Coffee, cakes, and camaraderie… A special visit to a quaint local cafe… A perfect day and evening in Fairlight…

We walked quite a distance to reach the Forty Beans cafe, Bob’s daily coffee spot for a coffee, muffin, and local chatter. The cafe is located in Balgowlah, a nearby town. It was fun to meet his friends and meet the owners.

Since we arrived in Fairlight on March 13th, Bob has encouraged us to join him on his daily walk to the park and Forty Beans cafe. For years, he’s made this walk to meet with friends and their dogs when they too stop daily for coffee, cakes, and camaraderie. 

The shop is well appointed with an array of beverages and baked goods along with an ample breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu.

Having been under the weather for so long, I hesitated over the prospect of the long walk up and down many hills native to the area.  But determined to rebuild my strength and agility, we embarked on the journey at 2:00 pm.

A variety of books and local products are offered for sale in Forty Beans.

The post was done. I’d ordered a birthday gift for grandson Jayden’s birthday and began working on Easter gifts for the six grandchildren. And above all, I’d chopped and diced everything we needed to make pizza and salad for our dinner guests arriving at 5:30 pm.

The simple, uncluttered decor is pleasant and inviting.

We had plenty of time for the walk. Little did either of us realize how impressive the walk would be to Forty Beans through grassy knolls, the lush green local park often passing by expansive ocean views and the marina.  

Bob’s coffee and oatmeal cookie. All baked items are made fresh on-site each day.

It was impossible not to stop frequently to take photos gasping over the beautiful scenery along the way. We’ll share the photos over the next several days. At this point, we have enough photos we’ve yet to post to last over our remaining 15 days in Fairlight.

Dogs aren’t allowed inside the cafe but welcome at the outdoor seating. These two types of dog biscuits are for sale for AU $1.00, US $.75.  

We enjoyed the time at Forty Beans, located at 2/11 Lower Beach St, Balgowlah NSW 2093, Australia, meeting the staff and owner and reveling in the pleasant surroundings in a cafe that wasn’t an overly familiar chain or franchise establishment. The smells sent my taste buds into a frenzy, and I ogled the baked items in the case, well aware there was nothing there for me.

The exterior wall is hand-painted with these adorable scenes.

Even Tom resisted ordering anything. Finally, with pizza upcoming for dinner, he decided to hold off. Now that I’m avoiding coffee, tea, and iced tea for a while, ordering water wasn’t appealing. 

Forty Beans has its own painted bicycle advertising the business.  (Bob is holding the bike).

Instead, we focused on pleasant sounds, smells, and ambiance, which explains why customers frequent this popular establishment regularly.

Tom, Forty Bean’s owner Rebecca and Bob.

As Forty Bean’s 3 pm closing time approached, the three of us said our goodbyes and were on our way back to Bob’s lovely property in Fairlight. The return walk was mostly uphill. 

A dog water bowl is located in the outdoor seating area.

I surprised myself how well I did on the hilly roads after being relatively inactive for many months except for one or two long walks a week. It felt so good, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

Comfy banquette in Forty Beans

Now, I’m determined to get out more and walk as much as possible. Back at our place before 4 pm, we sat outside waiting for Ben to finish cleaning the apartment. He did a flawless job, and I appreciated not having to do the dreaded cleaning necessary before dinner guests arrive.

Bob and Tom were listening attentively to Rebecca’s mom, who was seated to their right.

The delightful day easily extended into the evening when Bev, Colin, and Bob arrived promptly at 5:30 pm. The lively conversation and laughter flowed with ease, and before we knew it, it was 9:30 pm.  

Last night, we had a wonderful evening with Bob, Bev, and Colin, renters in his bed and breakfast located upstairs from our apartment.  Sadly, they left this morning to continue on their holiday.  

We’d all had a busy day and were ready to unwind. But, it was hard to say goodbye to our new friends with whom we hope to stay in touch from time to time. We never stop appreciating the opportunity to make wonderful new friends along the way.

Tom did the dishes, and in no time, we were both plopped down on the sofa to watch a documentary on TV. By 10:30, I started fading and headed to bed with my new smartphone in hand. Read a little, snooze a lot. Life is good.

Happy day, dear readers!

Photo from one year ago today, April 7, 2016:

While visiting the Taranaki Pioneer Village in NZ, I told Tom this could come in handy on “overly grumpy” days!  For final photos of our visit to the popular tourist spot, please click here.

An extraordinary evening with new friends in Tasmania at a special cafe in Penguin…

Tania’s dedication to quality drinks, service and ambiance are easily evidenced in her unique  and inviting café.

We feel so fortunate. As we travel the world reveling in the experiences of visiting and living in many countries, we often find ourselves in the company of local residents who enhance our adventures and warm our hearts in ways not easy to describe.

An organ located at Renaessance for customer’s enjoyment.

One may think it’s difficult to get close to people in the short periods we stay in any given location.  There’s a commonality we share with those we embrace in our lives as they include us in theirs, which we’ve found to be universal from country to country, town to town, village to village.

Blackboards are updated frequently with menu items.

Making new friends is magical.  How is it that people come together for the very first time and the magic happens? After all, its just the two of us and, although on a day to day basis, we don’t feel lonely or displaced, we have each other and that love and companionship is a powerful and meaningful adjunct to each of our individual lives.

Cocktail price list, listed in AU dollars such as AU $15 equals US $10.95.
Breakfast and lunch menu.

Tom doesn’t meet the “boys” for coffee or a beer, nor do I go to lunch or shopping with the “girls.” Our lives are full and rewarding together and by communicating online with old friends whom we plan to see when we’re in Minnesota in a mere five months.

The thoughtful décor provides a pleasing environment, whether a guest stops in for coffee, lunch or wine and cocktails.

In the interim, as we’d experienced on the recent 33-night cruise, we made new friends, building relationships we’ll always remember and treasure even if we never return to a specific location or have an opportunity to meet face-to-face in the future.

A cozy well decorated corner in Renaessance.

Upcoming in 14 months, we’ll return to Marloth Park to again be with the many friends we made in South Africa. This will be the first time we’ll be returning to a specific location, in this case, to celebrate my 70th birthday with those friends and to relive the exquisite interaction with wild animals in the game reserve close to Kruger National Park. 

Fran and Terry hosted our evening out. For the first time since the cruise ended two weeks ago, we each had two drinks, beer for Tom, white wine for me.

As much as I longed to return to the bush, to the wildlife, we may not have been returning to Marloth Park four years later, had we not made so many friends while there. Staying in touch via email and Facebook has certainly contributed to maintaining these and other special relationships we’ve developed over these past years.

Gerard, who’s fabulous B&B we highlighted a few days ago, High on Penguin.  Click here for the post and photos.

Last evening, as soon as we entered Tania’s Renaessance café, located at 95 Main Street, Penguin, Tasmania, we felt at home. We’d expected the establishment to feel small in its compact space, but upon entering we were delighted to see how comfortable and roomy the café actually is.

From the left, Kath Downie, Penguin Deputy Mayor and friends, Leah and John.  It was delightful chatting with them as well.

From the creative design and décor to the wide array of unique and befitting amenities, each corner was well planned and usable, offering the visitor a memorable experience, unlike any other found in a typical coffee shop or wine bar. 

A cat sitting on a fence behind Renaessance next to the train tracks.

The foods offered were fresh and well plated, with a focus on healthfulness and yet, those seeking more traditional options would easily be able to find items to suit their tastes and desires.

Renaessance is all about coffee, wine and art and a perfect spot for locals and tourist to mingle.

The selections of alcoholic beverages, wines and nonalcoholic drinks was extensive, suitable for the lunchtime or happy hour enthusiast or a family with children.

Christmas decorations atop a cabinet.

No more than seconds after we met Tania and I engaged in lively conversation, both finding an immediate connection. While she and I chatted, as she attended to other customers, Tom sat in the lounge area, giving us some much appreciated “girl time.”

Tiny boxes with a variety of teas.

In a short while Terry, his lovely wife Fran and other customers arrived ordering drinks, appetizers and filling up the space. The conversations flowed with ease to a high level of camaraderie. It couldn’t have been more fun.

These candies (referred to as lollies in Australia) reminded me of a time from long ago.

Finally, at almost 9 pm, we all started to wander out, hugging and saying warm goodbyes with hopes of being together again soon. What a pleasant surprise and festive means of spending quality holiday time with new friends!

Although the café is small there are numerous tables and chairs suitable for seating for about 20 customers.

Yes, we are fortunate for the friends we make and the people we meet as we continue to travel the world, never for a moment or a day taking anything for granted. It’s truly a gift, all the gifts we’ll need or want over this holiday season and always.

The backyard of Renaessance overlooks the sea.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2015:

In Suva, on the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu, we visited an enormous farmers’ market.  For more photos, please click here.