Well, we have safely arrived home from our New Zealand adventure. I feel like it flew by, but it feels like it's been forever since I've been at home at the same time. Weird how that happens. I tried to keep good notes of what our adventures held while we were there, but mainly only got through writing exactly what we did the first day and the day before as we prepared to leave.
We pretty much saved most of the getting ready for our trip to the night before. We had to get some things for Rachel that she needed from the states, fishing line, red tablecloths, karo syrup, pumpkin pie filling, just to name a few. Since we found out that baby ‘frank’ was actually going to be a boy we decided to get him a little something. Frank is what she and Jared have been calling the baby. I like nicknames like that. My other friend Rachel named her baby Zeus and we actually don't get to find out what Zeus is until he/she gets here...ANYWAY...We wanted to get Jared and Rachel something 'American.' Luckily it was close to the 4th so they had all of this fun USA stuff out. We found this onsie and t-shirt.
Gary and I couldn’t decide which one we wanted, so we got both J. Aren’t they amazing! Jared and Rachel loved them!! For those of you who might not know, Rachel is American and Jared is a kiwi, so we loved the idea of the 'Dad's American Boy' shirt!
The week leading up to our trip was an extremely busy one and I didn’t get much sleep. The night before we left I stayed up finishing a video and packing, so I got roughly an hour of sleep. This worked out to be perfect!! Our 17 hour flight flew by (no pun intended) because I slept so much!! We left Nashville at 6:10 on Friday night and landed in Sydney at 6:30 on Sunday morning, where we had a 12 hour layover. We had already scoped out a church online before we went and had the address, so we knew that they started at 10am. We just hung out at the airport and got some coffee for a couple of hours. Freshened up in the bathroom and met some of the sweetest Australians that gave us some great ideas of what to do in the city. Thankfully Gary researched that we would need an ETA to go out of the airport and went ahead and got them for us! Good thinking Gar!!
Finally we decided it was time to head to church. We weren’t sure how early people got there, but we got there a little before 9. Now remember we have been traveling for over 20 hours at this point. Of course there was nobody at church an hour early, so we had time to waste. We were told by the concierge that there were plenty of things to do in Paddington, however, the church building was located in the middle of a neighborhood.
Cute little church building. We knew this was it because of the picture on the website.
The trees on this street were gorgeous. We were told they are called plain trees.
The houses were amazing and every one that I saw for sale I imagined us living there.
I loved the colors and the porch on the second level.
Rachel Evans, I think this is the tree you need to plant in your yard. It looks like a great climbing tree for Alex. I thought him so much this week and how he needed a new climbing tree :).
One of the beautiful church buildings we saw on our walk.
A view of the city from where we were.
Another church building. This one was actually more beautiful from the side as we were walking up to it, but I didn't get a picture of that. There were so many locals out running and walking their dogs that morning. We just felt like locals, except that I was wearing a dress and not lounge clothes.
We walked the blocks for a good 45 minutes and then just decided to head back to the church and sit on the curb. Finally a lady with a key showed and let us in and to use the bathroom.
This sign was in the front of the building as soon as you walked in.
The building was really pretty, but you can't really tell from this picture.
They had old pews and the song books were held in that shelf on the back upper part of the pew. They weren't the most comfortable things, but they sure were pretty.
Fortunately, the church members were very friendly and welcoming. The only thing that was a bit troubling was that they did have instruments in the worship. There wasn’t much on the website, so we weren’t sure. Their preacher wasn't in town on that Sunday, so this one fella named John had to do the singing, praying, lord supper and preaching. From what I understand their preacher, whose name we found out was Matt normally played the guitar, but since he was out of town we sang along to some praise music. Gary and I didn't know any of the songs they sang. It was a bit weird and awkward, but the sermon was quite good and they even had a fellowship meal afterwards that they invited us to. One particular lady that was introducing us to everyone wasn't able to go to the fellowship meal. Her name was Karen and I will never forget how inviting she was. At the end of worship when they were doing announcements she even spoke up and asked them to pray for us and the rest of our journey. It was a small church so we did stick out like a sore thumb, but still it was thoughtful and I loved it! We did end up staying for lunch and I'm so glad that we did. We had spaghetti and a couple of different types of quiche.
We enjoyed talking with the members and just getting to know them. There was one lady who Gary and I both agreed that she reminded us of the Aunt Bethany from Christmas Vacation. John offered to drive us down to the main part of town after lunch so we wouldn't have to get a taxi or anything.
On the way there I tried to pay attention to what was going on around me. We saw the Master Chef restaurant. This is from the Australian MasterChef, but Gary and I love the American version!!
Not the greatest picture, but we were in a moving car :).
John dropped us off at Circular Quay (pronounced: key), where all of the big attractions of Sydney can be seen.
Some of the city
The opera house
The Rocks, which we thought were actual rocks and we walked around searching for some rock figure or something like that. We finally concluded that it was this district, thankfully we were right :).
Some sidewalk art. This guy was pretty amazing at painting on some huge canvases.
Here's one that is geometrical.
Some sidewalk entertainment. He was blindfolded and juggling a bowling pin, a flame...
and a big blade.
Oh and his helmet was on fire too.
Another shot of the city.
The Sydney Harbor Bridge.
We had been told by several people to get on the ferry and ride to Manly island. We didn't have much time before we needed to head back to the airport, but we thought we could at least ride there and back. There were some great views from the ferry.
Once we got to Manly we could only spend like 30 minutes. So, we quickly took in as much as we could.
Love this building the trees. This is the Manly Municipal Council building.
We walked down the main strip and found the beach.
It was cold, but there still surfers in the Tasman Sea
We asked a man standing there if he could take our picture.
In this picture you can see that the water isn't very close to us. However, once this was snapped the man said, "Let me get one more." Gary and I stood still smiling and waiting for the next shot, when all of a sudden he said, "Uh, WHAT OUT!" I just thought it was like a bird or something and so I didn't move quickly, but it wouldn't have mattered because just then Gary and I were flooded with water up to our shins. We laughed and laughed about it. We were obviously not dressed for that we both didn't have clothes with us, but we left them at the airport. Thankfully, I had on flip flops, but Gary had to wear wet shoes the rest of the day.
Here he is ringing out his socks on the ferry...gross!!
We had a fun day in Sydney and we are very glad we were able to get out of the airport, meet some amazing people and tour such a gorgeous city for the day! Now I will leave you with a few more pictures.
Letter Box. So cute!! I wish our public mail drops were this cute!!
Another street performer.
There was one that was my favorite that we actually didn't get a picture of :(. He was an old man with a ukulele and singing. He played happy upbeat songs that made me want to dance. I told Gary I wanted to put him in my pocket and carry him around.
Up Next, a day in Wellington New Zealand and a visit to The Weta Cave.
Good Day Mate,