A Travellerspoint blog

Australia in Winter…

Reporting from Düsseldorf

This is a super quick update to explain our travels and moves during the last 2 months. We packed up our life in Shanghai after five years, and have been in transition from China to our new home in Germany.

Our shipping left Shanghai at the start of June, so we were effectively camping in our own home for about 3 weeks, but with some furniture as it didn't all belong to us… we finished up our time in Shanghai with a bucket list which included taking the kids to Lost Heaven, walking along the Bund (again), eating noodles, cocktails and dinner at Flair, and celebrating the 'last' time we did a number of things, and of course saying farewell to so many of our dearest friends. Even with so much time ahead of our departure we were flat out with activities including the last week at school, farewell parties for the kids, including a swimming party for our kids thrown together at the last minute the day after school finished, and that final clean up. We couldn't believe how much stuff we still had left over!!

We checked out of our apartment and headed to Pudong International Airport for our last flight out as residents with 113kg of checked in luggage. (I am not ruling out never flying out of Pudong again!) The kids were amazing (as usual) and flew well, and even managed the transfer in KL. Didi woke up after our landing in Sydney and asked in a loud clear voice - 'Are we in Germany now?' Poor little darling… didn't like that the answer was No. We checked into the Swissotel in Market Street, and were glad to have an upgraded room and that it was available straight away. We had four days scheduled in Sydney and most of it was to attend to our business. Jie Jie had a playdate on the North Shore with a boy who had been at her school in Shanghai until a few months ago and it was delightful to see them catch up again. We went out for dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousins to the Australian Hotel in the Rocks - which had an ace atmosphere, thanks to the big rugby game between Australia and England.

On Sunday we started the day by going to a service at the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, which is run by the minister who married us, and also christened both the kids. Then some gorgeous friends from Newcastle drove down to see us and we spent the afternoon at the Australian Museum looking at the dinosaurs and playing in the kids area. They have had a second baby (who is now nearly one) that we hadn't met, so was fab to catch up with them.

The sun finally came out on Monday and we went for a walk through the Botanic Gardens and around the Opera House. I always feel like I've come home when I am on that promenade at Circular Quay watching the ferries come in and seeing the sun glistening on the harbour looking ahead to the both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I guess that's what living in Sydney for over 10 years does to you!! Beautiful city.

After our time in Sydney, we hired a car and drove down to stay with my awesome 91 year old Grandma at her new villa in Batemans Bay. We had a jam packed few days with fish and chips on the beach, a day out on my uncle's farm followed by a boat trip back down to Batemans Bay. I just love the Aussie bush, the colours and the smells are divine. We also visited my step-Grandfather who has recently moved into a high care nursing home, and has kangaroos grazing outside his window. It was great to see all the family and spend time again in a place we know so well.

From Batemans Bay we drove across NSW to Wagga Wagga to visit a friend from University, and break our drive. It was great for the kids to be able to play with their toys and get to know their kids! After one night in Wagga we continued down south to Melbourne… we headed to Milawa for lunch, and to stock up on some delicious cheese and then meandered though Gippsland to Mum and Dad's house.

3 weeks in Melbourne flew past, busy with doctors appointments, organising our stuff a bit more and catching up with old friends. Mum and Dad were delighted to have the kids in their house and organised a variety of activities for them, and started off with taking them to the zoo, and finished with a trip to the Aquarium. Jie Jie and Dad got a bit of an interest in the birds down at the Glen Iris Wetlands, and spent their spare minutes down there documenting the birds they saw, and constantly on the lookout for the elusive blue wren.

The weather in Melbourne was perfect, a delightful sunny, unusually warm July. Loved the blue skies and fluffy clouds, and the sun streaming in the windows of the sunroom. It was nice to be back in the house I grew up in, it's a lovely area and so familiar even after 15 years away.

Packing our bags for the next flights caused some worry, as although initially we thought it would all fit in easily, at the last minute it was apparent that there was a good chance we would exceed our baggage allocation of 30kg per person. At the check in counter, we were proved right - we exceeded our luggage allowance by almost another 30kg! Fortunately the man checking us in told us that our A380 had 200 empty seats, and not to worry about the excess and didn't charge us… but we were only headed to Dubai for a mini-break/stopover… what would happen when we left Dubai???

Posted by aboo10 13:07

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What a lot you did in preparing for life after Shanghai! We were glad to be part of the changeover! Good luck in Dusseldorf.

by Ros Pearce

A wonderful recount !

by Libby

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