Monday, October 23, 2006

Back to "normal"

Back to what passes as normal in our life.

We had an excellent time on our trip. We drove down to Sydney on the Friday morning and left our car at Grant's place. He dropped us at Pennant Hills train station - so Billy had his first train ride into the city. We got off at Wynyard - a comfortable walk to the hotel (Old Sydney Holiday Inn in the Rocks) normally - but not with a heavy suitcase! We'd been up at the crack of dawn to drive down, so we ended up not doing a lot that afternoon. Went out to a Pizza place for tea - mmm, real pizza! Saturday we caught the ferry from Circular Quay around to Darling Harbour (Billy's first ferry ride) and went to the aquarium. It was quite good, and we were early enough to avoid the crowds, but Billy is a hands-on person and just looking isn't his cup of tea! We probably set a world record for the fastest time around the aquarium :)

We walked back to the room and after lunch Pete & I went over to the Opera House to watch "The Tempest" while a 'Dial-an-angel' babysitter looked after Billy. The play was excellent - it's the first time John Bell has been in one of his productions for years and he stole the show. I just wish there were more of the originals in the cast these days - people like Christopher Stollery, Sean O'Shea etc. The new casts still seem to be finding their feet.

Sunday was up bright and early to catch the shuttle bus at 6am over to the airport. Check-in was remarkably painless thanks to the "eTicket" touchscreens - it's the first time I've used them. The flight went well (Billy's first flight!) - no problems with his ears - and thanks to the novelty of everything, the stuff I'd packed for him to do (plus his new Dora drawer) and the kid's pack he got on board, he was fairly well entertained.

We arrived in Adelaide, picked up the hire car (again no problems - can you tell I was expecting something to go wrong?!), and started heading in the general direction of Emma's house. I rang her on the road to find out her address and get directions lol. We ended up meeting Dave and Vippy at a shopping centre not far from the freeway and followed them home. We visited at their place for a while, then went out to lunch at Grumpy's Brewhaus for yummy pizza. Back to their place for afternoon tea, a "cat hunt" and lots of chatting! Billy & Vippy played well together considering they'd only met once when they were about 18 mo (and they were both essentially only children up until Ashie was born).

The next day we headed for the Barossa Wine Region for a quick look around. We went via the giant Rocking Horse that you could climb up! One of us had to stay on the ground to take photos so I volunteered! One of the breweries Pete wanted to visit wasn't open until the weekend, but we did manage to get to Maggie Beer's to sample her wonderful sauces, pates etc. Down to the other side of Adelaide the next day for a look around at Goolwa (and a brewery tour at Steam Exchange), and Victor Harbour - both lovely, laid-back places.

We stayed at Glenelg Beach that night - we had been going to meet with Emma et al the next day but it was going to be about 35 deg C, Vippy wasn't well and she'd cut her foot on some glass! so we postponed it to Friday. We caught the tram (another first for Billy) into the city, had a look around at the mall, did a bit of shopping and came back out. The tram trip back out was a nightmare - packed to the rafters with school kids heading for the beach!

Thursday we headed up to Semaphore Beach to go on the steam train that didn't run due to the hot weather!, then over to Port Adelaide (another brewery tour) - they've really made it nice up there. We spent an hour or two at the Investigator Science Centre - it was very similar to the science part at our museum and Billy loved it! I even learned some things from the show :)

Friday we met up with Em, Vippy & Ashie at Brighton Beach. The wind was cold and it had started to rain by the time we left. The kids seemed to have a good time playing in the water but it was a bit too much by the end and we had a few tears on both sides :)

Saturday we headed back up to the Barossa to go to the brewery that wasn't open on our previous trip - good thing too as they were so helpful and we learnt so much from them. Sunday we finished our trip by visiting Hahndorf - an old German village. Very touristy but a pleasant way to spend a morning (and a great sausage lunch!). Our plane left in the afternoon - it was raining by the time we got back into Sydney. Fortunately Grant picked us up from the airport which saved us a fair bit of time. It was a late night home as it was.

A great trip - even though we ate too much and spent too much! It was great to see Emma & Dave again, see how much Velouria had grown and see the new addition Asherah!

The next day Pete headed off on his brewing course, and I picked Charlene and Eve up at the train station in Newcastle. We first met Charlene (daughter) and Eve (Mum) on our trip around Europe in 1999 and became firm friends. We stayed with them when we went over to NZ a few years later. It was great to see them - it was just like we had seen each other only a few months ago, not years. We didn't do a lot - a bit of shopping, had a look around Morpeth, and watched a few DVDs. They left again on Thursday.

I think the house is finally back to normal - all the washing & ironing done, the grocery shopping done and the suitcases away!