Down Under Again

Hello from what feels like my second-home country!

After taking my first overseas journey alone over 13 years ago here and having been in Asian countries the past few weeks, Australia feels like coming back home.  We had a good flight after I figured out sitting between the kids worked best!  After that they slept 6 out of 8 hours!

We arrived in Sydney on Sunday morning and after easy customs and baggage, we ubered to Marriott Circular Quay around 1pm. Graber a nice lunch at The Fortune of War (oldest pub in Sydney) promptly followed by much needed naps was our afternoon activites.  For dinner, we went to a former colleagues’ house; Dean and Nancy’s along with Ella and Baby Abby.  Talk about feeling at home, we had an evening catching up with friends while the kids played.  We threw the kids in bed at 8:30pm.  That’s what I call a really great night!

On Monday we didn’t wake til 9:30am; I think you call that a play date hang over!  Obviously, they needed sleep as the kids slept for 13 hours!  We missed breakfast in the lounge so we walked to Pancakes on the Rocks.  We ate there on our last trip to Sydney and it was just as yummy!  Today’s agenda includes the Targona Zoo.  The best part is you take a ferry and gondola ride to get there.  We saw reptiles, chimpanzees, giraffes, silverback gorillas (an 8 week old), Sumatran tiger, wombat, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and bats.  We had supper at Gowings Bar and Grill which ended up being much nicer than we might have been dressed for but quite delicious!

Tuesday morning we woke in a hustle to eat breakfast and get to the airport.  We headed to Brisbane today to see the Schaer’s.  This is the family I lived with when I studied abroad here.  We rented a car (mostly for the car seats) and drove to Kelsey’s (youngest daughter) house; I told the kids to say only two words while I drove…stay left!  On the way, Teddy fell asleep so he sat in the car park while we hugged necks upon arrival.  I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough when I saw Kelsey to hug her!  Her daughter Harlow had just waked so we got to give everyone hugs including her husband, Shane.  Unfortunately, he had to leave town for work this week.  The kids got on so well and played all afternoon.  Sharon, the mom, joined us for supper and Bea ran the fastest to give her a hug when she arrived.  Teddy and I were close behind.  We had the best evening just chatting and catching up!
Wednesday was the most relaxed day with a trip to the park after breakfast.  Again, there is usually different equipment at overseas playgrounds and the kids soaked it in.  After lunch at home, I showered my crew and we rested before more family came for supper.  Melinda, Sharon’s sister, joined us tonight.  Sharon also spent the night and took off the next day to play with us too.

We went into the city on Thursday for some fun and Joan (or Nana as I call her), Sharon’s mom, joined us!  We rode the CityCat ferry to SouthBank.  It is an amazing boardwalk area with playgrounds, coffee shops, restaurants, pool/beach area and more.  We hit the coffee shops first while the kids played at the playground.  One of my favorite things about Australia is the coffee.  I wasn’t a big coffee drinker until I came years ago but their coffee is just so delicious!  I drink a long black; it’s a pretty strong coffee!  I enjoyed a delicious fish and chips lunch while we watched it pour!  It didn’t rain long so the kids were able to play on the playground equipment.  There were lots of ropes to climb and they both did an amazing job!  We grabbed ice creams next and Teddy picked a popsicle.  Of course it was too cold for him (it always is) so Sharon cut up it up and fed it to him…spoiled!  The kids wanted to put their feet in the “ocean” water so I said don’t go past your knees.  Well you know the rest of the story… as Bea danced, she accidentally sat in the water up to her chest.  Then Teddy got his bottom wet too somehow.  It was hilarious!  Back to the car via the ferry and home where Hans, Kelsey’s dad, was waiting on us.  He joined us for a bit while we had dinner at Wynnum Boat Club.  It really has been so nice for the family to take the time to come see us especially since we were only here for a few days.  After a fun, full day, I threw the kids into bed so I could have a little longer to chat with Sharon before she went home and Kelsey before we had to go to bed.  Truly an amazing three days getting to visit with everyone!

Friday morning, unfortunately, came around and we had to fly back to Sydney.   It was so fun watching my kiddos play with Harlow.  Leaving is always hard; and, of course, I teared up as I feel so unbelievably grateful to have met them and still have remained so close.  It’s also so fun to be adults now with Kelsey (and Jess, the daughter who lives in Switzerland) and see how they’ve grown up and turned into beautiful people.  Kelsey was delightful to watch as a momma too; Harlow is one lucky little girl!  I drove back to the airport for an easy flight back.  However sweet Teddy hadn’t napped the past couple of days and just melted as soon as we landed, screamed and wanted to be held.  To make things a bit more challenging, you cannot get your stroller until baggage claim here.  He finally fell asleep when we got in the taxi.  Thankfully, Cory met us for supper at Four Frogs…yummy crepes!

Now two more days to explore before we fly home.  We scheduled a tour to the Blue Mountains so we had an early start with our first stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park.  We pet wallabies, Victor the koala and kangaroos.  Teddy insisted we see snakes and also saw echidnas, wombats and more.  It was a quaint little zoo that was very well maintained.  On to see the Three Sisters and ride the Scenic Railways.  We rode a cable car down into the rain forest for a lovely walk about and the steepest incline railway in the world back up.  A few more lookouts to see included Boar’s Head and Leura Cascades before naps while we drove back to the city to see the Sydney Olympic Park.  We ended with a Rivercat back to Circular Quay.  It was so windy but superneat to ride under the Harbour Bridge!  The restaurant Munich Brauhaus was a lively ending to our day before tossing everyone in bed for the night.

On our last day, everyone slept in a bit.  When this happens, you know you’ve had the best time but that it’s probably good timing to head home.  We walked through the Paddy’s Markets, stopped by Harry’s Cafe de Wheels then made our way to the Sydney Fish Market.  It had all kinds of seafood including octopus which Teddy wanted to eat.  Seating was tight so we joined some lovely Italians and enjoyed our meat pie with mushy peas and sausage roll (from Harry’s), yellowfin tuna and octopus.

As we ate, we reminisced about our adventure and why we love to travel!  Experiencing new places and exploring the great big world we live in is the best!  What a blessing it is to “go with Daddy!”

Until next time…

Taronga Zoo with Sydney skyline

Her new pose at SouthBank

Sharon and Teddy

“Beach” at Southbank

Kelsey and Millie

We love Harlow!

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

Staying warm riding the Rivercat

Sydney Fish Market

Ready for the flight; bye Australia!

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