I have not been a faithful blogger of late, for which I'm sorry, as it's been such a great way to record our lives, and Lolly growing and changing. I am thinking of using this blog as a place to write more about the everyday-ness of parenting, so will be exploring some of that in future. But til then, here is a condensed (kind of) version of our trip to Sydney! Excuse the photos, I took my good camera, but didn't even get it out of the bag! So these are from my phone.
DinnerDad had a conference he decided to go to, so Lolly and I hitched a ride with him, courtesy of our frequent flyer points. We stayed at a great apartment/hotel, Mantra 2 Bond, which was very nice, and big enough in the room to contain a toddler, thank the gods. We flew down Sunday, Lolly and I on a different flight to DinnerDad, and Lolly's first seat all by herself (as she's now 2)! All I can say is thank goodness, as flying down with a large restless kid on your lap was getting a little old. And also she was just adorable in her seat.
So we played, read books, snacked on biccies, and watched Wallace and Gromit on my laptop, all in all a good flight, she LOVED taking off and landing, looking round and out the window with big grins. Once we'd negotiated the train system and checked in, we all set off to Circular Quay for a wander round and look-see. And ice cream :D
Here's a happy kid playing in the hotel room.
Next day, I had planned to meet up with a lovely Sydney friend, but she was held hostage to a sick kiddo and a lurgy of her own, so Lolly and I soldiered on regardless, hiking down to Darling Harbour for a fantastic brekky, then to the Sydney Aquarium, where Lolly had THE BEST time, walking round looking at everything, exclaiming loudly over fish of all sorts, sharks, dugongs, whatever, she loved em all. Except for the divers in the big tanks cleaning, they were apparently visions of terror and she had to cover her eyes and demand "pick up, Mummy, I scared!" All together now....nawwwwwwwww
A crocidile "snap".
More fish girl.
DinnerDad rang us in time for lunch, he escaped his first day with a short session, so hung out with us intrepids for the rest of the day. Here is chocolate face girl at the Lindt cafe on the Harbour. Can I just add here, the mocha I had there was nom nom nom.
Which was mostly wandering round the Harbour, looking and wondering about the odd shops they have at Harbourside, the nature of capitalism, and walking calmly and slowly, all the better to get your kid to sleep in the stroller. Once she conked, we went back to the city via the Monorail (which I persist in loving despite it's tacky, expensive and uncool nature - it just reminds me of Expo '88). After grub awoke, we walked down to Circular Quay and popped into the Contemporary Art Museum on the Harbour, though most of it is closed, so a little underwhelming I have to say, and not great for kids. A walk round the Rocks, then we got pizza (which was apparently made of gold it was so expensive) and took it back to the room, where Lolly demolished a few slices (at least the toppings :D) and we generally wished we had got three instead of two and that DinnerDad makes better pizzas in his sleep.
Next day, still no friend as lurgy was on the increase :( so I reprised most of the previous day by taking Lolly back to the Harbour for Sydney Wildlife World - lol - what can I say, I got a discount ticket at the Aquarium, and Lolly loved the "toddler get down and walk and look at stuff" format, and it's air conditioned. So, after a detour to Myer to get some adorable new shoes for her (she got blisters in the old ones) that's what we did. Had to motor through the entrance though, it was an Invertebrate collection - eeeppp, not for the Arachnophobes, I kept Lolly in the stroller til we got to some more civilised creatures.
Lolly loved the night creature section (after getting past the scary bat sculpture), the mice, rats, and marsupial hoppy creatures, and the possums. She says Possum, (lol - actually, she had a whole "possum go sleep in roof up there" due to our sadly neglected possum issues here at home), but mostly called them "catpuss" which is her current name for our cat. She liked the snakes (sorry Mum!) and the wallabies.
They have a giant crocodile there, which she exclaimed muchly over, "croc-dile go snap snap", generally being the cutest thing on the planet all day :D - Lolly that is, not the crocodile. Here it is, this shot totally does not capture how friggin huge and scary it is - the crocodile, that is, not Lolly.
Here she is pressed up against the glass, I think this is the kangaroo enclosure (that was just sad, giant creatures in their little glass box, too sad).
We went off and made our way back to the hotel, but damn, she fell asleep before we got back and didn't transfer to the bed so that bit was a disaster. For me anyway, had been looking forward to some couch and book time. So after some lunch and sitting round watching her new favourite, Ice Age, 1 and 3, I've only just downloaded 2, it was only 3pm and there's no way I was waiting round in the room til DinnerDad finished for the day. So off we set again, for a long walk up through the city, through Hyde Park (gorgeous, but friggin no stroller accessible AT ALL other than on one side, much stunt driving to get back to the street) to get to the Australian Museum, where we got in free due to the late hour. Here's a shot of the walk up to the park, St Stephens Cathedral (I think :D). Just beautiful, especially as we're in the middle of the city here amid all the grunge and grime, you walk up into the park to be greeted with this. All very impressive and you can totally see why ye olde peeps were so impressed by god.
We checked out the dinosaurs (lolly is quite obsessed with Dinosaur-Roar's) which she loved, other than the huge skeleton at the end which had scary noises and lights, she covered her eyes for that one ("I scared"). And they had a cool skeleton exhibit, humans, fish, dogs, cats, etc. Lolly liked the "ant" or elephant and we had some good chats about how we all have bones inside us. There was a speccy wildlife photography exhibit too, we snuck in for free and the shots were amazing. Envious here :D After closing we set off back to walk across town to "find Dadda, where's Dadda, let's find Dadda," and so on. You'll be pleased to know we found him. Room service dinner of very average $20 hamburgers and salad. Early night from the Lollster due to no real nap. Phew!
Wednesday we set off again, had breakfast on Circular Quay. On the walk around the Quay, I saw everyone snapping pictures of the Bridge, and soon joined them, as it turns out the Bridge was in the middle of a cloud. Very ethereal and amazing, the rest of the sky was totally clear. The little tips at the top are the flags on the top of the Harbour Bridge.
So we had breakfast there, as I had foolishly thought that "it looks like a short walk up to the Art Gallery across the Botanical Gardens from the Opera House" - idiot! It was MILES and all uphill in the hot sun. blerg. And I was running late, as I was meeting some lovely online friends there for a catch up. Got there eventually (grumble stoopid map grumble grumble) and met up with several of my online friends at the Gallery. Now the Gallery is awesome. There was some work there by the HSC students that was just amazing, and I paid my moneys and saw the Archibald Prize entrants, too, which was good. I'd not seen them before so thought I'd catch it while I was there. The 19 and 20th century stuff is gorgeous, in the old wing of the original building, the Lord Leightons and Waterhouse, I love that shit. Lolly conveniently slept through all this art viewing, which was great for me as I went at adult pace not "OMG I'm so BORED" toddler speed. We found some lunch and met up with everyone at a little fenced park behind the swimming pool near there for a play, Lolly liked it, but needed lots of supervision as she taught herself to climb the ladder to the slide and slide down herself (two firsts for her - nawwwww). It was lovely to meet and re-meet some great women and their kids, who made us very welcome!
What goes (very slowly and usually with maternal assistance) up -
- must come doooooowwwwwwwnnnnnnn!!
Off back to the hotel, and we went out to a restaurant on the Harbour for tea, Chinese, which was average and expensive. I get so spoiled because DinnerDad is such a great cook and recently did a whole authentic China thing, so normal chinese at exhorbitant prices is hard to be happy about. Lolly liked the night time walk along the Quay. We stayed up to watch the SYTYCD final (luckily Robbie won, so now DinnerDad didn't have to threaten that "he'd never watch this show again" lol).
Thursday was our last day, we did our last packing and set off (DinnerDad had left with the main bag already), up to town, then on the monorail to the Powerhouse Museum, we ate a late breakfast at the playground cafe they have there. Then a tour of all the fantastic kid play spaces they have there (too quickly, we had to go catch our flight) and Lolly loved all that. Here she is in the building zone.
Then back on the monorail, to the train, to the plane. And off home. Lolly enjoyed the flight, but fell asleep just after we landed (after loudly saying "more bump bump bump" coz she loved the landing so much) which meant I had my great big bag, her bag with books and the computer in it, and a 20 kilo toddler to lug to the baggage area to get the stroller. It was not fun (though a channel 9 newsreader carried Lolly's bag for me most of the way, which was ace. We are reading the same book - lol). But I got there, and Lolly tranferred to the stroller, then to the car, then slept all the way home, which as a good friend M and I were saying, makes you feel like an awesome parent even though it really had nothing to do with me. All this was followed by explodingly excited dogs, and much TV watching all night.
Phew. It was so much fun, we saw heaps of touristy things, and Lolly had a BALL! Can't wait for our next impromptu adventure!!