Sunday, February 3, 2013

Showing Off Sydney

Just how do you keep visiting Sydney fun, since everyone wants to see it - and see the same bits!  By keeping new parts to show people (and yourselves) each time!  Just to be incredibly clear, seeing the Opera House never gets old.  I still get a thrill every time I get my first glimpse, be it from the train, the air, or walking through the Royal Botanic Gardens.  You know, one of those I have to pinch myself because I can't believe I'm actually at a place I always wanted to visit, but truly believed I would never see it in public.

So, when we met Sarah and Ken (my sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law) in Sydney, we of course headed to those iconic spots on the first day.  We drug them around the city to keep them awake, because the jet lag from the trip is rough!  I love showing off the city, but was excited about the second day because we were headed somewhere I'd never been to - Bondi Beach!

We woke up that morning and it was fairly grey out.  Undeterred, we headed out on the bus to get to Bondi.  It's about a 45 minute trip out from Circular Quay, but fun to see another part of the city.  The weather may have kept a few people from the beach, but there were still plenty of surfers to be seen.  We decided against swimming there, mostly we just wanted to wander and experience Bondi.  When we arrived there was a surf class going on - fun to watch people learning versus the surfers on the other side of the beach!  Also, it made Brian feel better that he has a real board versus a foamie!  Now, if he could only join the surfers on the other side...

We decided to just sit down on the beach and watch the action for a bit, which includes my lovely children romping around like they hadn't been to the beach in forever.  I told them not to get wet and then let the run like the feral children they are!

Just hanging at Bondi Beach, no big deal
At least he tried to keep dry!
Another good reason not to get in the water was the Bluebottles we saw all over the beach.  Doesn't the name sound so innocent and sweet?  It's Bluebottle season here in Oz - lucky for us, we don't get that many of them in Port Stephens.  They are pretty creatures - and also fairly easy to spot.  The top blobby part is actually above the water, and even if you do get stung, it's one of the few things that won't actually kill you!  It just smarts a fair bit, but the life savers keep some sort of spray with them to keep it from hurting too much.

Another name for this jellyfish is the Portuguese Man-O-War.  That whole bit above the water apparently resembles the actual Man-O-War ship's sail.  For some reason, I thought these were in the US, but much bigger.  I don't know if I was calling a jellyfish by the wrong name.  All I know is whatever stung me in the Gulf of Mexico years ago really hurt and left a terrible discoloration of my skin that is still hanging around.  As many of these that were littering the beach,  I was just as happy to not have even brought my swimmers!  Here's what happens when the boys would spot them in the water:

Run away, run away!

Several in a very small section - it was
like this everywhere on the beach

We walked down the entire beach.  I'm not sure there is much better than wandering along a beach.  As soon as I hit the sand, I feel my shoulders relax.  Down at one end there is a pool that fills up with the tide, but keeps out the baddies.  I think that's a great idea, especially for children.  My kids wandered around the outside.  Remember that comment to the kids about trying to stay dry?  I always know that's a pipe dream with my Wills around.

View of the beach from the pool area
I've seen nakeder kids on the beach...

We went rock hopping after this.  Our whole family loves this and we do it fairly often.  Amazingly, this is the first time either of the kids has gotten hurt - and of course it was Will that received the injury. In his defence, his brother actually fell on top of him, causing Will to get a pretty good scrape on his ankle.  He was mostly a trooper and let us wash off the cut in the salt water with minimal whinging!

Sea stars in a rock pool
Everyone on the rocks

Cute couple!

Bondi from the rocks

And here is a study in getting three different groups of people to pose:

I don't even know...
Had to be up high...
And the recently engaged...

We had a great time at Bondi and headed back into Sydney proper for the rest of our evening, which I'll post about in the next few days.  The boys were excited because we were finally off to Luna Park!

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