Monday, August 24, 2015

Going out with a bang

After an epic two year adventure, we just had to go out with a bang. And no better way to do that then to take a month long vacation. Our first stop was Australia. It's not always fun waking up at 4:30 am for a flight, but watching that sun rise sure makes it worth it. 

We landed in Sydney late that morning then spent most of the day getting the campervan, SIM cards, groceries and stocking up on sleeping bags and other life necessities for a 17 day roadtrip. And sat in a parking lot with a screaming 3 year old with an ear ache. We sat there debating what to do, we were in a foreign country and had no insurance and I wasn't quite sure what the best option was. Then Maddox made up this silly song to make him laugh and just like that he was better. Kinda bizarre, but really grateful we didn't have to go to the doctors and get him on antibiotics. We navigated our way around and made only a few stops, like St Mary's Cathedral and Hyde park, where I stayed in the illegally parked campervan while Jason took the kids since I had already been. Cities are not very campervan parking friendly, or campervan driving friendly. Jason did an awesome job navigating those streets in that beast, only clipping the mirror on the back of a bus one time.

It wasn't until that evening that we finally got settled with a dinner of skillet BBQ chicken sandwiches in the campervan while parked at the top of Observation Hill at sunset.

Jason was completely wiped out after a long night of toilet papering and volunteered to put Ryder to bed while I went exploring with the others. When I was planning my Sydney trip with Melissa I remember coming across pictures from the Vivid Sydney festival and thought it would be so cool to be there for that. I had forgotten about it until we were driving around the city and kept seeing flags advertising the festival. I googled it and was so excited to see that we just happened to be there smack dab in the middle of the festival. We couldn't have planned it any better. I felt bad that Jason missed it, it really was so incredible. There were different art installations around the city, but the city itself was the main event. The buildings were alive with pulsing neon lights. The crowds filling the streets made the evening warmer than it actually was and the energy in the air was tangible. I've never experienced anything like it. Okay, except maybe Times Square.

It was an incredible night, only ruined slightly by Maddox crying about being thirsty and I didn't have my wallet to get him a drink. And then crying about all the walking. Buuuuut besides that, it was a pretty top notch way to see Sydney for their first time.

We hit the pillow hard that night. It was such a long day, especially after a sleepless night, but it was such an awesome start to our Australia adventure. Unfortunately we got a pretty restless night's sleep because it was absolutely freezing at night. The campervan has heat, but it only works when it's hooked up to a power campsite and those just don't exist in the middle of downtown Sydney. Not to mention our $15 Kmart sleeping bags weren't exactly very insulated. We slept on the side of the road on Observation Hill and woke up before the sun. We drove around waiting for the regular car heater to heat up and thaw us out a little. We found ourselves at Bondi beach. I sat in the front passenger seat with Ryder in his footed pajamas on my lap. I balanced a bowl of cocoa puffs for him to eat, the heater blasting through our matted bed head while we slowly watched the world come alive. The pastel sunrise, the early morning joggers, the diligent dog walkers and dedicated first wave surfers. And the crazies who were taking an early morning swim in the middle of the freezing winter. It made for some good people watching and a beautiful start to the day.

I had read about a light house hike, but we never did find the trail. But we did get a little sidetracked with some other trails and sights.

We did find an equally beautiful lighthouse that we didn't even have to hike to

I'm so glad I got a chance to explore the nitty gritty of Sydney with Melissa earlier, because hoofing it through the streets with four kids isn't necessarily mine, or Jason's, idea of a vacation. And I'll tell you what, exploring a big city like Sydney is a completely different animal when you're in a 6 berth campervan. But I was still excited to show them some of the sights, like the Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour, where we let them do some souvenir shopping which was like the highlight of their entire trip.

There's the PWC building in the background, this could have been our life....

Sydney was just as beautiful and vibrant as the last time, so glad I got to share it with my favorite people. It was an awesome experience, but I think we were all ready to get off the crowded streets and explore the wide open outback.