For the Love of Darwin

So, on Sunday, July 8, (hey, happy belated birthday Stephanie!), Courtney and I ventured out for another day in this town I had already come to enjoy very much. Ever been to a city, or with a person, or just somewhere where you just felt so GREAT? For no good reason? Like, if someone asked me (and they do) “What did you like about Darwin?” I wouldn’t (can’t) really answer. I just loved being there. Even in that ridiculous hostel room or dragging our suitcases 15 minutes to the other hotel that appeared to be in the middle of nowhere, it was just…good. Ya, “great” and “good” don’t seem like the kinds of words a vocabulary enthusiast such as myself would choose for such a glorious feeling. But that’s all it is. Good, great. Simple. Right. Content. I just liked BEING there. It was comfortable, it felt easy. (PS – My bird, Skittle, is whispering the sweet nothings of “pretty birdie” in my ear over and over and over. What a guy. Love!)

Back to our day in my second “I’d come back here” place (Broome was the first). As had become our routine, we didn’t rush the morning in our pleasantly quiet hotel drinking tea, reading, and Sudoku-ing, before walking to town on the Esplanade, through a park, and seeing some sights on the way. (Pretty impressive that that entire paragraph was only one sentence, hey? Or just terrible. Run-on sentences and I battle regularly.

Our sight seeing included dank, dark tunnels.

They were built during WWII to store oil.

…and never used.

Giant, expensive project…for tourism in the end.

Yummy.

Post-tunnel tour and unsolicited views of the ticket-taker’s well-chewew egg salad sandwich lunch, Courtney and I headed to the Waterfront Precinct to recover in the sunshine. We went back into town on the same route all travellers, immigrants, cargo, and so on took from the docks to get to Darwin’s centre all those years ago.

Very cool wall art on the stairs/route used by all arrivees into Darwin from the port back in the day.

Made using materials found along the path.

Banyan tree revered by Buddhists as the ‘Tree of Knowledge.’

Other very cool tree.

Our own lunch (not egg salad), ice cream, and second walk along the Esplanade home to hotel tired us out enough to log some serious pool time. Books, drinks, towel, sunglasses, ahhhhhhhh.

As the sun dipped below the trees and soaked us in shade, we knew it was time to head towards the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. I really had no idea when the sunset might be, but as we got closer and saw that we hadn’t yet missed it, we sped up to a bit of an awkward trot across the parking lot. It would have been an awful shame to miss it by mere seconds.

On the way to the beach.

Getting closer!

We clambered between a gap in the trees over the small sandy burm to come upon a wide, flat, people-riddled beach as far as the eye could see in both directions. The beach was quite littered with kids, families, picnics, and so on that had been there enjoying there day, but the entire hillside that we’d just landed upon was also completely blanketed by standers and sitters that were very obviously doing what Courtney and I were – arriving strictly to see the sunset.

Clearly, a bigger deal than I’d at first assumed – good thing we made it! We settled into the sand and enjoyed quiet togetherness as the sky began its transformation.

I only wish we’d stayed a little longer – it continued to increase in brilliance after we’d headed for the market. (Not that our amateur-on-a-cheap-camera photos show it, of course!)

A peek back over our shoulders showed us the purples and pinks that deepened after we left the beach.

The market was TERRIFIC – and I hate shopping especially just wandering. But it was just so varied, bright, PACKED, lively, fun. Too many food stalls to choose from…. a lovely atmosphere. We tried “Croc Bites,” some Thai, and ended the night with a chocolate filled churro. I managed to buy some authentic musical instruments for a certain music teacher I know back home and a painting! I can definitely stop my hunt for something “Australian” to take home. A beautiful piece of artwork checks that one off the list.

After a warm summer, oops, winter night stroll home, we ended our day the same way we started it. In pjs, with tea, books, and conversation. Tomorrow we’re onto Kakadu!

One response to “For the Love of Darwin

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