We left for Australia right after school let out on Friday, December 21st. I'd taken the day off work, and in the morning we attended Zoe's elementary school holiday sing. We got to the airport around 4pm for our 6pm flight and sailed through security.
Then our flight was delayed and our gate changed. And changed again. I was anxious about making our connection to Sydney as we only had a one hour layover at LAX. It was tight, but we made it.
Our luggage didn't. But kudos to QANTAS, which not only boasts the nicest, newest jumbo jets ever (complete with free wine and liquor, decent food, nice flight attendants and more TV and movies than we could ever watch!), but a luggage service that cheerfully coordinated the delivery of our two checked bags to a farm four hours south of Sydney 24 hours after we did.
My sister and her family share a weekend farm with her mother-in-law Sally and her brother and sister-in-law (who, incidentally, also live downstairs from them in the city). It's near a popular vacation area halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, so Eleanor was anxious for us to hit the road ahead of the Christmas traffic. Even though we left Chicago on December 21st, it was the morning of the 23rd when we arrived, so we split into two cars (they have a Volvo station wagon and a 4-door Toyota pickup truck) and hit the road right away.
|Trimming the "tree"|
My favorite part of any celebration is the food, and the Aussies didn't disappoint. We had two Christmas meals, Sally's giant glazed ham for lunch and Eleanor's roast turkey for dinner.
While in the Milton/Ulladulla area, we visited a number of beaches, ate more than a few fish and chips (balking at the $2 surcharge for ketchup, which they call "tomato sauce"), and had a cookout and picnic in one of the farm's paddocks (complete with a swing that Simon jerry-rigged for the kids).
|No booster seats or seat belts back here!|
|Picnicking in the paddock|
|I tried paddle boarding|
Up next: Sydney!
|Not another soul on this beach|