Tuesday, June 10, 2014


This weekend was a long weekend.  Brian had Monday off for the Queen's birthday, which we found out they don't actually have off in England!  We had a great time together, including the day in Sydney on Saturday.  It's lovely to have a major city so close by, while we are able to enjoy the lifestyle of the beach!

We started off in Chatswood, a suburb of Sydney, for Yum cha.  My friend Emmi introduced me to this on a girl's food weekend in Sydney and my boys were keen to have a go.  Yum cha is also known as dim sum in the US, but I've not seen a restaurant similar to this style.  You are immediately served tea whilst carts come around with different types of food.  You can pick and choose what you eat and each plate has 3 or 4 pieces of the food on it.  The first cart that came out had several types of wontons on it - prawn, veg, and chicken.  The highlight for my boys were the pork buns.  I agree, they are fantastic!  Nath and Will had huge eyes as the carts clattered around the restaurant and we left stuffed for a train ride to the Maritime Museum on Darling Harbour.

Boys "saluting" on top of the Vampire
The boys have been begging us to visit the National Maritime Museum for awhile.  Usually it's when we have somebody visiting and we are trying to hit the Sydney highlights, so we've been putting them off for some time.  Saturday seemed like the perfect day to visit and we happily bought our Big Ticket, which included tours of several ships outside, plus everything in the museum.  The boys were excited to visit a destroyer and a submarine, but Nathan was incredibly happy to explore the replica of the Endeavour, Captain Cook's ship. He is currently studying the first fleet in school and visited Sydney on a school excursion, but didn't get to see the ship.  He was able to supplement his knowledge and impress the tour guides with what he knew.  The replica of the HMB Endeavour will actually be sailing into Port Stephens later in the year, and the guide has encouraged Nathan to sign up to help with some of the demonstrations.

The boys and I steering

Nathan reading about the Endeavour

But the real reason we headed to Sydney was for Vivid.  This is a festival that runs for several weeks, lighting up much of the CBD.  Even the boats in the harbour light up for the evening.  It's really quite a spectacle.  We started out in front of the Opera House, sitting on the steps on the Quay with our dinner from one of the food trucks parked around.  We even bought the boys a bottle of water that lights up with the push of a button.  The show was gorgeous, we were so impressed with it.  We walked all the way around the Quay and down to the rocks, stopping at different buildings to watch for a bit, or exploring the art installations that were around.  Since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, here you are-

Water tastes better when it glows

Cruise ship leaving the Harbour before Vivid starts

Space Invaders

My three boys and the light ball

The theme of Vivid 2014 was Lights and Music.  On Customs House they had an installation that you could "conduct."  There were different styles of music and the motions of your hands would control streaks or different shapes across the building.  A massive queue was there, so the boys just watched. Nath found it a bit loud, so we didn't stay too long.

Mainly brass instruments at this point

The boys were also able to become part of the art in several spots.  One of my favourites was the graffiti paintings of their faces.



Lights on the Museum of Contemporary Art

Across the Quay and over the throng

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