May 24, 2013

Sydney's Public Transport - I Thank You

Today is one of those days when it seems inconceivable that I was swimming in the ocean a mere eleven days ago. Winter has sprung in formerly-sunny-Sydney. The ocean is fifty shades of grey-green,  big white marshmallow clouds are galloping across the sky and the ugg boots have come out to play.

Just a word on ugg boots . . . my neighbour Jo just popped in to invite us to a shindig at their place on Saturday night. She was wearing ugg boots. I was wearing ugg boots. The dress code for their party is ugg boots. Because that's the way we classy Collaroy chicks roll. Woo! We do, however, draw the line at cardy-chardy cask wine you'll be relieved to know. We drink from BOTTLES!!

However, I didn't plan to write about ugg boots. Not to say that I couldn't write a whole post on ugg boots. I have a few good ugg boot stories. They aren't all pretty, but then, neither are ugg boots. All I will say is that black ugg boots may look good, but they ARE NOT GOOD. Subject closed.

Anyhoo . . .

We were forewarned by the weather bureau that this miserable cold wet weather was going to set in, so on Tuesday I decided to take advantage of the last sunny day of our rapidly diminishing Indian summer and take Francesca on some public transport.

This was not her first adventure on public transport. She went on a bus with our friend Philippa last year. And only last week, I took her on a train ride from North Sydney to Waverton, an impressive distance of one station north. AND BACK!

Right about now, those of you who don't have children or who are too old to remember what it's like to have many, many, many, many long, long, long, long hours in a day to find ways to entertain a toddler, are thinking that I am a miserly cheapskate with no imagination. Public transport as entertainment? Am I mad?

But those of you with pre-school children are nodding and chuckling and throwing back another glass of wine (from a BOTTLE I hope, you classy reader you!) in acknowledgement. Public transport as a form of pre-schooler amusement, is absolute gold!

It's new! It's exciting! It's time-consuming! It's cheap! And to a small child, it's like a fabulous dream come true in which every appealing, lovable, highly merchandised form of transport has crossed over into real life. Thomas! Chuggington! Cars! Who is that blowing the whistle? OMG, IT MUST BE THE FAT CONTROLLER!!! (cue toddler swoon).

On Tuesday it was time to try the big kahuna of Sydney's public transport system - the ferry. Whenever we cross Spit Bridge, Francesca points out the window and yells excitedly "Look Mummy, BOATS!!" Fortunately, we live in a city where it is very easy to fulfill a toddler's boat riding dreams. For the price of a movie ticket, we were able to jump on the Manly ferry for the half hour ride to Circular Quay and oh my, it was every bit as exciting as it promised to be.

All the way to Manly in the car, Francesca was talking about the boat and how it was going to be a yellow boat. THANK YOU Sydney Transport for painting your boats yellow. Mind you, Francesca's grasp of colours is not all that great. The ferries could be painted in purple and orange stripes and I'm pretty sure I could have sold her on the fact they were definitely yellow.

Thank you Sydney Transport for painting your boats yellow
The journey across the harbour was terribly eventful, what will all that going inside, going outside, going inside, going outside business. To the lady trying to read her novel just inside the door, who lost her place every time we opened the door to a blast of wind, sorry. I'm glad you moved. Eventually.

The 'outside' bit

The 'inside' bit
Even though we didn't need a reason to go to the city because, hellooo, BOAT!!!, we decided it would be fun to do something once we got there and arranged to catch up with my gorgeous friend Clare, who works in a vault somewhere under Castlereagh Street. Under all that Chanel couture and Mont Blanc pennery (new word!) is a vault where the Jason Bournes of Sydney can store all their alias passports, fake moustaches and fifty kinds of currency in private safety deposit boxes.

After inspecting the vault, we decided to go for coffee and cake.

And that's where the excitement of the BOAT!!! came back to bite me. Because everyone knows that too much excitement in a tiny body can cause a subsequent meltdown.

We went to a fancy cafe on the fancy level of Westfield (Jones the Grocer) where the cakes looked like works of art and the olive oil was backlit. We sank onto the leather banquette ready for a good catch-up chat only to have Francesca proceed to whine and not dine. She didn't touch her layered babycino, and spat out the jam filled cake she had determinedly chosen. Oh, it was painful. Clare laughed it off and, because she not only remembers the toddler years but is also like a sister, didn't hold it against me. She didn't give me the pained look that says "This is why I'll never have another baby." She just said it. "This is why I'll never have another baby." God love her. Obviously I agreed. She will probably look at me the same way in 13 years, with the pity of a woman who has survived three teenaged girls.

Then Clare did what all good aunties do . . . took Francesca next door to the lolly shop for a sugar fix. Problem solved. Those ten jubes occupied Francesca in her stroller all the way back to the ferry. In fact, she was so relaxed and happy all the way home, I decided to forgive her for being blacklisted from the fancy cafe on the fancy level at Westfield. I also got a chance to play with my iphone photo apps and take some pics of my daughter's first excursion to the city she lives in . . .

I spend a lot of time looking 'up' when I'm in the city - I love seeing our gorgeous heritage buildings rubbing shoulders with shiny modern architecture

Waiting for the ferry, Wharf 3, Circular Quay

Looking up again, this time at Circular Quay, where these seahorses live under the roof

The giant gnarled fig tree in Macquarie Place takes my breath away, flourishing next to its concrete & stone neighbours

Strolling . . .
Back in Manly. Melt down? What melt down?


  1. Your pictures are as beautiful as your words! I live in Sydney and this inspired post made me see it through new eyes. You have a talent Michelle!
    Taylor x

  2. Thank you Taylor. And remember . . . you, me, Chinatown, Writer's Festival - it's a date!

  3. I wonder if the nagging will now stop. Mummy where is the train? Mummy where is the boat? are certainly familiar refrains from the gorgeous one, or will it now intensify. Have you created a monster (albeit a beautiful one) Michelle? By the way I love Cesca's outfit xxx

  4. The monster seems appeased for now! And yes we get a lot of compliments on the black tutu and stripy leggings, courtesy of Grandma (thank you Mum!) xx


I love hearing from you (and by the way, you're looking lovely today) x

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