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A Long Walk to South Bank

Saturday was quite overcast, yet when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, it became very sunny and hot, real melting ice cream kind of hot. A perfect day for a long walk. I walk most days ranging from between 6-12km, depending on time constraints and I usually walk a circuit near my home, but today I decided that I would begin training for the longer walks that will be necessary when walking in Spain.

I packed a small back pack and weighed it. I need this information as part of the training process to help increase the weight over time and in a sensible manner, so that I can comfortably reach the target of approximately 10 percent of my body weight, which is the most I need to carry when walking long distance, over time, in Spain. My back pack and contents for yesterday weighed 3.2 kilograms. A nice starting point, I think.

For my first long walk, other than some of the hiking I do with family, I decided to start from my home in Chandler and walk to South Bank, Brisbane. South Bank is one of my favourite places to visit and spend time. It is the old Expo site and over the years, has developed into an amazing place to enjoy all levels of dining, ranging from cafe type food to fine dining. You will also find the odd ice cream cart parked along the pathways for some further indulgence. There are many bars and grills, and other stores to browse in. Lots of interesting boutique style shops and of course many coffee houses. The dining is mostly alfresco where you can sit and enjoy people watching, taking in life along the river, the action, bizarre and wonderful buskers for entertainment and many other sights, too numerous to mention. Some days you will discover the markets operating with all their wares, services and trinkets. Of course it is also famous for its man-made ‘Kodak Beach’ and swimming places. It is also home to the Conservatorium of Music, the Piazza, and QPAC (where I work part time during the evenings as an Usher or performing Complex Duties). There is always something to see and do at South Bank.

Knowing how much I enjoy South Bank and what it has to offer, what better place to walk to for my first long walk, knowing that I could spend a couple of hours chilling, before making the return trip. I’ve never walked to South Bank before and thought it would be interesting to see the trip from a different perspective, other than sitting in a car.

So, with back pack packed with all the things I thought I’d need along the way and for when I arrived, I headed off on my trek. My phone was fully charged, my Map My Walk  app engaged and recording my stats and progress and my music blaring through my headphones, I was ready to roll.

I live on a major arterial road and so the trickiest part of the walk was getting past some places that aren’t designed for walkers, namely: walking close to oncoming traffic due to the large storm water drains, crossing connecting roads to the Gateway Arterial, where no provision has been made for walkers and again, walking close to oncoming traffic where I guess the road makers thought no one would ever want to walk here. They should know that someone, one day, will want to walk there. And as an additional point, there were no signs telling me I can’t walk there. Anyway, once I cleared all that it was plain sailing.

The walk from Chandler to South Bank totals 16.5 km the way I decided to go. It was mostly flat with some levels rising and some undulating hills in places, so it made the walk interesting and added to my heart rate in places. As I topped the hill coming into the suburb of Coorpooroo, I enjoyed seeing the city off into the distance. This was encouraging as this was near my destination.Image

Further along I noticed this avenue of trees. I have driven past them countless times, but today I saw them through fresh eyes.

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I also noticed this avenue of trees along the way.

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And this canal, that I would never know existed when driving past in my car. You might ask here if it matters that I didn’t know it existed? Probably not, but it is interesting to find hidden things.

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As I headed more toward the city along Vulture Street, I was finally able to take a close up photo of a house that I’ve always admired when driving past. Being so close I could admire closely and actually appreciate what gives it such street appeal. This house is immaculate and surprisingly, there is a lot of land attached to it; quite a bonus for the inner city area of Woolloongabba.

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Getting closer to my destination, I took this photo of the M1, the major road that leads to our beautiful city of Brisbane. I like this shot as I feel like I was peeking in on something.

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Just over this incline ahead, would see me on the brink of my destination. These photos clearly show a very grey day, yet it was still balmy, especially for walkers and cyclists. I passed a number of cyclists out pedalling and enjoying what the day offered.

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Some people are just plain creative when it comes to brightening up our city. I passed a number of these little creations (pictured below) that add lovely bright spots to the streets. Anyone can apply to create a design and jazz up what would normally be dull communication covers. How much more entertaining is it to see bright and happy art work instead? Thank you to all the creative folks out there. We salute you.

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These statues (pictured below) caught my eye at the entrance to some units next to the Mater Private Hospital. There were more than what I captured here in this photo. They were spaced out right across the front of the property. I’m still considering if they ‘work’ with this style of building?

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The next couple of photos are quite significant to me. They are of the work being done on the Mater Children’s Hospital. I mentioned in a previous blog entry about the possibility of raising some money for the children of our city while I walk the Camino and I have discovered that I have a heart for the Mater Children’s. They do such awesome work, as anyone does when involved with saving children’s lives. Our children are so precious and are the life blood of a city, town or country. I hear many stories of sick children, premature babies, and a multitude of other heartbreaking incidents that touches me on too regular a basis. How can I help? One day I’d love to be a part of the ‘Cuddle Mum’ program, but another practical way is to pay it forward and try to raise some money for a very worthy cause and invest in my city. It would be wonderful to think that any encouraging supporters out there, might like to work with me here and maybe support in a practical way while I do the walk. Everyday, there are nurses, doctors, specialists and support staff who perform miracles with very sick children, and unfortunately for some families the outcome for their child may not have a happy ending. I would somehow like to make a difference and contribute to the work these amazing people perform in our own backyard. At some point in our lives, we will need the help of these professionals for our own families and whilst my own family has always been supporters and made regular donations, I still want to do more. I believe in children and want to help make their future brighter and I’m sure there are others who would like to do so too. I have to speak with people who have the knowledge to help me with this side of things, but I am positive that I can organise something. So, watch this space, especially if you would like to reach out to the beautiful children of our city.

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Well, I made it! Here I am at the entrance to South Bank at Little Dock Road. For some reason I quite like Little Dock Road. It is a cute little street that leads to a beautiful area of Brisbane. Look at the perfect sky now!

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I took the photo below peeking through a beautiful Poinciana tree. Brisbane has some mighty fine specimens that look spectacular. Other favourite trees of mine that I see around Brisbane, include: the Jacarandas in all their purple flurry, the variety of Frangipanis (whites and pinks) and the massive historical Moreton Bay Figs.

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Below is one of the entrances to South Bank. I totally enjoyed my walk here and was ready to enjoy whatever South Bank offered today. It’s trademark Bougainvillaea are just ahead.

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The photos below show people enjoying all that South Bank has to offer. How blessed to enjoy a day down here?

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I spent some time cruising around enjoying the sights. I had to wait a little while for my appetite to arrive. The walk, it seemed suppressed my need for food, however, in time, it arrived. I enjoyed a whole bottle of cooled water and then I practiced what I hope and know will become part of the adventure whilst in Spain. I found a favourite restaurant of mine, Kapsalis and ordered a lovely Greek salad with two lamb souvlaka kebabs (okay, plenty of time for Spanish cuisine when I go to Spain – I’m practicing the experience here) and a nice cold Crown Lager. As I’m on holidays and ‘beach’ time, it was my small indulgence.

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After lunch, I wandered over to some lovely grassed area near a children’s playground. I could see all the action on the river and enjoyed the sights. I laid out my towel and read my book for about an hour or so and then it was time to do the walk all over again. I packed up my things and headed for home.

The funny thing is, I outlasted my iPhone 5’s battery. It died on me at Woolloongabba. The rest of the trip was music-less and my Map My Walk App-kaput! However, I still had my watch and I already knew how far I’d walked getting to South Bank. My distance and times for the day were: 33 km in 5 hours plus a further 4 km un-timed. Total kilometres walked was 37km. I’m happy with that being my first long walk in training. Remember, this is a journey, not a race. I merely time myself as part of the training process and out of interest. It will allow me to learn about my walking patterns, general times and will help me calculate how long it will take me to walk certain distances between villages along the route in Spain. My biggest challenge that I can see will be walking through the Pyrenees at altitude. I’m so excited!

If you’ve read down to here, thank you for your time. I hope you enjoyed my little adventure.

So, until next time…

Buen Camino

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