If living in central Sydney was about seeing the sights, then living at Bondi is all about taking it easy. Perhaps that’s my first lesson in beach culture.
Bondi is small, but I’ve kept busy well enough. Suffice it to say that the staff in all of the thrift stores recognize me by now. And there are cafes. Everywhere. I’ve had endless opportunity to attempt to create and refine my inner coffee snob.
The little free libraries in a back allies or small bookstores here give plenty of options to find a beachside companion, and there are plenty of benches or grassy hills overlooking the ocean to read them on.
Gertrude & Alice is a cafe that marries books and coffee, and I enjoyed nestling into a book-lined corner with the best piece of cherry strudel I’ve ever had.
And Meredith introduced me to Lox Stock and Barrel as a more-than-satisfactory brunch option.
My favorite place has ended up being a street-side cafe with window seats and generous portions of rustic food. When it’s warm enough–as it is today–Le Paris-Go Cafe will open the windows and you can sit looking out on to the street–as I am–smiling at strangers as they walk past the palm trees, or listening for the waves breaking on the beach just down the hill.
I even had my first Vegemite experience here! Spread delicately, thinly, kindly.
Even though I grew up on rocky Northwest beaches, I’ve had a different experience playing in the white sands of Bondi. I hear the waves when I first step outside to start my day in the morning or when I’m fast-walking through the cold at night. Sometimes I summon the courage to take a dip, but sitting on the sand and watching the surfers is just as entertaining.
Sometimes I sit and wonder what it’s like to have grown up here, where there’s a constant trail of sand behind you and the summer seems endless.
Of course, it’s easier to pretend that this is my normal life when I’ve been placed in a homestay perched right on the north end of Bondi Beach, just a minute’s walk from the sand. It is a privilege to spend a week (rather, a summer really) of leisure here at Bondi, learning the winter rhythm. It is a privilege to wake up to see the sea.