Actually, it was a road trip that started in 2008 ... we left Melbourne on 28 December after a great family Christmas that stretched over two days (much easier than trying to fit it all in on one day).
Back in September, we decided that we'd take a road trip of sorts - the sort you can take with three children, aged 13, ten and six. Rather than doing the separate Sydney and beach holidays we've been taking over the last few years, which ended us spending a crazy FOUR DAYS in the car over January, we combined the two this year, doing a mammoth Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Pambula Beach-Melbourne trip, over two weeks, and cutting a day out of the time spent cooped up in the car.
We got home yesterday, tired but happy, with some lovely memories. And lots of dirty washing.
After an overnight stay in a dodgy motel in Gundagai, we arrived in Canberra for a few days. Poor Canberra, our nation's capital, suffers from some bad press as being extraordinarily boring, but it is a terrific place to visit for a few days, with heaps of things to interest kids. Lots of museums (the War Memorial is truly extraordinary), some pretty mid-century architecture, and good food (Sammy's Kitchen) makes it a great place to stay.
The reason for our visit was for me to wallow in some nostalgia mostly, as I spent my childhood in Canberra. We visited my old house, and my old school, which is looking rather sorry these days unfortunately; it closed down for many years I think, and is only now re-establishing itself as a school. We spent a lot of time in Canberra with me reminiscing about my childhood; the children had a very high tolerance level for me waxing lyrical about the olden days of the 1970s, bless their cotton socks. I also got them doing some of the things I liked doing as a kid, like ride on the old merry-go-round in Civic (ironically originally from just around the corner from us in St Kilda in Melbourne).
On to a lightening quick visit to Sydney to see in the new year, as we have done the past three years. A good friend has a gorgeous apartment in Cremorne Point so we get to see the new year fire works in style. As always, Sydney was all about hot and steamy weather, ferries, crowded beaches, great food, David Jones (for some reason much better in Sydney than it is in Melbourne), and lots of loud people.
Then it was off to the beach for a week. The trip from Sydney to the south coast of NSW is a lot prettier than the trip from Melbourne up to Pambula, but it is tiresome. Bad roads, big traffic jams, and impatient drivers. Wonderful to get to Pambula Beach at last, to a week of sleeping, eating, reading, laying in the shade, wading in the water, and drinking coffee.
Fishing was done (and one was caught!), boardgames played, long conversations held, movies watched and lots of wine drunk. We made tiramasu and had a barbecue and salad almost every night. And as always, we planned to do some things like go for long walks, but the plans didn't materialise; we were too busy relaxing.
It was sad to leave yesterday, but great to get home to our pets, our own beds, missed friends, and Christmas presents not yet enjoyed. And the good news is that there is only three more bags to be unpacked, and I've made it through all of the dirty washing.
I must admit that I am not thrilled about returning to work tomorrow... at least I'll have another week off at the end of January before the kids go back to school.