I had the great pleasure to receive some visit from Canada over the Christmas period. My parents, my sister and her fiance. They were happy to escape the bloody freezing weather up north that reached as low as -40 degree.
This visit have been planned for some time already so the only things missing was them, which happened on Christmas day where we all met at the airport in Sydney. We were supposed to welcome them they’re flight was more than an hour before scheduled so they were waiting for us. Not without saying, it was an emotional encounter.
We took a cab and headed down Sydney Meriton World Tower were we rented a really nice palace for 2 nights up the 69th floor. We left our bags and went exploring Sydney CBD area, Hyde Park, botanical garden, circulay quay, the iconic Opera House before heading back to refresh ourselve and get ready for dinner at Zaffran at Darling Harbour. The weather was frankly horrible, lot of wind, clouds and rain, streets were very quiet but we had a good time. I was expecting a short evening after such a long journey so we got back early for a good night of sleep.
The next day on boxing day, after an early morning the weather cleared up a little and we went at the famous sydneysider iconic beach, Bondi. Then later, we did the coastal walk all the way to Coogee beach, stopping for a swim on two along the way. We took the bus back home for dinner, talks and couple of drinks 😉 They didn’t survived very late.
A bit over jetlag now and rested, we rented up a minivan to explore the Blue Mountains area, an hour and half away north west of Sydney. Our first stop was Wenthworth Falls, home the nicest hiking trail I have done so far in Australia to my opinion. We only did a short walk down to the waterfall for the time being to the best sight seeing spot and continued our way to Katoomba. We visited the town, the famous Three Sisters viewpoint and headed out for dinner for some wood fired pizzas. Food and wine was delicious but we were exhausted once again and slept early.
We woke up early the next morning to a very good breakfast and completed the national pass hiking trail with my sister and her fiance André. It was our second time for Gabriela and I but we were still amazed by the beauty of the place and the fantastic open view of the canyon. Thereafter, we went back to Katoomba for lunch and left early in the afternoon for our flight to Brisbane at 7pm. Arrived in Brisbane, we had a dinner at the company’s apartment we had the opportunity to use and exchanged Christmas presents that were put under the Christmas tree for the occasion. Probably the only thing that make us feel like Christmas in here.
I left them a bit of a rest in the morning of 29th of December after such a busy schedule but met then early afternoon to explore Brisbane on foot. I took them through the botanical garden and south bank and we took the city cat up to my place where everyone was invited for dinner. After so many Skype session over the last 3 years, it was about time they check it out! We were lucky enough to get in before a storm lighten up the sky for several hours. We had a great time and went to bed early as we had to wake up awfully early (1:45am) my mother and I to go Hot Air Ballooning over the Gold Coast hinterland.
The alarm clock came quickly after less than 2 hours of sleep. We drove to the Gold Coast to take off in an Hot Air Balloon over the Gold Coast hinterland for sun rise. Winds were apparently perfect so we started off from Canungra some distance from the coast. We were suppose to surf with the winds closer to the coast but we never actually went really far as once up in the air, the winds were blowing in every direction and it was apparently quite hard to navigate, they were also too strong on the coast. So we pretty much stayed in a 5km radius but went up as high as 5000ft so the view was quite impressive especially when the sun rose up. The experience was figuring on my bucket list so I was quite happy to bring my mother there with me. We ended the experience with a champagne & buffet breakky. Then we met with the other crews at Surfers Paradise around lunch time and had fun at the beach. We explored on foot the city and came back home for dinner.
Last day of the year already and the crew was exhausted by my intense schedule, so we decided to take it easy for the day and planned to go to North Stradbroke the next day instead. Fair dinkum! We met again for dinner and share some good times. We were all happily surprised when André proposed my sister, moment before the fireworks started at 8:30pm. It was quite a nice one, my little sister will get married next year! We then celebrated and played music before heading to the midnight fireworks at South Banks. The year was ending very well and in good company.