A Travellerspoint blog

Heading home

Back to Florida


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We had an amazing vacation and adventure as a family and with our friends. Something that I will never forget or undervalue! There are few people that can travel so well together and I was so happy to share this trip and memories with our friends the Huberts! <3

I think we were all a little excited to go home and relax too. Speaking of relaxing I thought this was a nice way of reminding you to relax even at the airport - it's hard to see but for the status of flights on time they put 'relax'
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One last fast car for Emery to enjoy at the airport
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in line for tickets
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And we're off - be there in 17 hours
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When we got to Dallas we had missed our original flight because of a delay from Sydney and were in line for tickets on the next flight. However, when we got to the agent we were 5 minutes past the deadline to check bags. Luckily the Huberts made it on and were headed to Tampa. The next flight out was in the morning and was a direct flight and since Alan and Sandy live in Dallas we were secretly happy to have missed our flight. We got to spend the evening and a short morning with them. They enjoyed hearing all about our trip. Since we arrived in the state on July 4th we got to go with Alan and Sandy to see fireworks. Great way to be welcomed home!
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We finally arrived back at our house in Tampa on July 5th and picked up my mom from the airport since she was taking the kids up to NY with her and Grandpa B for nearly 3 weeks. Luckily we had a few days to unpack, unwind and try to get back on eastern standard time before they left. More adventures for Emery and Harper in the weeks to come!

Posted by spbjohnson 16:18 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney flying trips friends fireworks adventures dallas alan home_sweet_home memories july_4th Comments (0)

Last Day in Sydney

Adventures of Sarah and Rachael

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So for our last full day in Sydney the group split up and did different things. Dave, Tracey and Jason went on a self guided tour of downtown Sydney; Joel, Emery, Zachary and Harper went to Bondi Beach and several parks, and Sarah and Rachael tested out mattresses.

As I am Sarah, I pictures from Rachael and I testing mattress and strolling over the Sydney Harbour bridge, a few from Joel's adventures and at the time of writing this none for Dave's adventures. But I plan to post another entry or two after this with miscellaneous pictures that didn't get in earlier so hopefully there will be some of their adventures then.

But for Rachael and I we first started out by testing some latex mattress (we really know how to sight see!).
This is us in our Uber, hoping we've given the driver the correct address - you can see how concerned we are.
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It only gets sillier from here on out :)

Then we went to lunch at a nice little courtyard eatery
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From there we decided to walk back to downtown Sydney and cross over the bridge
But first we enjoyed a few funny Aussie signs - to start things off it was the Stuffed Beaver
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Followed by...
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Flaky Tart is Rachael's code name!

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this is my impression of one of the walking symbols

On our way to find the pedestrian bridge crossing our GPS kept telling us to go down dark alleys but we followed them anyways. We joked that instead of the GPS we were in an app for where to get mugged.
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See how frightened we look!

We managed to find the bridge over the harbour
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We got one normal picture in
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and then the silliness really picked up
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The last few are our attempts to take one of those great pictures of a person mid air - nearly nailed it (I blame the laughing)

Finally made it to the other side of the bridge!
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Why did 2 Americans cross the Sydney Harbour bridge? To find a pub!

We were so thirsty from our travels so we ordered a schooner each (Flaky Tart switched to mulled wine later). I enjoyed a hard apple cider - Cheers
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We were having a great time so Rachael pushed back her departure time for the bus and we ordered another round and what turned out to be DELICIOUS nachos! The food happened to arrive while Rachael was seeing a man about a wallaby so I may have started without her.
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You can see the remorse in my eyes if you look closely. ;)

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Round 2 - the bartenders just loved us! Also, at some point around this time we may have done a live FB post. My apologies to all who happened to witness that silliness.

We had been noticing how unique the pub we were at was and so then we turned up the silliness while exploring. We found out that it was also a hotel when we snuck upstairs and snooped around.

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Rachael found a couple of friends to hang out with for a bit

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And here is our attempt at a kangaroo expression. Comment below whose a better kangaroo! :)

The pub was a historic bar from the 1900s when it was illegal for men and when to drink in the same room so there was a bar for the women and a bar for the men.Here are our best parlor expressions (it soon gets far worse...they could probably hear us giggling upstairs)
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Just enjoying my hard cider in the lady's parlor where there are pictures of naked women
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i wonder who was in charge of the decor choices...LOL
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Luckily we did not get kicked out and managed to Uber ourselves home, where Rachael pushed back her bus departure once again and we went out for some tacos and ice skating. :)

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Ice skating in Sydney with a view of Bondi Beach

On the way there we got to see a few flying foxes in the trees!
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Taco place was yummy and Rachael couldn't get over the amazing smoked-something-or-other salsa in her taco. IMG_3413.jpg
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But then it was time to say good-bye (no more pushing back the departure time anymore she was on the last bus to Canberra). We had such a fun last day and can't wait to see her again!
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Posted by spbjohnson 15:27 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney bridge adventures ice_skating tacos rachael bondi_beach schooner parlor flaky_tart hard_apple_cider latex_mattress Comments (0)

Exploring the Blue Mountains

A trip up the mountain


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Today we explored the Blue Mountains - something I got to do 25 years ago as an exchange student. I hiked 4 days, biked 5 and canoed 2 days all self sufficient. Pack in, pack out. It was pretty intense. This trip was a different way to see the mountains and it was just as beautiful. The 9 of us hopped on the bus to the train station and then rode the train for 2hours up the mountain to Katoomba. On the way, we heard a loud thud on the top of the train and realized that those falling rock signs are there for a reason.

Once we made it to Katoomba and got our tickets to ride the hop on, hop off bus we found a delicious restaurant and fueled up. We then headed over to the main location and road the sky rail, cable car, and world’s steepest railway! We even took a short hike to see the lookout for the 3 Sisters.

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the train station to go up the mountain

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The view from the train, I think you can see the city skyline way out in the distance.

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The bustling city of Katoomba. A bit chilly and cloudy but still intriguing and sweet.

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The hotel/restaurant that we had lunch at before exploring. Harper found this need little lamp with beads that had a lot of characater.

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The steepest railway in the world! The attendant joined in our selfie while we waited! :) Will post the video of the ride (slow but steep) on Facebook later.

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Several photos from the bottom of the railroad stop. From here we walked on a boardwalk to the cable car that took us back up the gift shop/cafe/toilets.

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Views from along the path to the cable car.

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They had a cool green screen where they took our photos and then put backgrounds on them. I’ll post more in a later blog with miscellaneous photos that I didn’t have at the time of the blog writing.

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Back up in the shop they sold placenta cream which is a bit strange don’t you think?

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Here are the views from the cafe area.

From here we took the skyway car across the gorge to a place to hike out to the lookout.
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This is a picture of Katoomba Falls which is the 2nd largest waterfall in Australia and 4x taller than Niagra Falls

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We had our own personal tour guide named Harper to lead us along the path and point out things along the way. She’s designing her website now ;)

Once we got to Echo Point lookout and saw more amazing views! You just couldn’t take a bad picture up here.
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After catching the last bus back to town, we grabbed another bite to eat and then got on the bus back to Sydney.

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My wonderful husband even got me a sprig of lavender <3

Next blog entry will be about our last ful day in Sydney

Posted by spbjohnson 14:28 Archived in Australia Tagged trains nature hiking waterfall katoomba railway adventures cable_car blue_mountains three_sisters echo_point Comments (0)

Exploring more of Sydney - Opera House and Botanical Gardens

My Australian birthday


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Now that we had our bus tickets and our bestie Rachael we all went downtown Sydney and walked along the harbor.
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Photos at the bus stop

We saw a few street performers along the harbor walk - one man levitating and one painting a large mural of the harbor scene on canvas

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Here’s the golden man levitating - kids were very interested!

Then Rachael directed us to a nice seafood place on the harbor for lunch where she, Dave and Tracey enjoyed an oyster shot while Joel and I watched and cheered!

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I think the photo of Rachael above is her talking to her oyster and telling it how there won’t be any shenanigans on the way down. ;)

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Emery was impressed by the length of the chips in Australia!

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Cheers to my 40th birthday in Australia!!

After we were completely stuffed we headed over to the Opera house and the Botanical Gardens
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A series of pictures in front of the Opera House

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Giant fig tree in the garden

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The pond where someone gave Harper some bread to feed the duck but then the fish and eels took over. I was tempted to touch one but whenever I put my hand close to the water they would tip their heads up and swim up out of the water. So I chickened out and just teased them with my finger. LOL

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As we were leaving the gardens the sun was setting and we walked by St Mary’s Cathedral and into Hyde Park where Rachael had a deep conversation with Joel (at least judging by the picture) and had the kids dancing.

Before heading back we needed to use the restroom (in Australia they refer to it as the toilets), so Rachael had us go into a fancy pants mall. After the toilets we did a bit of browsing in the shoe department.

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If they weren’t $400 we would have gotten a pair of the feathery ones and butterflies.

We headed back to the house and stopped at the beer store and got some take away pizza to enjoy for my birthday dinner. Then I was surprised by a homemade birthday cake, birthday hat, ice cream, and peanut butter and chocolate candy! My hubby organized it and cooked it and the kids decorated it! I’m not sure where the pictures of the cake are but it was delicious!
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Harper told me that my birthday hat made me look like a “unicorn born special”. LOL There were also sparklers and I managed to stay up to 11:30pm!!

Best way to celebrate my 40th birthday! I also celebrated my 16th birthday in Australia so it was fun to come back and celebrate again 24 years later with wonderful friends and family!

Next adventure will be the trip to the Blue Mountains (never heard of the Blue Mountains you should watch The Man from Snowy River!)

Posted by spbjohnson 15:55 Archived in Australia Tagged trees sydney gardens park plants cake cathedral shoes opera crayfish birthday botanical sparklers hyde oysters rachael 40th Comments (0)

Back to Sydney

The beginning of our last leg of trip


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So we headed back to Sydney on Friday to stay at a house near Bondi Beach (arguably the most famous beach in Australia). We arrived at night and the house was nice but chilly. Not nearly as warm as it was in Palm Cove. :) In the morning Emery and I explored the area on our way the grocery store and stopped in for a bite to eat at the local coffee shop. He was so excited to be here and to see all the new things!

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Here he is holding up the houses on our way to the grocery store

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Also he loved this dog because it reminded him of a meme he likes

We found a small grocery store and got some goodies, headed back and had breakfast with everyone. Rachael was on her way up via bus from Canberra too. We decided to go to the zoo and headed out around noon to catch the bus, to the ferry, to the sky rail and finally to the zoo! What was neat was that this zoo had animals that our Lowry Park zoo didn’t have including a tiger! On the ferry ride over we got some great looks at the Opera house!
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This is on the dock waiting for our ferry to take us to the zoo

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This was some sort of old car that we saw waiting for our bus. One thing that Emery has enjoyed is learning the new cars over here

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These are the great views on our ferry ride to the zoo! The opera house and the bridge; if you look closely at the bridge picture you can probably see people walking on the main part and on the top part.

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Docking at the zoo

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We took a short hike up the from the ferry to the cable car. On the way I managed to snag a picture of Dave without him knowing :)

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The sun bear exhibit where the bear was moving all his burlap bags around for his bed time.

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Got to see a Gila monster all the way over in Australia

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Kids were impressed by the large size of this pelican!

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There was a whole exhibit of different small nocturnal animals and we were lucky enough to come through right after they had been fed. This is a picture of some of the jumping mice. I tried to get a picture of the mice that were running up and down the trees but couldn’t because they were so fast. I think I could have sat and watched them for hours. They were so tiny and cute (as small as Harper’s dwarf hamster and just as cute!)

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Best picture of a kookaburra and it was even wild! Just happened to want to hang out in the sun bear exhibit.

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A view of the city from across the harbor at Taronga Zoo

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Our ferry trip back to Sydney and some hungry gulls begging for a handout!

After we got back we met Rachael at the house and she and I went out for dinner and drinks. We ended up at a speakeasy since the main, local, young crowd was too loud for us! Afterwards we walked home and saw a flying fox bat in a tree below. I tried to get a picture while Rachael managed the car traffic as I stood in the road. Not sure if you can see it but I can tell you has the most adorable face in the world!

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Plans for the following days including walking around the botanical gardens and the opera house and exploring the Blue Mountains!

Posted by spbjohnson 15:17 Archived in Australia Tagged kookaburra sydney australia zoo opera adventures ferry coffee traveling sunbear tarongo Comments (0)

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