I feel like it deserves capital letters and exclamation marks because everything about it is big. Traffic, buildings and so many people. I know there are places which are even bigger. I mean I've been to New York, but in little ol' Perth, it's very easy to forget just what it is like. And in true fashion even our journey into the city has a big story.
We had tickets booked for the musical The Lion King, for Sunday which was the day we would be journeying back to Sydney. We left Nelson Bay at 8.30am giving us plenty of time before the matinee at 1pm. The GPS said it should take about 2.5 hours to drive to Sydney but you just never know what might happen. So gave ourselves plenty of time. We were making such good time that we decided to make a pitstop for half an hour for us all to refuel (coffee was the priority it seemed). We started back on the M1 highway and it wasnt long before it hit. Absolute standstill traffic. There had been an accident on the M1 and there was not a single car moving. We made the quick decision to exit the highway just before we hit the traffic. Best. Decision. Ever. While I suddenly had a slight panic (Oh my goodness. This is exactly what I was dreading. What if we miss the Lion King? What are we going to do?) we quickly realised we could hop over the Pacific highway which runs paralell to the M1, skip past the accident and hop back on the M1 before the two roads diverge. Crisis averted. Phew!
We continued on the M1 into the city and that's when the real fun began. Sydney roads are insane. There is just so many of them and they go in all sorts of directions. We weaved our way through the outer streets, worked our way to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, crossed the Bridge and I am so thankful for the GPS. How we would have found our way otherwise, I do not know. Seven exits all at once. Quick which one? Left. We need to be over there! Some very clever driving by Aunty Rachel we made it to our exit and we were into the CBD. My poor heart. Now there are cars everywhere. And of course it is the day before St Patrick's day and there is a parade happening right on the street we need to drive down. Oh I forgot to mention we now have less than half and hour until our show starts- and it has started to pour with rain.
Traffic is diverted and is again at a standstill. It took us 3 light changes just to move through one set of traffic lights. At this rate we will never make it! We are only about 10 minutes walk to the theatre so I ring Jonathan who is in the car a few ahead of us and tell him I'm going to jump out and walk/run (in my dress and sandles through the rain) to the theatre because I'm the only one who can collect the tickets. He jumped out of the car he was travelling in with Bill and Ruth and jumped into our car with the kids and Rachel while I jumped out and took off for the theatre. Jonathan will jump out with Gracie if they don't make better progress with the car. So off I went through the pouring rain, with thunder and lighting directly overhead, through a completely foreign city. I thought to myself "surely, this is what it feels like to be on the Amazing Race" (cue Indiana Jones music).
Anyway off I go following the GPS and come to the place where it tells me the theatre should be. It's not there. What?! Where is it? I ask someone in a nearby shop and they tell me it is 2 blocks over. Great. More rain. Down two blocks and there I see a sea of yellow flags with the Lion King on them directing me to the Capitol Building. Surely this must be it. I make my way around and find myself at the stage door where a very nice man, dressed in black with a head set on smoking a cigarette, smiles at me and says "the entrance is around the other side". I give him a grateful smile and thankyou and run around the building dodging people and rain and finally make it to the counter. This nice young man sitting before me has no idea what I've just been through to get there. I get my tickets and call Jonathan. I manage to tell him not to follow the GPS and give him the street it is on just in time as his phone goes flat. Fingers crossed he and Gracie will find it in time. A very nervous 5 minutes goes by and I see them. Relief. We enter the theatre find our seats with 5 minutes to spare. Poor Gracie looks a bit bewildered, not really sure what has just happened. But we made it. Just.
The lights go down and the music starts. This is Gracie's first ever musical. I have been so excited for this moment for a long time. Finally able to share my love for musical theatre with my baby girl and I have hope that she will fall in love with it as well. The stage lights up and as the animals start to appear during Circle of Life, my eyes well up and I'm overcome with emotion. What a beautiful moment.
Our few days in Sydney consisted of sight seeing in all the usual places, a trip on the Mnnly Ferry out to Manly Beach, a surprise catch up with our Perth friend David, who was in Sydney also for a few days and water play at the magnificent Darling Harbour playground.
We flew home on the Wednesday after a very memorable 10 days. It was good for us all to be together, play together and create wondeful memories together. Goodbye NSW, until next time.