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Archive for July, 2008

Today we were meant to be at Barangaroo for Staions of the Cross.  We decided though to use his time to visit the love and life expo, shop for souvenirs and sightsee a bit.  The sightseeing thing wasn’t really planned, but I’m glad we did it as we got to see Chinatown and Paddy’s Markets in Sydney.  We met some of Derek’s work friends at the expo.  It was like being in Perth as we saw a few friends who used to live there and are now based in Melbourne.  It was a lovely afternoon and the kids enjoyed being doted over. 

We then went to the Domain and caught the last three stations on  big screen.  I think the thing that hit me most about the stations was the effect it had on the Sydney public.  The news covered highlights of WYD and every station (all 14of them)were given time.  I think it really touched the city.

We decided to head to Barangaroo from there to find dinner and that’s when the trouble started.  I didn’t mention earlier that our pram wheel broke eariler in the week.  Derek, being the hero he is, managed to fix it and it had been fine… until now.  This time the other wheel fell off and the axle was damaged.  Here we were with five young, tired, hungry, cranky kids, in the middle of Sydney and without a decent pram.  Derek gave the kids turns on his shoulders, I had Zeek in a sling, and Derek kept having to kick the wheel of the pram so it would stay on!  Well we made it to the train and the car (we were able to laugh by the time we made it to the car!) and we took some photos so that we would never forget that during this trip we were pilgrims and not tourists!

Zi demonstarting the broken pram and his job putting the wheel back on so that Daddy could kick it!; Mozart, the dog where we were staying, loved the kids and enjoyed sleeping on their sleeping bags.

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Day 13 – Papal Arrival

Today was amazing.  It was the first time we have seen the Pope during WYD.  We had a great view from Barangaroo, but we were so lucky and got even closer still.  Dereka nd the boys got about six rows back from the stage.  I hung back with the pram and Jordy, but I was still sooo close.  Pilgrims were chanting ‘Benedetto’ and ‘Viva il Papa – Viva’.  The atmosphere was electric.  Terry and Sarah were also with us as we had met up with them coincidentally during lunch. Very cool!  Jordy kept saying ‘I saw the pope’.  As His Holiness was leaving via motorcade, we ran up to the side gates and were able to see him drive past.  Derek grabbed Eli and Zi while Gubbs was rescues from the rushing crowds by an American man.  I held Jordy up high and so we all got to see him.  Pope Benedict looked so happy to be with all these young people.  It was refreshing to see.

Walking into Barangaroo; before the arrival; Terry and Sarah and us; Pope Benedict XVI

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Day 12 – The museum

Today we decided to take the kids to the museum.  The main reason we wanted to go was to see the dinosaurs, but I think Derek and I really enjoyed the indigenous exhibits, particularly the paintings done by Richard Campbell.  Eli was terrified of the dinosaur models, not the bones, just the ones that looked like real dinosaurs.  He wouldn’t walk past them.  He had his camera with him though and that helped him to face his fears as he wanted to get photos of them.  We also had a look at some insects which was quite hands on.  They had a touch, interactive mat that we could touch and find out about different dangerous animals.  It was like a touch screen, but it was a mat and an image was projected onto it – very different.  we also visited the kids area which had a fantastic selection of toys and books to play with.  This gave Derek and I some breathing time and Zeek a chance to have a good feed!  The highlight of the museum visit would have had to have been the ‘real’ dinosaur that came walking through the museum.  Eli was not scared of this one at all as he said ‘it’s only a man dressed up as a dinosaur’.  I thought it looked more real than the models! Eli even touched it!

We then tried to get into the cathedral, but the lines were phenomenal.  They were also checking bags as you weren’t allowed to take them into the cathedral.  We decided to take a walk in Hyde Park instead and saw some Spanish pilgrims dancing in a circle.  the kids wanted to join in so Derek and I took turns joining in.

The muttaburrasaurus; the ‘real’ one; Richard Campbell’s paintings (madonna and child, The crucifixtion, Staions of the cross); Spanish pilgrims dancing.

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Day 11 – WYD begins

Today was a pretty exciting day as we encountered the WYD crowds for the first official time.   The opening mass began at 4pm, so Derek  and I thought we would head into the city to see the museum and the cathedral.  Well we ran quite late (again) and so decided to postpone the museum until we had a bit more time.  We headed to the cathedral which we soon realised was closed until the official start of WYD as it was one of the main pilgrimage sites!  We walked around Hyde park and watched and joined in with pilgrims’ dancing and singing.  The WYD atmosphere was alive.

The opening mass was amazing.  The flags were flying, people singing.  So many people believing in the same thing and willing to celebrate faith. Inspiring and awesome.  We found a spot next to a group of Indonesians including some nuns.  They loved the kids.  Jordy and Gubbs spent the entire mass being passed from person to person, and then they got hold of Zeek and I don’t think I held him again until he needed a feed!  This huge crowd were total strangers and were yet so familiar.  It felt like family and we were treated like so.  The mass was beautiful.  Elijah was projected onto the big screen, though we didn’t see it.  He took some great photos form Derek’s shoulders though.  At the conclusion of mass, it was dinner time.  Dinners at WYDs are quite well organised.  We had a meal ticket and needed to get into groups of six to be able to redeem them.  The meals got given out in bags which included six meals and so we often sat with people we didn’t know in order to share a meal.  The Indonesians were a bit more organised than us and so got their meals way before us.  The kids literally got showered with food which was great initially, until they got given everyone’s dessert.  Jordy was in heaven when she got given a full can of soft drink which I proceeded to take off her only for her to be given another full can of soft drink.  It got to the point of me holding three full cans and Jordy having another given to her when I physically gave up – I couldn’t hold Zeek and four full cans of drink at the same time – lucky Jordy!

We met up with Terry, Sarah and Fr Greg for our dinner as the kids ran off the sugar among the crowds.  They were playing with a blow up ball and Isaiah decided to roll around on it in the rubbish that was overflowing from the bin… hmmmm.  Needless to say, they had baths when they got home.  We then headed home with Zi tantruming because he had lost the ball and mum and dad exhausted from the day.

Hyde Park; one of the nuns with Zeek; the opening mass; the opening mass taken by Eli from Derek’s shoulders.

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Day 10 – Taronga Zoo

Today we decided to head into Taronga zoo for the day.  We had become members of the Perth Zoo earlier and so were able to get free entry.  We ended up getting to the zoo at about 2pm, a lot later than anticipated.  We drove there (Karen navigating!) and got parking right in front of the zoo.  We had hotdogs for lunch in the zoo as soon as we got there.  I think it cost us about $40 for 6 hotdogs and 2 large chips! As we were having lunch, a plane drew a cross in the sky and then wrote the word ‘Jesus’. We then proceeded to do a very speedy view of the zoo, focusing on the animals we haven’t got in Perth.  We first had a look at the koalas, then went onto see the hippo, well actually the pigmy hippo.  It was gorgeous and a highlight for me.  The kids were not as excited as me though!  Then we saw some mountain goats which were interesting for the kids as they were actually climbing a rocky mountain thing.  Another highlight were the chimpanzees.  Derek found an intriguing book located right in front of the enclosure depicting different things that the chimps are known to do!  We then walked on to see the gorilla.  It was massive.  Much bigger than I imagined him to be.  He was the silver back and I could have watched him for ages.  The elephant enclosure was closed, though the giraffes and zebras were a lot closer for viewing than in Perth and so were beautiful to watch.  We also saw a platypus and echidnas.

The zoo closed at 5pm, so after the kids bought themselves a momento from the money Grandma and Grandad gave them, we decided to drive over the Harbour bridge.  The toll was $3, but worth it!  Seeing we were in Sydney, we parked the car and walked the streets to soak in the pre WYD atmosphere.  There were a lot more people around, all wearing the pilgrim backpacks.  I was really tired and got quite cranky at this stage and so we headed home.  I didn’t take any photos today as my camera ran out of battery power!

Lunchtme at the zoo; Jesus in the sky

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Day 9 – Sydney

Today we decided to sleep in a bit and spend some time with Evelyn and Michael.  I was very eager to go and see the city as world youth day approaches so we travelled by train into circular quay in the late afternoon.  The kids and I were really excited to finally see the opera house and harbour bridge.  The bridge was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.  Sydney is a beautiful city.  World Youth Day was beginning to crowd up the city.  We met some pilgrims from Hong Kong who took to the kids really well.  Gubbs got carried like a koala and had photos taken by and with everyone in the group.  After this encounter, he constantly referred to the Hong Kong Pilgrims as ‘his friends’. We found it difficult to get food in the city and so had Macdonalds for dinner.  I was a little disappointed that there was no singing or anything in the streets yet, though WYD doesn’t start for another two days.  We went to mass in the morning with Evelyn and Michael.  We attended a lovely new parish community just up the road.  They have been going for about a year and have such a warm spirit to them.  Derek and I really enjoyed it, even though the kids (particularly Jordy) mucked around.  Gubbs insisted on sitting between Uncle Michael and Aunty Evelyn during mass and Zi and Eli happily joined in with the children’s liturgy group.  Jordy enjoys calling Aunty Evelyn, ‘Aunty Elephant’!! Terry and Sarah arrived this evening and it was great to see them and get our pilgrim’s packs.

Gubbs’ friends; the bridge with Derek and the kids

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Day 8 Wagga to Sydney

This morning we took a very very slow start so that the tent had plenty of time to dry as it will be packed away for the next week while we are in Sydney. While it dried we took a walk down to the Murrambidgee and had a look at the river. No possums this morning. The caravan park where we are staying is right on a river bend. There was a long pebble beach at the bend. We had a go at showing the boys how to skim rocks. We found out later at the information bureau that platypus have been sited along this stretch of the river. Once packed we went up to the Cathedral. It was ten minutes from the start of Mass. Or so we thought. We decided to stay for Mass thinking, half hour and we will be out of here. We didn’t count on Mass starting with a complete mystery of the Rosary and including a full sermon on how some time in the indefinite future there will be liturgy reforms and we can all look forward to going back to Latin (some priests don’t give the most inspiring homilies). We left VERY late and made the long drive that is the last leg of our journey. We stopped on the way at Gundagai and the Dog on the Tucker Box and then just drove. It was nice to see the beginnings of the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Unfortunately we didn’t see as much as we would have liked because the sun went down on us and we drive in the dark mostly. We stopped for some KFC along the way. We can’t believe how many fast food joints are along the Hume Hwy. There had to be a MacDonald, HJ’s or KFC at least every 10kms. When we reached the outskirts of Sydney we needed to stop for directions and some information about travelling on the M7 without a pass or etag. The service station guy was very helpful and we bought a road map at the same time. After that we had no problems getting to Evelyn’s in Beaumont Hills. We have 48 hours to pay for the trip along the M7. Evelyn and Michael couldn’t believe the time we’d made. We sms’d them as we passed Yass, where we had the KFC to say that there house would be the next stop. They were expecting us at midnight or after. We arrived at about 8.30pm. We make a great team when it comes to finding our way to places. Derek drives and Karen navigates. Spinach pie and a warm welcome were waiting for us. The kids all settled in and we are ready for World Youth Day 2008!!!  Yay!!!!!

Drying the tent; skimming rocks; the Cathedral; view from Gundagai; the dog  on the tuckerbox

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