Sunday, February 19, 2012

First Weekend in Sydney

Saturday morning we slept in, did homeschool, ate lunch, and headed for the Olson’s, a family from Ladera that also just moved to Sydney last summer.  First we went to the train station to buy weekly tickets for Katka and Misa.  The public transportation tickets are expensive here if you buy them for single trips, but the weekly pass is an amazing deal.  It works for all of the trains in zone 1, which includes 99% of everywhere we want to go, plus it includes all of the busses in the entire city, and all of the ferries, including the 30 minute ferry to Manly.  Given there is a ferry stop and train station right by our apartment, we are perfectly situated.

After getting the weekly passes we found a “bottle store” and bought a bottle.  By coincidence it had some wine in it from Monkey Bay in New Zealand.  Then a short walk to the wharf and we caught the ferry to Circular Quay.  They pronounce “Quay” as “key” and are not sure what it means anyway.  First of all, a quay is “a wharf or reinforced bank where ships are loaded or unloaded.”  Yet there are streets all over Sydney named “Quay.”  I guess most of them are near the water, or in cities near the water, but many of them are not wharfs or reinforced banks.

From Circular Quay we caught the ferry to Manly.  It all took much less time than expected, so we had a coffee break in Manly for 30 minutes before catching a bus to the Olson’s.  It turned out to be one of the best weekends of the trip so far because of them.  First of all, they are extremely nice people, very friendly, and good conversationalists.  They live in a beautiful house with a view of one of the bays on that side of Sydney.  But maybe even more importantly they have a daughter Michaela’s age.  We were having so much fun we totally lost track of time and didn’t catch the ferry back to Circular Quay until 9:30.

Sunday morning we got up and did half of Misa’s homeschool work for the day, and headed back over to Manly.  Misa was going to meet the Olson’s daughter Christian to hang out for the day while Katka and I went shopping for some apartment essentials.  We caught the ferry to Circular Quay from our apartment, but then when we got to the ferry for Manly there was a line with hundreds of people in it.  First, the day was beautiful so everyone was headed to the beach, and it was the last day of the Australian Open Surfing Championships at Manly, so huge crowds were headed there for the finals.  So we had to wait for the second ferry before we got on.  While we waited in line and on the ferry we finished homeschooling.

When we got to Manly the Olson’s recommended we go to shops over there that they knew would have decent selection and prices, so we left Misa and Christian and went to lunch with the rest of the Olson family.  Then they dropped us off at the mall, we did our shopping, and then they picked us up and took us to the beach were Misa ended up after eating lunch and exploring Manly.  We hung out there until 6:00 and then headed home.  Once we got home it was a quick shower, dinner, email and blog, and off to bed.

So if the rest of our time in Australia is half as good as the first weekend it should be great.