

Nevertheless we’ve been busy and had an interesting evening last week watching a highly acclaimed film, “Flee”, part of the Perth Festival’s summer film festival (see film details here). The film is very relevant to many events in the world at present – harrowing at times and poignant, it is an animated documentary of the story of an Afghan refugee who managed to flee to Denmark in the 1990s but held on to trauma and guilt for so many years.

The summer film festival is held in the idyllic setting of Somerville Auditorium in the grounds of the University of WA. We have been there many times before (see here for a previous visit). On a warm summer’s evening with pretty fairy lights adorning the pine trees it is the perfect venue, although don’t forget insect repellant!.

I managed to take some photos beforehand along the Swan River foreshore. The sun was starting to set and the light was quite soft as the clouds were starting to roll in. Sure enough, we had a brief storm the next day.

Copyright © 2022 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose

Such a change of scene from one week to the next – we had yet another sweltering heatwave with temperatures around 40 degrees for a few days then suddenly a welcome change last Sunday. The temperature plummeted about 20 degrees in half a day with the onset of a howling south westerly.

We headed down to the sea and enjoyed a bracing walk along the coast! The skies turned grey and threatening and we even had to don our rain jackets. The squally showers and pounding seas were reminiscent of a winter storm. Strange weather patterns for the time of year indeed!

The wild weather quickly abated after a day or so and most of the week it’s been back to blue skies and sunshine here, albeit not quite as hot as the previous week thank goodness!

Copyright © 2022 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose

It has been unbelievably hot here in Perth for the past few days – in fact we are in the midst of an unprecedented heatwave (in terms of duration). The mercury has been hovering around 40 degrees centigrade (C) maximums and it’s been well over 20C overnight.

This is the second such heatwave this summer (the first was over Christmas when it got to about 43/44C on a couple of days). We are used to the occasional day hitting 40C in the summer months here but not for such extended periods of time. We do have air conditioning in the upstairs part of the house and also a pool so are fortunate in that respect. Still the heat has been relentless and enervating.

Monsieur has been walking Winston le Schnoodle first thing and I also managed to get a walk in early this morning. For the most part though we have been staying inside and trying to keep ourselves and the pets cool.

These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago down by the sea at Hillarys Boat Harbour when we came across a yacht race – the wind was up that morning and in fact it was rather cool. Very refreshing! I’ve posted about our local coastal strip on several occasions previously see here, here, here , here, here, here and here).

The ferry you can see in the photos was setting off for Rottnest Island . Known colloquially as Rotto, it’s just 19kms off the Perth coast and is a car-free protected nature reserve. Most people either hire bicyles or take their own over there on the ferry (or their own private boat if they have one)!

It’s particularly well known for the quokkas, an adorable little marsupial, which got its name from a Nyungar word (a dialect of the local Noongar people), which was probably “gwaga”.

Rottnest Island though was named by Dutch mariners who sighted the marsupials back in the 2nd half of the 17th century and mistook them for giant rats (Rottnest Island being a translation of Rat’s Nest Island in Dutch).

The Noongar name for Rottnest is however Wadjemup, which means “place across the water where the spirits are”.

We are looking forward to the promised cool change and return of the sea breeze in the next couple of days!

Copyright © 2022 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose

Happy New Year to everyone! Let’s hope that 2022 brings happier and positive times ahead.

I thought I’d start the year off with a post about our trip a month ago up to Ledge Point and Lancelin.

Although under an hour and half’s drive north of our home on Perth’s coastal corridor, we have only visited this area once. That was way back in the early 1990s when our daughters were still small – in fact I seem to remember Mlle toddling along the grass near the ocean! The “Big Chair” in the photos above is a new addition!

Our friends had been renting in a house at Ledge Point, a small settlement just to the south of Lancelin, so we drove up to see them and they showed us around.

A small fishing town situated on the aptly named Turquoise Coast (I didn’t know this before I looked it up!), Lancelin was rather quiet and sleepy on the day we visited. However this was midweek and it does get far busier on weekends and holiday times. As we drove back to Perth, we passed convoys of cars and caravans heading up north for the weekend.

The beach was more or less deserted – vast expanses of golden sand and the beautiful azure waters of the Indian Ocean stretching out to the horizon.

There was one small piece of drama when we were approached by a couple of young girls who had got bogged down in the sands – note it is never a good idea to drive a vehicle onto a beach unless you know exactly what you are doing! Fortunately a workman with a tractor saw their plight and came to the rescue, pulling their car out of the shifting sand with a chain.

We also had a nice walk along the boardwalk, which we couldn’t remember from our first visit, and enjoyed some glorious views from the lookout. The walk had made us hungry so we repaired to the nearest eatery, The Dunes Bar & Restaurant, part of the Lancelin Beach Hotel, and had an enjoyable lunch on the terrace overlooking the ocean.

Our friends were keen to show us the Lancelin sand dunes, situated behind the town, where you can quad-bike and sand-surf down the ever-shifting whiteness. I wasn’t game to do anything that dramatic, but we did climb up to the top of one of the sandhills.

All in all we had a throroughly enjoyable day out – it was pleasant without being hot, the wind and the fresh air was invigorating and it was easy drive to and from Perth.

Finally a few photos of the spectacular West Coast sunset courtesy of our friends!

Copyright © 2022 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose

We are the midst of a heatwave here in Perth this Christmas – it was 41 degrees earlier this afternoon so we have stayed inside with the air conditioning doing its best to cool us down! By contrast I’ve been exchanging messages with a good friend who lives in southern Norway. There they have been experiencing heavy snowfall – 80cms in two days last week and still snowing!

Fortunately we always have our main family get-together on Christmas Eve – we started the tradition years ago soon after we moved “Down Under’ as it seemed more sensible to eat later in the day when normally it is far cooler. This sultry Christmas has been an exception though and the evenings are continuing to be hot and sultry.

I must apologise for my absence on the blog of late – life just seems to have got very busy. However with the searing heat continuing into the middle of next week and Perth in the midst of a Covid scare we will be staying close to home for a while so I will have plenty of time to catch up on the blogosphere.

In the meantime here is a preview of some photos taken on a day trip to Lancelin recently (about an hour and a half north of Perth).

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas!

Copyright © 2021 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved.

Just to finish off my series of posts on our trip down to Denmark (Western Australia), here are some photos I didn’t include in earlier articles but which I wanted to share.

We stayed in the settlement of Shadforth, which is a few kilometres out of Denmark town centre. The road out of town wends its way up a hill dotted with homesteads and trees – the pretty scenery had been hit quite badly by the fierce winter storms and part of the road had been washed away, but fortunately for us it was still accessible.

Our base for our few days stay was was the Chimes Spa Retreat on Mount Shadforth Hill Road. We had a very comfortable and cosy chalet room overlooking the rolling hills, with views of the bay and ocean in the distance. If the weather had not been so gorgeous (the first fine spell in weeks) we would have taken advantage of the spa facilities but we were busy enjoying being out in the open air and visiting the Denmark attractions. It was the sort of rural ambience we love, a roaring wood fire in the welcoming reception area, breakfast supplied each morning in the dining room/conservatory and our own private balcony where we could watch the sun go down each night. We also made friends with the resident dog and cat although the dog didn’t pose for photos!

Chimes is just down the road from the Lake House Winery, which I featured in a previous post (see here). There is an arrangement between the two venues whereby you can order platters from the Lake House to be delivered to your room at Chimes in the evenings. We found that worked well – we could eat out for lunch then come back to our room later in the afternoon. The roads are quite dark and unlit and we preferred to do that rather than drive back from town in the evenings.

Another walk we did, albeit quite a short one, was out across a new boardwalk built along the inlet just down from Ocean Beach. The area is a wetland area, which has been designated an Ocean to Channel Recreation Zone. There were a few people enjoying a picnic on the little beach plus one hardy swimmer braving the cold waters of the inlet!

So that concludes my Denmark series for now – wish it was a little nearer to Perth (about 5 and a half hours drive) but that adds to its attraction as it isn’t really possible to just pop down for a weekend so it tends to be quieter than the busy south west region round Margaret River and Busselton. We will certainly be back though especially as it’s far safer to stay within our home state at present! You can find all the Denmark series of posts here. Au revoir!

Copyright © 2021 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved.

A few of the friendly locals we used to see each night as we drove back from town up the hill to our accomodation in Shadforth .The kangaroos were very tame – obviously must be used to tourists as well as locals passing by!

Copyright © 2021 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved.

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