I was at my physical fittest when I walked for forty minutes to work and the same amount home again every day. Increasing living costs and a change of employer has led to living further out from the city and a reliance on public transport. I try to incorporate some exercise into my journey by catching the bus from a stop further from home, walking for longer than is necessary between buses and getting off early on the return trip.
As the start of a new academic year looms my thoughts are taken up with how to avoid the morning frustration of having to wait for ten to twenty minutes for the express bus from Central Railway Station. The queue stretches around a quarter of Belmore Park to facilitate the transportation of ten plus thousand students each morning.
There are a few options available to me, including a ten minute walk down the road to catch the 370. The route is picturesque, zigzagging from Leichhardt, through Annandale and Glebe to Newtown. As the total journey time can take over one hour on one bus I opt for a split journey that includes joining the 370 later along its meandering path.
This morning leaving the house at 8:15, I catch the bus from the stop nearest home on the Parramatta Road. Alighting at around 8:30, I walk a few steps along Mallet Street to be greeted by the familiar sound of song birds that reside in the area. Also, the electric buzz of cicadas in the trees of Camperdown Park; it’s going to be a hot day!
Being on a schedule I refrain from stopping to take pictures every few steps as I rediscover the quiet backstreets of Newtown. Row upon row of simple Victorian terraced houses squeezed into every available space and pockets of vegetation jostling for a spot to burst forth.
When I reach King Street I am confronted by the thunder of cars, buses and trucks speeding towards the city. This is an aspect of the suburb I don’t miss.
Taking my place in the shade of the awning I forget to look around to check if it’s safe to stop. The look on the face of a young skateboarder barely missing me lets me know that it was not.
The journey from Newtown to work usually takes twenty minutes. Queuing for the traffic lights as we approach Botany Road in Alexandria has quickly eaten into this overly ambitious target. I reach work at 9:50, an hour after boarding the bus. Even though I managed to take a rather lovely twenty minute walk the outcome of my experiment was disappointing. Maybe I can improve on the overall time by setting out earlier from home.