And the winner is…Sydney. The prize? Having us come and stay for the best part of a week. We just had to get there first and who doesn’t love a good road trip? We’re lucky that the boys are so used to travelling long distances, they can amuse themselves quite well with some Justine Clark and Alex Papps cds and giving a running commentary on absolutely everything that they can see out their windows. We struck trouble just outside of Albury/Wodonga which was only one hour into our trip on the second day. Bede was so taken with the mountains (Little Desert boy!) that when we went past them, he chucked a massive wobbly and no other mountain or promise of an undulating landscape would placate him. We stopped for a coffee, a quick walk and reset.
When we eventually made it to the outskirts of Sydney, Shane said ‘oh can you just put the address in your phone for directions?’ Nothing grinds my gears more. He knows that directions and numbers aren’t my strong points and he knows that we inevitably end up in some kind of passive aggressive stand off yet insists on winging it every time we go somewhere new. Add to this, me being absolutely busting to go to the toilet and Shane missing the turn TWICE. When we pulled into reception I flew out the door faster than I’ve ever moved but not before calling him Kel Knight – (for any “Kath and Kim” fans playing along at home).
The reason we were in the city with the bridge was because Shane had to go to a conference for work and so the boys and I would be exploring the city on our own by day. Which sounds fine, even lovely, in theory. I’d only been to Sydney twice before once for the Olympics in 2000 which was bloody amazing but I took no notice of my surroundings or geography and had tunnel vision for people wearing track suits who may have been famous athletes. So it’s safe to say that this was definitely not my natural environment. Add to this two freshly minted three year olds with a penchant for running in opposite directions and the challenges were beginning to dawn on me. I’d foolishly packed the double stroller as opposed to the pram – subtle but important difference – and I was definitely up against it. In the first instance, the boys are way too tall for it. Their brand new boots now have a nice angle carved into the front of them from scraping along the ground in protest at being fenced in. The handles are really low. They were really heavy. And Sydney is a little bit more up hill and down dale than I’m used to. But we made it to everywhere we planned to go and then some and had a really ace time, mostly at the museums which we visited twice. When we got to the Powerhouse Museum, the staff suggested that the boys would love The Wiggles exhibition and I’ve got to admit I didn’t even know it was on but thought ‘oh yeah, that will be great’. A sentiment not shared by the boys. They screamed, threw themselves on the floor and said ‘I don’t like The Wiggles, it makes me feel sick, take me to the rockets’. In an attempt at idle conversation and to distract myself from the hill I was pushing them up, I started telling them things that we might see at the museum, so it was possibly my fault a little bit but gee whiz it was so embarrassing as all these other parents had their Wiggles loving kids happily sitting in the Big Red Car.
But it wasn’t all tricky. Just outside our apartment was Lord of the Fries and I really love that place and now even Shane is converted to their Halal snack pack. And then on the way home, when Shane had asked me to ‘just put Yarrawonga in so it gets us out of the city’ and we took a wrong turn, (because I’m also not very good at estimating distance so I thought we were supposed to turn but clearly, we weren’t) we ended up driving past the Annandale Hotel which has hosted the likes of The Whitlams, Custard and Pinky Beecroft and The White Russians. Probably as iconic as the bloody bridge. And eventually we worked out how to get home and here we are, awaiting the next adventure.