Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’

Sydney in a whirl

November 11, 2012

We’re just back from a 3-day trip to Sydney.  Quite the jet-set, you may think, but the reason was a sad one, a family funeral.  However, it was a lovely funeral for a wonderful man – a great-uncle to our children –  and a loving family gathering.  The children met second-cousins they had never seen (and some they had never heard of), and found things in common beyond looks and and great-grandparents.  The parents renewed old acquaintance (and made new) with cousins and cousins-in-law, catching up on several years of news that hadn’t made the Christmas letters.

In the brief period before and after the funeral, we enjoyed being in Sydney as always.  It was warm, and quite muggy, and we didn’t need to carry cardigans let alone warm jackets.  We sat outside to eat in a Japanese restaurant near our hotel, and the children were enchanted to find blankets provided on their seats.  The waitresses charmed and were charmed by the kids, particularly Babess, whom they sneaked up on to wrap her up in a bright red blanket, and to tickle the back of her neck just to hear her giggle.

We barely escaped being caught in a spectacular storm, dashing the last 30m or so to a covered walkway as the huge raindrops started.  We spent about 15 minutes on that walkway as lightning flashed and thunder boomed, shaking the ground.  Then the hail started, pea-sized lumps of ice pelting down.  Fainjin was delighted, rushing to pick up the hailstones which ricocheted into the walkway off adjacent building walls.  Babess was petrified and bawled, despite my best efforts to calm and soothe her with cuddles and words in her ear which she probably couldn’t hear over the roar of the hail on the iron roof.

We discovered that the Wiggles exhibition is still on at the Powerhouse.  We had seen it last time we were in Sydney, and the kids loved it.  The adults found it rather… overwhelming, after a while.  I had thought (hoped?) it was a temporary installation, but apparently not.  Fortunately for our sanity, this time the novelty was less and we were able to explore some other parts of the museum after only an hour or so.

We had a lovely picnic in the park with Grandma & Grandad, family photos, defending our lunch from encroaching ibis, and children running around with Uncle G to explore.

Three days was just enough for us to start getting used to the 2-hour time difference, and need to readjust now we’re home.  Getting everyone up and out the door to school and work tomorrow might be a challenge!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.



Bear’s big adventure

April 11, 2012

Last year when we went to Sydney, Green Bear came too of course.  He mostly stayed at the hostel when we went out, although he might have seen one or two of the playgrounds we visited.

On our last day, we had to leave early in the morning, so The Dad and I packed the night before.  Green Bear went into one of the carry-on bags, but had to come out again to sleep with Fainjin.  In the morning, we got the children up, dressed them, stripped the beds and took the linen down to reception, left the duvets piled on the beds, checked under the beds and in all the cupboards for any forgotten items, and left while it was still dark.

A couple of hours later, on the plane, I noticed that Babess’ baby doll was in my bag, but Green Bear wasn’t.   “Do you have Green Bear?” I asked The Dad quietly.  He looked in his bag.  “Nooo…”  We wondered whether Fainjin had put Green Bear in his own little bag.  I checked.  Nope.

I wondered whether to bring it up.  We were still half-way through our trip, and I didn’t want Fainjin to be upset about losing his bear, if he had.  But I thought he might have put Green Bear in one of the checked bags.  So as we walked through the second airport on the way to our next plane, I casually asked, “Hey Fainjin, do you know where Green Bear is?”

Fainjin looked at me and giggled.  “He’s hiding!” he said conspiratorially.

“Hiding?!” I had a sick feeling in my stomach.  “Hiding where?”

“At the hostel!  Heee heee hee!”

“Fainjin… we’re not going back to the hostel.  We’re not even going back to Sydney!”

“I know!  Hee hee!  He’s having a – hee hee! – adbenture!”

He certainly was.  It turned out Fainjin had hidden the bear in one of the piled-up duvets.  Luckily the hostel were very kind and understanding and posted him back to us.  It took a couple of weeks to get him back, but Fainjin was supremely unconcerned the whole time.  He was perfectly happy knowing that he had sent his bear on a big adventure!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


Darling Harbour Playground (updated with photos)

October 19, 2011

Forget climbing the Harbour Bridge, or visiting the Opera House.  If you are visiting Sydney you must go to the playground at Darling Harbour.  If you don’t have kids, borrow some from a friend.

We didn’t even see the whole playground (which is enormous) – we got “stuck” in the water-play area.  After about an hour I suggested to Fainjin that we investigate the rope-climbing, but he tossed “No! I’m having too much fun!” over his shoulder at me as he scampered along the water-course yet again.

scampering and having too much fun

At the top of the slope there are pumps of several descriptions, and a little water-wheel, and some fountains from which the water runs downhill in several channels, never more than ankle-deep.  Children can change the flow  by opening or closing gates or lifting sluice-gates.  There is an Archimedes’ Screw, which I was fascinated to see working, and Babess loved the Water Scoop, about twice as high as she is but she could still turn it.

Babess at the water-scoop - already soaking wet from the waist down!

I think if we had visited this playground on our first day here, the children would have tried to ensure we never went anywhere else.  I’d like to think we could go there every day for a week and play in a different area each time (slides! swings! whirly things! sand and diggers! rope-climbing! the flying fox!) but honestly, I think we’d end up in the water every time.

One of the things I loved was seeing little kids enjoying it so much and parents not worrying about how wet they got.  It was warm enough that it didn’t matter.  Some kids had togs (swimsuits), some had stripped down to their undies, a few were naked, some were soaking wet in their clothes – and no-one minded a bit.  And, as I heard one mother comment, “It doesn’t matter – if you get too wet we’ll just go to the markets and get you an outfit.”  Indeed, we had been to the markets (5 min walk away) that morning and Babess wore her $10 outfit – t-shirt, dress, hat and matching bag – home from the water-play area.

Make sure you have plenty of sun-screen.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


October 18, 2011

We are in Sydney (Australia) at the moment, visiting family and having a great time.

Today we took a ferry over to Watson’s Bay, where we went for a walk along the cliff-tops of The Gap to look at the surprisingly small entrance to Sydney Harbour, enjoyed the playground (away from the cliff-top!), then had lunch at a delightful cafe in the local library.

While climbing up to the cliff-top, Fainjin noticed the sandstone boulders adjacent to the path, and enthused, “Hey Dad! I can do some rock-climbing!”

He chose a boulder of about his own height, and attempted to scale it, but found it was a bit too smooth at first attempt.  He stood back, regarded it carefully, then tutted.  “Dat’s the wrong rock.”

Luckily, The Dad was more than happy to lend a hand, and the pair of them scaled the “wrong” rock and then the one above it, only to re-join us a few minutes later flushed with their success.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


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