Saturday, 24 April 2010

Saturday 10/4

Over a leisurely breakfast, we discussed where to go and what to see today. Alex was pushing (really hard!!) to go to the Powerhouse Museum so we decided to head into the city on the train and take it from there.

We arrived at the train station to see one just leaving and were a bit concerned that we would have an hour's wait for the next one. I was looking around for a timetable when I realised there
was actually a manned (personed?) ticket booth with a friendly helpful looking person inside.

After overcoming my shock at there actually being someone around to help (a very unlikely situation on most Perth train stations!), I asked if there was such a thing as a family daytripper ticket. Miss Smiley Face in the booth (whatever she was on, I want some!!) replied that indeed there was and proceeded to sell me one at the jaw dropping price of $45.40. It was about then that I realised we weren't in Kansas Perth anymore. The same thing in Perth would cost less than $10!! Thinking this over later, I did come to the conclusion that there are a lot more trains, buses and ferries in Sydney than Perth could ever aspire to, so maybe the cost was justified after all.

The 9:40 double decker train on the 'light blue' line arrived soon after and the boys were fascinated with the seat backs that flipped over so you could change the direction you were facing. We did a deal with them that we would travel on the bottom level into the city and the top level on the way home, but only if they stopped changing all the seats and just sat down.

It took us just over an hour to get to the central station (there's something like 9 stations in the main CBD) and, after fighting our way through the lemmings people who knew where they were going, we emerged from the bowels of the Earth into the sunshine and headed for the Powerhouse Museum. When the tourist guides said that it was an easy five minute walk from Central, they must have used one of the Olympics' competitive walkers as a guide, because fifteen minutes later, we arrived at the very non-descript building and made our way inside.

I paid the $30 for us all to get in (forgetting to use the discount coupon I had specifically brought with me .. duh!) and we set off to explore. It is the kind of place you could easily spend a whole day or two in and still not see everything. Of course some things didn't interest the boys, or us, but we had a great time checking out the 'Back to the 80's' exhibit. Many great memories for Peter and I and the kids had wonderful fun trying to play all the old video games like Frogger, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong in their original formats on the original equipment. There were so many kids there, all fascinated with the fact that this was as good as it got back then! We spent about 3 hours wandering around, had a quick snack then checked out the souvenir shop. Total and utter waste of space unless you wanted designer home wares or very expensive toys. It was like a high-end department store instead of a souvenir shop. Not one thing was branded as coming from the Powerhouse Museum which kind of defeats the purpose of calling it a souvenir shop, in my opinion.

We walked back to Central station and caught the train over to Darling Harbour to check out the Harbour Bridge (from the ground this time) and The Sydney Opera House. It was getting quite warm so we treated the boys to an ice cream as we walked around to Bennelong Point, where the Opera House is.

There was some sort of triathlon going on, so a lot of the walkways were fenced off to protect people from the bikes speeding past, but we managed to get the boys onto the steps of the Opera House for a photo. If you squint really hard, you may be able to see them up there somewhere...

We then took a walk around to the other side of the Opera House to get out of the sun before heading back to to the train station. We had planned on taking the train across the Harbour Bridge to visit Luna Park, but Peter suggested we take the ferry instead. As you may or may not know, Peter has a 'thing' about boats so this was a very generous offer on his behalf and the boys jumped at the chance. We caught the 3:45 ferry and I realised why Peter thought he would be able to handle the trip .. it took literally five minutes!
We took the obligatory tourist photos out the front of Luna Park and then made our way inside (something with free entry .. yay!) to check it all out. The last time I came here as a kid, it was closed for the season, so it was good to be able to go in and see what all the fuss was about.
I'm still not sure what all the fuss is about, as everything costs an arm, leg and a kidney and was so crowded, there was a 20 minute queue for a bag of fairy floss, let alone the rides! We gave the boys some money but they were soon back complaining that it wasn't worth spending all their money on one ride .. taught them well! .. and they didn't want to wait 40 minutes for a five minute ride. We grabbed some food instead (goodbye kidney .. it was nice knowing you!) and then sat down quietly for a while.

Andrew had started complaining of feeling unwell, so he had a rest on Pete's lap while the other two and I browsed the souvenir shop. Peter got a travel mug with Luna Park on it, but the boys couldn't find anything they wanted so we left and just managed to catch the 5:31 ferry back across to Circular Quay. It was a lot rougher crossing the harbour this time and we were all glad to get off at the other end. After we got off, I noticed that the ferry was named Alexander so that may explain the difference!

We walked back up to the train station and managed to get seats together on the rather crowded train headed back to Glenfield. Drew was still feeling unwell, so he leaned on me until about halfway 'home' when he got a second wind. Then we I had to contend with all three four of them being hyped up and playing silly games, but luckily we had most of the carriage to ourselves so it wasn't too much of an issue.

It was well and truly dark by the time we got back, so we went to find the car (still where we left it thank God!) and went 'home' for dinner and a movie (Underdog). We all went to bed when it finished and I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

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