“The sea! The sea! The open sea! The blue, the fresh, the ever free!”
— Bryan W. Procter
‘The Spit to Manly’, as the walk has simply come to be known, was ma(nly)gical.
My sister had plans with a friend she made whilst travelling in Japan and a couple of others from back home, so Mum and I made a ‘Mummy-Daughty’ day out of our newfound alone time. It was a day that spanned an entire sunny day, 10km in distance, many laughs that rose from our bellies, a scare that came from a lizard resembling a mini dinosaur, and insanely stunning, spell-binding, how-is-this-even-Earth-? views.
Mum and I boarded a bus which took us on a 30ish-minute journey 10 km northeast, from Sydney CBD to The Spit, which I came to learn was actually a concrete girder bridge with a bascule lift span across the Middle Harbour, and not a slice of land that ‘spits’ out of mainland Sydney. 😂
The issue with this newfound knowledge was that it rendered us clueless as to where we were supposed to alight because there couldn’t have possibly been a bus stop along the bridge. Most of the other passengers, who we had overheard were going for the same walk, alighted at a bus stop before the bridge, but it didn’t make much sense to Mum and I (or the couple seated behind us) because online guides had stated that the entrance to the walk was located after the bridge, so the four of us stayed on the bus and alighted at the next bus stop instead.
Here’s where things got weird: the bus stop we alighted at was literally in the middle of nowhere with no pedestrian path that we could take to walk away from the bus stop, so we had to illegally cross the busy two-way road to get to the other side, where there weren’t any pedestrian paths either, so the only option for us was to walk into an inlet that led into a little bow-shaped neighbourhood. The surprise — a pleasant one — came when suddenly a small opening appeared, and led us straight to the beginning of the walk!
Prior to the hike, we used two guides — this one and this one — and the experiences of Miriam (Yeo) and Sarah (Ellice-Flint) to get a sense of what to expect. The walk turned out to be everything I had read/ heard about it and more. So much more.
Seven things made this walk a winner for me:
1. The private and peaceful downtime it gave Mum and I to talk about things that mattered to us;
(Before you read this caption, will You do something for me? Put on ‘Here We Are Again’ by Ella Grace (it’s on Spotify), and let Your heart follow its rhythm as You take in the words I’ve written. Things – especially the last bit – will make sense.) This is Mum. She hugs me the way the wind embraces us whole with every blow and whisper, and showers me with kisses that make my soul sparkle the way stars do in our night sky. This picture was taken sometime, somewhere midway from Spit to Manly a few weeks ago when I called out, “Mama!” and she answered with that beautiful smile she always beamed with. Mum has this quality about her that makes me miss her (and Papa) more when my heart is beating and my lungs are expanding alongside her. Maybe it’s the reminder that we no longer live together, and that time with each other will have to be sanctioned to pre-bedtime Skype calls and her sporadic trips to the land down under/ my trips back home, wherever that may be. Or maybe it’s the reminder that, as I grow and learn to love and live, she grows older and older and… older, too. Reminders of the time long gone and the time left. Reminders of her cradling my heart and holding my hand on my darkest days. Reminders that butterflies live where darkness creeps in. I’ve watched leaves fall, and now I’m watching them blossom again. I’ve lived through the rain, and now I’m filling my soul with sunshine. I’m learning to sink my fingers into Earth and feel its grounding energy seep through me. And it’s only because of You. To You, my heart, in pieces, I’ll send. I’ll always remember to. I’ll always love You.
2. Flowers were aplenty despite the adverse conditions;
This was taken somewhere along Spit and Manly (more on this soon) where bushes grew taller than humans (taller than me at least), leaves were short and prickly, and flowers were all shades of yellow. Bless! The weather was perfect! And I was humming "Do It" by one of my absolute favourites, Rae Morris, as I twirled around and swayed to the rhythm of the wind! Do it, I say, whatever You want to do, do it now! “We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.” — Marie B. Ray x
3. The textures, shapes and patterns nature presented were impeccable;
4. The views;
5. This lizard that gave us a scare which morphed into subsequent fits of laughter;
6. The history embedded within the trail;
7. The relief and ecstasy that came with finally seeing the scene below for we knew we were staring straight at the beautiful Manly Wharf, aka. the end of the 11km trail, aka. where lunch was finally available.
Manly contrasted the trails we just emerged from in that it was a place swarming with tourists and locals alike, and teeming with a ton activity — people running, tanning, dining, jumping on trampolines, busking, and (window) shopping.
Mum and I headed straight for The Corso, which we assumed to be the main street of the town due to the activity present there. Bare Naked Bowls, where we were supposed to have lunch at, was unexpectedly closed for the day, so we settled on one of Mum’s and my favourite cuisines: Vietnamese, at the vegan-friendly Little Viet Kitchen (along The Corso).
It doesn’t come lightly when I say something is mindblowing-ly good, which the Temple Tofu Salad that I had was: “slow simmered tofu in lemongrass and tomato, crispy shallots, rice noodles*, dried young coconut, cashew nuts, chilli, lime & ginger dressing.” The portion size, for the price it came for, was HUGE (which was perfect because I was famished), and the MVP for me? The dressing, which was simply incredible. 🙂
*I asked to have the rice noodles swapped for brown rice (this was done with no extra costs).
(Presentation, as You can see below, wasn’t the dish’s strongest point, but hey, it was delicious, and that’s all that should matter.) 😉
Hungers appeased, we got to exploring Manly, which we soon decided bore great resemblance to the shops we saw lining Bondi Beach’s walkway just a few days before. EXCEPT! They had Free People and Tiger Lily here (!!!), which happen to be two of the very few shops I concede to purchasing new (instead of second-hand) items from because of their ethical practices and earthy grounding. Seeing as it had been a (very long) while since I had a non-second-hand addition to my closet, I treated myself with an earthy orange off-shoulder top which was hanging on the sale rack* in Free People.
*Free People has generally very expensive clothing, so if You were to ever see a sale rack out on display, definitely pounce on the opportunity!
With the gradual darkening of the world around us, we knew it wasn’t long after before we had to retreat to Sydney CBD, so we headed to Manly Wharf where we tapped on with our Opal cards and boarded a ferry which took us back to familiarity.
— MORE PICTURES —
— VLOG —