Day 6 of the holiday, and due to the third world WIFI facilities of northern NSW (or it could be the communication lines offered by establishments at the level of the old man’s budget), I have been forced to resort to typing on the Ipad.
Which, as it turns out, requires a level of coordination not usually compatible with two hours sleep per night after two bottles of sub/holiday standard Chardonnay.
We left Byron today.
I’ve lived in Australia for nearly ten years and when most people have tried to describe Byron Bay to me, they have spoken in hushed tones, with that recognisable sigh of nostalgia, created by halcyon days spent there in their youth, before being curbed by parental and financial responsibility.
I get it now.
Byron lived up to expectation. It certainly cleansed the soul for our four short days; although not the same can be said for our livers.
As always in the company of our son, Kurt, we experienced four days of new and interesting adventures, as well as every wave of emotion. Holidays are never dull on holiday with teenagers.
And then there was the food…
I have always been an advocate of the cuisine in Sydney, and to my mind nothing can match the city’s Asian offerings, but for the most sumptuous and healthy breakfasts, Byron’s eateries would be hard to beat.
From Shakshuka to pumpkin bread with smashed avocado, thyme-roasted tomatoes and Persion feta, all drizzled with honey and Balsamic vinegar, the foodie delicacies have been an orgasmic experience. In Byron, quinoa is almost as common as Macdonalds on the Parramatta road in Sydney – it’s almost an expectation, so there’s no time for inverse snobbery about healthy eating.
As for the beaches… In my previous life I had thought we were spoiled by the Northern Beaches of Sydney. But Byron offers vast stretches of untouched white sand that squeaks with purity, crystal-clear waters and an abundance of Ripcurl-ified beautiful people, all seeking the next spiritual thrill.
So much so that the old man and I wondered if were actually allowed on the beaches at our time of life.
And there’s always that reassuring hint of wacky backy that pervades the sea air, to remind you of just where you are.
Kurt managed to join in the fray, too, in spite of the albatross around his neck that was his parents. One night he decided to venture down to the beach around 1am (as you do) and found himself at the epicentre of some loud, hedonistic, backpacker beach party. Upon his return at 4am, he regaled us with his experiences, in lengthy detail – a few short hours before we had to check out. Sharing a room with our seventeen-year old son may have saved the old man some precious dollars, but sleep deprivation has been a sore point, only to be righted by the marathon, nana naps we’ve shared on the beach under the protection of our middle-aged umbrella.
And then there was the music…
Musicians line every street and corner of Byron Bay and road-tripping affords you the time to remember those simple pleasures in life. They might be the crash of the waves on the beach, watching sand pour through your fingers, paddling in clear, shallow water and feeling your toes sink into the sand or hearing THAT song. I can’t remember the last time I listened to music properly, in the way I’ve been forced to this past week in the car, in an effort to drown out the arguments between the old man and Kurt about how to drive. Janis Joplin, Van Morrison and Bob have all come back into my life at the right time to remind me about living, and to whisk me away from that gnawing tummy-ache created by the stresses at home.
Holidays are the best.