BC: DEPARTED | AUSTRALIA | 30 NOV 2012
FC: DEPARTED | AUSTRALIA | 17 NOV 2012
1: Trip to Sydney & Melbourne Australia AND 7 Concerts of the best band... The Living End | Celebrating our 10th Anniversary
2: Wow! Our dream come true to visit Australia and meet Chris Cheney from The Living End! We will get to see kangaroos, koalas, & so much more! We are so excited! | AUSTRALIA | ARRIVED 19 NOV 2012 | Sydney is our beautiful daughter & the most populous city in Australia, the state capital of New South Wales. Located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea.
3: THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE is a multi-venue performing arts centre in the Australian city of Sydney. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jrn Utzon, finally opening in 1973 after a long gestation starting with his competition-winning design in 1957.
4: Nick's guitar made it to Australia! Yey! We even got to watch movies on the airplane: Captain America, Avengers, Snow White & the Huntsman! When we arrived to the Rendezvous Stafford Hotel, we were exhausted, but still wanting to explore. A nice long sleep would be fabulous ~ first, we got a late lunch at The Bakers Oven Cafe. Nick had his first of many delicious cappuccino's. We even found wi-fi at the Apple store!
5: Tues Nov 20, we woke up well rested! We started our day with Nick's cappuccino. Then a trip on the ferry to visit the Taronga Zoo.
6: Taronga Zoo is the nation's leading zoological garden, featuring Australia's finest collection of native animals and a diverse collection of exotic species. What makes Taronga something special is its location. It is situated on elevated land along the waterfront, in one of the most beautiful vantage points on Sydney Harbour overlooking Sydney Cove, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. We saw lizards, kangaroos, red pandas, koalas, tigers, & more. Birds flew over our heads in the free flight bird show and I gave a bird a coin to donate to their fund - he took it from my hand and deposited it! We worked up an appetite and warmed up. We were glad we wore jackets, but grateful we were not in winter coats in November!
8: We headed back to Sydney and stopped at the Apple store to check our email & internet for good places to eat. After much debate, we strolled through the Queen Victoria Building & found a quaint restaurant across the street called "Sushi & Steak" - Nick was very skeptical, however, it was delicious! Nick had salmon rolls & spicy chicken teriyaki rolls. I chose vegetable tofu teriyaki & california rolls. On the way home, we passed by the closed Lindt Chocolate store so we found Guylain's Chocolate Cafe instead. Nick enjoyed another delicious cappuccino as i savored my $15 chocolate cake. Yummy! We enjoyed our only "free" night in Sydney with a stroll down Circular Quay & the sights of the Sydney Harbor Bridge & the Opera House. Tomorrow we get to see The Living End!!!
11: sydney harbor bridge | THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE is one of the most recognizable symbols of Australia. The Bridge provides a frame for one of the most beautiful harbors in the world and holds a special place in the city's heart. The Sydney Harbor Bridge has connected the Sydney CBD with the North Shore of the harbor since it opened in 1932. It is the worlds largest (but not longest) steel-arch Bridge. It was beaten in length, by New York’s Bayonne Bridge, which is 25 feet longer and opened just four months earlier. On major celebrations in Sydney history, like New Year’s Eve or the announcement of the Sydney Olympic Games, the Bridge has always been the focal point. | Amazing view from the Sydney Harbour Bridge - we decided we are high enough. No need to climb the bridge for the extreme view!
12: Of course Nick had to start his day with energy to cross the bridge - Cappuccino ~ this time from Danieli's - voted the best coffee house in Sydney! | We ate lunch on the "other side" of the bridge at an Italian restaurant, then walked home to rest up for our exciting night!
13: TLE Day 1: White Noise Of course the concert was amazing! There were about 600 fans! We were only about 20 ft away from Chris as he belted the songs. And we met some wonderful people in line, Tony & Sue! Tony also owns a signature Chris Cheney Gretsch & he doesn't even know how to play guitar!
14: Thurs Nov 22 | Journal Entry - Thurs 11/22/12 Today we woke up super early for vacation - 630am! Nick got the #1 coffee in Australia at Danieli's and he got a 10 cup punch card for a free cup. The day is starting great! I pumped and prepared for the next "round" when got home. We got picked up by our tour guide and went to tour the Blue Mountains. The bus was rather bumpy & I was worried that I might be cold since he said it was cooler there than Sydney. And the weather forecast was 19 degrees C - I'm still not sure the conversion since we don't have Internet! Feels pretty crazy not to have all access to our email, web & phone. At the Blue Mountains, another tour guide was taking pix of his passengers at the very edge of a huge drop off-grand canyon like! Nick said "don't let him talk you into that!" Lol- I didn't want to! We had lunch at a little town and it was pumpkin soup & fish chips. Pretty delicious. Then we drove about 1.5 hrs to the Featherdale Wildlife Park. We saw lots of kangaroos & pet a Koala! We even saw a koala named Noah - who ironically was sleeping- unlike our Noah! :) Nick also learned what a dingo looks like- not a kangaroo as he continues to walk around town telling me "a dingo". The return trip home was stressful because we were stuck in worse traffic than Chicago & wanted to get to the Hi-Fi early so Nick could check his guitar. Tonight he gets to meet Chris Cheney and have his guitar signed! We ended up making it just fine to the Hi-Fi & the Aussies were so helpful storing the guitar and being so gracious about our ticket mix up with Oztix. The concert was incredible! Scott stood on his bass & played it. Chris played his signature guitar & even a telecaster fender! After the show was Nick's moment in time ... Meeting The Living End!!!!!!!! We climbed up metal staircase & there was the green room - Chris signing posters - Oh My Gosh --- it's really him!
15: He offered us a drink, Nick asked for a good Aussie beer - Carlsons in a can. Nick turned into a little school girl in a candy store... Can't pass up a beer with Chris Cheney! We talked about him living in LA. He was so impressed we came from Chicago to see them. And very impressed Nick had the ticket stubs from Green Day & Offspring. Chris was very approachable and engaging. Nick showed him the signature guitar & he picked up it and said "do you mind" - and he started to play it. Everyone loved checking out the guitar and Chris said he enjoyed working w Gretsch on the prototypes - making changes. He said he has about 20 guitars. We joked and laughed with Chris & the other lead singer from the opening band, Even - they asked Chris to play theme song from MASH. And they went back & forth playing. Nick asked Chris about playing in the states & he secretly said there is talk of a tour late next year. We told him that we have 3 kids and he said "oh this is a Holiday for you then!" Nick talked back and forth w Chris just like friends. And Chris offered to sign anything that nick had- it was a lot! We talked about the sheet music & nick told him that Zack said it's almost like Chris is just showing the world how to write a rock song. He said to stop changing keys. Chris said "I do apologize" of course he was being funny. Chris said its been a challenge to recall all the 80+ songs & it's not as easy going back to the song writer because that's him! He declined going out with the other band so he can keep his voice for the next 5 shows. Chris was so thankful that we came all this way to see him & the band. Nick asked what kind of music do you listen to in the car? I listen to you, TLE, of course, but what do you? Chris said TLE too - but he was joking. He said something that we didn't recognize - maybe a radio station in Australia and 50s He said The Diamonds - and started singing and said songs that make you happy of course & started dancing. Meeting the band was amazing & Nick couldn't stop smiling. We are excited to see the next shows tomorrow & more. What a fun day!!!!
16: BLUE MOUNTAINS is a mountainous region in New South Wales, Australia. It borders on Sydney's metropolitan area, its foothills starting approximately 31 miles west of the state capital. The area begins on the west side of the Nepean River and extends westward as far as Coxs River. Consisting mainly of a sandstone plateau, the area is dissected by gorges up to 760 metres (2,490 ft) deep. The highest point of the range is Mount Werong at 1,215 metres (3,986 ft) above sea level. A large part of the Blue Mountains is incorporated into the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site, consisting of seven national park areas and a conservation reserve.
18: Breath-Taking Blue Mountains
19: Scribble Tree
22: Day 2 Concert: State of Emergency
24: Hanging out with Chris Cheney
25: The Moment we've been waiting for...
26: Getting everything signed
27: Nick & The Boys
28: Journal Entry - Fri 11/23/12 Today we slept in - Yey!!! I exercised to The Living End album Modern Artillery to prepare for tonight's concert! We walked outside and there was a French market. We got coffee from nicks favorite place Danieli and I wanted to try a smoothie. Turns out smoothies in Australia are quite different than the US. It tasted like sour yogurt w/ berries. bummer! However we got delicious lunch at the stands outside our hotel- I got salmon & couscous from Pony Bar. Nick ate meat kabobs - lamb, chicken, & prawn (even though he was convinced he didn't like prawn...it turns out it is just like shrimp). Today must have been a seafood discovery day because my seafood risotto was delicious except I didn't ask what types. There was fish (yummy) & octopus & maybe mussels but I tried not to look at them- I did cut a small bit off but really just couldn't eat it. I couldn't even take a picture - eew. :). But Nicks burger was tasty - different than the US, he ordered an Aussie Burger - bacon (it was like Canadian bacon), cheese, lettuce. The meat was almost like meatloaf in taste & consistency. We enjoyed an Aussie beer too - Pale Blonde. It was a light Ale & of course I liked it. At the restaurant for dinner we had wireless connection!! So fabulous! I posted Nicks pix w Chris Cheney on Facebook. And nick made a joke about us being deprived of Internet so if anyone looked at our table they might think we were Internet junkies or maybe just didn't like each other. :) Before we settled on that restaurant we searched a few pubs. Apparently Aussies love to party after work! They were way too busy for us to sit & eat to get to the concert on time. We toured the Sydney Opera House. It was an interesting story of how it was created and designed. The architect was forced to resign after yrs of work because he was over budget and taking too long. It turned into a $100 million project & 14 yrs! The rooms were beautiful however seemed small compared to our Chicago Opera House. The TLE concert was great as expected. They didn't go on stage until 1130 - long night again. Our feet & back hurt but definitely worth the pain to see the band. They performed with enthusiasm and fun lighting and good crowd (minus a few drunks that were pushing people). I think we will go shopping tomorrow and see James Bond movie - I was thinking IMax but then learned tix were $31 per person and reconsidered! :)
29: FRI NOV 23
30: Day 3 Concert: Modern Artillery
32: Journal Entry - Sat 11/24/12 Today we must have been tired from going to bed at 2am, I slept in until 1 and nick got up at 2pm! Nick asked me how come our backs, feet, shoulders hurt and everyone else at the concerts (maybe teenagers?) seems fine!? Are we old? Nope! It's just because we are walking all day, too. :) - Shopping at Westfield Mall - $99 for Nick's Jeans! -JB Hi-Fi Record store to purchase Even's new cd - Dinner at Jackson's. Oddly, you seat yourself, order & pay at the bar, pour your own water, and they bring you your food. Nick had fish & chips $18. I had chicken sandwich with pickle cucumbers (not "pickles")$18 and chocolate cake for $9.50. It was delicious! -Trip to convenience store- Nick found 3 flavors of Red Bull...cranberry (red edition), blueberry (blue), & lime (silver) -At concert, we walked right in. The girls checking us in looked at our IDs and then say "oh you! how are you liking Australia?" -Each night we get to check out what merchandise is available to purchase. Nick got a new shirt tonight with arrows. - Terrible opening band, The Cabins. Even the person next to me texted his friend "the only good thing about this band is that this is their last song!" Hilarious! The lead singer was drunk and stumbled around the stage. He didn't really even talk to the crowd and Nick and I were both happy to see them leave the stage. - The Living End performed a great concert- I got lots video to remember it and the crowd was so fun. We jumped to their songs & sang along. It was a awesome time and can't wait for tomorrow night - Roll On! | Nick BEFORE & AFTER Red Bull | SAT NOV 24
33: We had to check out an Australian McDonald's & McCafe'.
34: Day 4 Concert: The Ending is Just the Beginning Repeating
37: Journal Entry - Sun 11/25/12 Today we woke up by 10- so early! :) ha! Nick ordered a $6 gingerbread latte at Starbucks. He thinks they taste just as good as the ones in the US. Then we took the bus over to Darling Habour & went to the aquarium. It was cool to see the stingrays & sharks. We also saw the largest Spider Crab and found out what a delicious prawn looks like. :) We hit the gift shop and found some cute shark & fish bath toys for the boys. It was so warm today, nick convinced me to turn on the A/C. We both wore sandals & nick wore shorts, I wore a dress. After the aquarium we walked through Chinatown (restaurants and Chinese gift shops on every corner!) and found Market City. In the tourbook, it boosted the best prices. Well the prices were cheaper along with the quality of clothes. We searched the 3 floors for a good place to eat. There was a fish market, butcher shop, grocery store, dollar store all in the mall, too! Neither of us being very adventurous to attempt to read a Japanese menu, we choose to go to the food court. There were Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, & German food. Plus 3 places to buy fresh juice. We found sushi rolls - unsliced and the seaweed was on the outside. Nick was repulsed, but I thought it looked good! $2.80 what a bargain! We got a small jar of Apple Guava to share - we agreed it was pretty good. Then we both had Pad Thai - to our surprise there was tofu in both dishes. Of course Nick meticulously picked out the tofu and gave it to me. After exhausting Nick shopping, he got the "best" coffee in the mall & sat and waited for me. There was a baby crying and we both felt like we should be doing something...so weird being without our kids! After coffee, we bought a few things at the grocery store - chocolates for everyone (&me!) sours for kids & Nick! We found a fruit called dension from Thailand. It was huge and spikey. So fun shopping in another country and seeing what they eat! Not that I want to try it all, though! I'm still recovering from that gross vision mussels on my plate a few days ago. After shopping, I convinced Nick to stop at Aldo and try on the shoes we found. Unfortunately they didn't have his size (darn the Aussie people and their small feet!) so we might be able to find them at Bondi Beach tomorrow? We made our noodles, pasta sauce and salad. It was pretty tasty. Nick jammed to a few tunes on his newly signed guitar and we headed to the concert tonight - Roll On - oh yeah! So exciting!! It was a great concert and we stayed after on the side of the building to see them leave but they actually snuck out of the front door since they had a morning radio appearance. So we ran to catch the 12:09 - last midnight bus (the next one left at 1:09am!) and we made it! | SUN NOV 25
40: BONDI BEACH | new south wales | 26 NOV 2012
41: BONDI BEACH is one of Australia's most famous beaches and among the world's most well-known beaches. The beach is roughly a kilometer long and is located on the east coast of Australia and is a suburb of the city of Sydney.
42: Journal Entry - Mon 11/26/12 Today I got up and did laundry, lifted some weights. The treadmill didn't work right, I was walking 6mph - wait a min, I think it might have been 6 km per hr! Ohhh! I was telling Nick it was broken! Lol. Nick drank his Lime Red Bull. He says it was ok. Still the red edition is his favorite. We went to Bondi Beach and walk on the sand with the waves at our feet. It was overcast but still a beautiful day. There were lots of people in bikinis and speedos. Nick pointed out a few that might not want to be wearing a speedo. :) We ate the the Moo Burger - the best burger place on Bondi. The burger tasted different that US burgers. Nick thinks its like meatloaf. I think it just needed some seasoning and it wasn't very juicy. Either way, it was tasty and we were full. We took the bus to the Westfield Mall in search of nicks shoes- we found them! And I decided on a cute pair of black sparkly sandals since it was buy 1 get 1 half off. We also found the Target which was set up more like a Sears at home. It was part of the mall!! So strange! Nick grabbed a quick cappuccino before we left - still not as good as Danieli's! When we left it was rainy and getting cooler. We headed back to our hotel so we could change and I could pump. Then off to the show! The que (as they say in Australia) to get in was wrapped around the building! It's a sellout show tonight. So excited!!! The concert was the best yet. It was so crowded, they opened the balcony & while we were waiting I was wishing I was sitting up there! Area 7 opened the show & they were a ska band w 3 horn players! It was so peppy I really like it except their lyrics weren't that nice - for example "leave me alone" but the tune was great and they had alot of energy and danced & jumped around the stage. TLE did their best performance yet. The crowd jumped and cheered. It was so crowded people kept bumping into us. There was a mosh pit in the middle - thank goodness we were on the side! The guy in front of me was so sweaty, I kept getting wet when I would accidentally brush his shirt. Gross! Most everyone left being covered in sweat! It was worth though. :) | MON NOV 26
44: Our hotel room | The Button Store - who shops here? | Stairs we took to lead us through to Circular Quay & Sydney Harbour
45: Tues, Nov 27 Itinerary - Shop for souvenirs - Go to James Bond movie Skyfall - Get in line early for front row - last night of TLE Concerts - Wait after the show and say goodbye to the band - Pack for our early flight out tomorrow to Melbourne
47: After the show pictures And birthday wishes from Sue, Tony & Chris for my birthday Dec 14th - the reason why Nick joined Facebook!
48: Goodbye Sydney ~ Onward to Melbourne.... | Journal Entry - Wed 11/27/12 We woke up early and packed up to fly to Melbourne. At the airport we each got a drink. Nick - cappuccino & I got a freshly squeezed juice - strawberry, orange, apple, and mango. It was delicious. When we went to pick up our luggage, Nick walked right past Andy (drummer) & Ant (crew) from The Living End!!!! So cool - Nick had on his TLE shirt and sweatshirt and stopped to talk to them. We felt like we had a celebrity spotting! After lots of confusion carting our luggage around, we found the kiosk to call the shuttle & checked into our hotel. Wow, this place is beautiful!! Crown Promenade. We have robes, beautiful decor, and great view of Melbourne. We went to find some food after I took a nap. We found a delicious seafood place and agreed this could be our "expensive" dinner! I ordered lobster risotto with peas, and chirozo, & spices. It was sooo good! Nick had steak, green beans, mashed potatoes, & Cabernet Merlot. Since he got a drink, I thought I could too, so I got a Pe Pe Pepermint martini - the glass was covered in chocolate syrup! And for desert I had a chocolate lava cake. Yummy! Over the dinner, nick had 3 glasses of wine. I thought he seemed very happy, he was laughing at me that i was the one who was tipsy. Our total bill was $175! I don't think we've ever spent so much on a meal, but it was definitely something we will remember! We also had free wi-fi so we got to check our emails and make sure the kids are doing good. What a great night! We went back to our room about 7ish and were ready for bed. Nick found Pawn Shop show on tv and we watched a few episodes. And I convinced Nick to check out the infinity pool - beautiful! If I wasn't so tired I'd want to go swimming! We also found Nacho Libre on tv and couldn't help but to quote along with the movie "get the corn out my face"! | WED NOV 27
49: Journal Entry - Thur 11/28/12 We woke up a little late and just barely made it to send an email & get coffee for Nick. The tour guide picked us up and we went to San Remo. We ate lunch at a cafe & had a Focchia sandwich - delicious! Chicken, spinach, pesto, sun dried tomatoes, avacado. Gaterade. Cappuccino. Then chocolate factory-we got to play a few chocolate games to win pieces of chocolate & learn how to make chocolate. It reminded me of willy wonka! We bought some chocolate with caramel. Then wine tasting at a winery - our favorite was a merlot. And there was a delicious chocolate with merlot, so we had to get that too. It was so warm we were glad that nick wore shorts and t-shirt! It was 102 degrees in Melbourne and about 89 degrees where we were on Phillip Island. Then we walked through a natural koala habit. It was neat to see the koalas sleeping in the trees. They look like they would fall out, but they position themselves so they can just rest there. We stopped in Cowes for dinner at Italian restaurant. Nick got risotto and prawns and chirozo - he loved it! I got tomato, cheese & basil pizza. Yummy! Of course nick got a cappuccino for dessert. We walked around the beach and then headed to see penguins! There was a big rain storm and started to clear up when we arrived. The people in front of us on the bus were Indian and the guy smelled really terrible especially as the day went on. Nick nicknamed them "Stinky". Ha! We ended up waiting for the couple 2xs over 10 mins each time. So rude! The penguins were so cool to watch coming in. They were so tiny and they waddled their way up to the burrows. They were so noisy too - calling out to their young and marking their territory. Nick even got a free cappuccino with our penguin tour, making it his 4th drink of the day! What a great day for him! :) we even had wi-fi on our bus - which I finally got to work. :) | THUR NOV 28
50: Fun at Phillips Chocolate Factory Nick made his initial in chocolate | CHOCOLATE!
52: Trip to Phillips Island
53: Exploring Melbourne ~ We found a great sushi place,. At the grocery store, Nick found this delectable treat & couldn't resist a picture. He found drinking chocolate for future cappuccino making. | FRI NOV 29
55: The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant was established in 1983 and is the worlds first traveling tramcar restaurant.
56: officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent as well as the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Neighboring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. | AUSTRALIA | Farewell Australia... until next time.... | FRI NOV 29 | SAT NOV 30
57: "Ya'll right Dingo?" | We left for the airport about 630AM. I was nervous about the milk staying frozen, but I packed the cooler full of ice packs the night before. We wait hours at the airport to check in and then realized we were at the wrong counter! They gave us express passes to by-pass security & we did not even have enough time to grab a sandwich before boarding. 15 hrs to LA, we were fed & entertained with movies: Ted, The Watch, and some sleep. In LA, we agreed the airport is terrible - finally we tracked down the guitar & cooler, 4 hrs to Chicago! We made it with all our luggage & were so excited to see Noah, Eli, & Sydney! What a great trip! Rock on The Living End!
61: Happy 10th Anniversary, Honeymooner!