Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A November trip to Queensland - the Brisbane bits

In late October Anto headed up to Brisbane to work for 3 weeks. It felt like he had only just returned from his month long US and UK work trip and he was off again.  This time, since he wasn't going to be quite so many thousands of kilometres away we thought we would join him for some of the trip.

After his first week of peace and solitude we headed up to Brisbane on a late Saturday afternoon flight. Even though we are regular fliers to Queensland this seemed to be a particularly long journey.  The flight was delayed leaving Canberra, then they had swapped the plane from a 717 with an i-pad entertainment system to a Dash-8 which, is slow, loud, and has no entertainment system for the 3 year old (and I had not packed anything to keep her amused assuming we'd have Peppa Pig on demand). Then we sat on the ground, with the air turned off, for an extra half an hour and finally had to circle Brisbane for awhile due to air traffic control issues in Brisbane.  It was a long flight and Astrid had to make do with reading the flight safety card over and over again...... much to the amusement of fellow passengers. Luckily my Mum had changed to the same flight so I had someone to chat to Astrid while I dealt with a wiggly Søren, who did end up sleeping most of the flight (as per usual).

We eventually met Anto at the airport, late and tired but happy to be finally there. We bid farewell to my Mum who was heading home to the Sunshine Coast and made our way to Anto's apartment (with only a little getting lost). The kids were way too excited to see their Dad, and had a great time trashing his apartment and staying up late eating dinner. Eventually they decided to sleep, but of course were up at the crack of Queensland dawn (aka barely 5am) to start our Sunday Brisbane adventure.

After breakfast we decided to head out for a walk and wandered towards the nearby Roma Street Park.  Astrid was keen for a play at the good looking playground, and Søren quickly realised that now he can stand up (if not actually walk) playgrounds are fun!

We eventually dragged the kids away from the playground and walked around the park some more.  We had a bit of a sit down under some lovely jacaranda trees and a walk around the large pond (where there were some huge lizards hiding in the scrub), and a squiz at the waterfall.  If it wasn't rapidly getting extremely hot we could have spent much longer playing there and exploring.

Søren had commenced napping in the ergo and Astrid was looking tired and hot so we headed off to catch a train to Southbank.  Trains are pretty exciting for 3 year-olds so Astrid's day was made (although she still requested a ferry trip to complete her day). We had a wander around the Southbank markets with a sleeping Søren. I managed to get at least one small bit of shopping (of course things for the kids) before Anto refused to let me look at any more stuff and instead we headed for the cool and some coffee and milkshakes in a cafe.

A bit more market shopping and it was time to catch the train back to the apartment for enforced kiddy napping time. It was now very hot, and we had afternoon activities planned so rest time it was.

After not quite enough rest for either child we headed out again in the heat for a brisk walk down to catch the ferry to Kangaroo point to listen to some music.  We of course took longer to get there than planned and missed the city hopper ferry we wanted, so had a bit of a wait for the next ferry. Astrid was excitedly watching all the other ferries go past and had been hanging out all day for her ferry ride.  Both kids loved the half hour journey down the river, even if the adults were over it quickly.

Once at Kangaroo point we sat in the shade, listened to some music and ate some bikkies.  After while the kids got restless we wandered to the nearby playground to have a play. It had the safest baby swing I have every seen, but Søren enjoyed it and it started his new love affair with swings.

We eventually dragged Astrid and Søren away from yet another playground (we were the mean parents apparently) and caught the slightly shorter ferry route back.  A 15 minute walk in the hot and we made it back to the apartment.  A quick pack and we were in the car for the drive to the Sunshine Coast.  Both kids refused napping in the hour long drive (much to our surprise given their tiredness) but were chipper again once they arrived at their Grandparents place.

It was another late night by the time they calmed down, ate dinner and got to bed, but the tiredness eventually kicked in.  Anto had to be back in Brisbane for work for the week but headed back at silly o'clock on the Monday morning. Lucky for him the kids were up nice and early to see him leave!

More about Astrid and Søren's Sunshine Coast swimming and eating adventures in the next post. For now I'll finish our Brisbane adventures. On the Friday we had arranged to head back to Brisbane to collect Anto so he could spend the weekend with us on the Sunshine Coast. I had also arranged a catch up with my friends Tania and Michelle.

We were meeting Tania and Michelle for lunch at QUT, where Tania works.  After a long drive down to Brisbane, where Astrid blissfully napped and Søren was very, very cranky, we eventually located parking -  and Michelle and Tania (only a bit later than what we hoped).  We headed to a cafe on campus where we had lunch and a chat and we finally all got to meet Eloise, Michelle's new addition who had arrived since our last catch-up.

All too soon Michelle and Tania had to depart and Mum and I took the kids for a walk through the Botanical Gardens and to the playground. Do you notice a theme with playgrounds? On the walk through the Botanic Gardens we noticed a huge lizard beside one of the tracks. I stopped and asked Astrid if she could see something. She whispered 'yes'. When I asked what she saw, she whispered back excitedly - 'it's a dinosaur'.  Cracking up several passers by.

Leaving the dinosaur we headed to the playground. It was very hot and very bright and we'd accidentally left the kids hats in the car, so it wasn't going to be a long play. Søren is now a huge fan of slippery dips and swings and was thoroughly enjoying himself. Astrid had a go on everything and then made friends with a random 8 year old girl until we dragged her off to go find Anto (again I wasn't her favourite parent for making her leave).

After only minor getting lost on the QUT campus we located the car, and had a fight with the GPS and it's lack of signal, but eventually made it to Anto's apartment where he was waiting to head back up the Coast.  Despite leaving Brisbane not too late, it was long and slow drive back.  We eventually made it in time for dinner (even if the kids missed their customary afternoon swim). Astrid was placated with the suggestion of a beach outing with her Dad the next day.  More about that later.

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