Sunday, August 21, 2011

Check One More Thing Off My Bucket List

Our rental on our first condo was up this past Friday, we can't move into our house until the 30th, and the rental on our next condo doesn't start until Sunday, so what should we do?  The best answer we came up with was go to Sydney!

We picked Nathan up after school on Friday and headed out.  It's about 2-1/2 hours from Port Stephens, so there was no way to get there before dark.  Unfortunately, it began a torrential downpour on us.  It was slow going and we were exhausted by the time we fought Friday night traffic as well.  It turned into over a 3 hour trip with hungry and tired children in the back seat.

After checking into our hotel in Darling Harbour we decided to simply eat in our hotel and let the kids crash.  Funny how children change how you visit a city!  Bri and I were tired and a bit cranky as well, so we got some much needed rest before heading out the next day.

We got up early, had breakfast, and headed out to the Opera House via the subway.  Apparently, we have deprived Nathan by never letting him ride the subway in his 6 years of life - I know, what kind of parents are we!  He was excited as we descended the escalators, but quickly became concerned with the noise.  For those of you who don't know Nath well, he has very sensitive ears.  We got on and he wanted me to take a commemorative pictures.

I really want to like this...
He did end up enjoying the ride and was quite put out that we walked anywhere else the rest of the day.
Walking around Sydney Harbour

The Harbour Bridge

Front of the Opera House
 The Opera House is as amazing as you would think.  I could hardly wait to see it close up.  I never realized that it was actually three separate buildings until Brian's first trip to Sydney.  Even knowing that, I was surprised at how separated they actually are.
Will playing on the stairs

I wanted to see the iconic view and check out one of the famous beaches, so we hopped the ferry to Manly Beach.  We saw a sign that warned of a bit of choppy water, but we didn't think too much about it.  We've both been on a bit of water before.  Boy, were we wrong.

My new favorite picture of Nath
The iconic shot

Me and my boys

Theses were taken before the rough waters - and were they ever rough.  The boat started rocking wildly from side to side.  It felt like we were on a roller coaster.  Will was squealing "whee" with each wave while we were watching Nath's face get paler and paler.  I thought he was just frightened - justifiably - until he looked up and said "My tummy doesn't feel so good."  Brian jumped up to take him to the toilet, which of course was on the lower level since we were on the upper.  Luckily he didn't get sick, but he did observe waves crashing over the side of the ferry.  I had Dramamine in my purse from the plane ride over, so we decided to give him some before we took the ferry back to Sydney proper and give the waters time to calm down.

Finally we arrived at Manly.  We found a restaurant and got Nathan a Sprite to try and settle his stomach.  It helped a bit, but he didn't eat much for the rest of the day.

We walked around the downtown area where there were a lot of boutique shops.  I didn't go any many, which is the downside of living with three guys!  After a short walk, we arrived at the actual beach.

Nathan sat on the stairs with Brian while Wills and I ran promptly to the waters edge.  I could hardly keep him out of the water, even though it was rough and we had no swimsuits.  We were both quickly wet up to our knees.

After a bit of wandering and one Dramamine to Nath, we were headed back on a ferry.  The weather had been beautiful, so we thought the water would be calmer.  Once again, we couldn't have been more wrong.  It was a rougher passage back and although Nathan looked scared, the Dramamine did the trick.  The other passengers were not helping with the fright level, as there was much screaming and cursing happening.  I heard several people say they had taken the ferry many times and that trip was by far the worst they had ever been on.

We decided to walk around the city a little more before exploring some of the shopping.  The boys found a fountain in a plaza and wanted there picture taken in front of it.  Behold there chosen pose:

 After hearing how bored and hungry my boys were, we walked back to Darling Harbour for dinner.  In my opinion, the quality of food is proportional to how close to the water you are.  Dinner was indeed quite good. 

We were seated outside next to a party room.  In said room was a bachelorette party with all of the girls in very short, tight skirts with bustiers and belly-dancing scarves around their waists.  They began a belly dancing lesson, which completely fascinated Nath and Will.  We kept trying to get the boys to turn around, but quickly gave up.  Once they began learning another type of "dance," we decided to leave before questions came up.

The view of which I decided to take a picture

Darling Harbour at night

We took a Ferris wheel ride after this.  Sorry, no pictures.  I hate Ferris wheels and was simply trying to keep my dinner down.  Will sweetly held my hand so I would feel better.  About every minute, the boys would ask if I liked the Ferris wheel now.  Sorry kidlets, I will never enjoy the Ferris wheel!

The next morning we had to head back to Port Stephens to get the key for our new condo.  I was kind of grumpy about heading back so quickly until I remembered we would be in Sydney lots more.  Plus, it's hard to feel to grumpy when you have a view like ours from the balcony.  Will would like to share it with you...

This is only one side.  We have an incredible panoramic view of most of the port, including an island in the distance.  I'll take more pictures when the sun comes up.  Until then, ta!

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