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Published: September 2nd 2011
Sunday morning (the 28th) we got to the train station bright and early and settled in for our 4 1/2 hour train ride from Sydney to Canberra (pronounced "CAN-brah", not "Can-BEAR-ah"). It was pretty uneventful...I got breakfast from the dining car and Matt had gotten pretzels and juice from the vending machine before we left the station. I read most of the way and Matt stared out of the window trying to spot kangaroos. We got into Canberra Station around 11:30am and saw Dan, Ali, and Jackson right away waiting for us. Matt told me to go ahead and he'd get the bags so I ran right out and gave Ali the biggest hug I could...without squishing her 8 1/2 month old pregnant belly 😊 It's been almost 4 years since we've seen each other and it was SO good to see her! After I finished squeezing all of the air out of her I hugged Dan and introduced myself to little Jackson. He's 2 1/2 and is my godson and this is the first time I've ever seen him in person.
Dan and Ali brought two vehicles since I'd warned them ahead of time that we had 3 large
Jackson eating dinner
Did any of that actually make it IN his mouth, do you think?
suitcases with us but it turns out everything fit just fine in the station wagon. Matt rode with Dan and Ali, Jackson and I rode in the second car. We were supposed to follow the boys back to the house but Dan took a few wrong turns then we took a wrong turn and it all become pretty funny that we kept circling around trying to find each other 😊 We finally got back to Dan and Ali's, had some lunch, and started catching up.
Jackson warmed right up to Matt and I. I don't know if it was because Dan and Ali had been telling him we were coming for a visit or if it was because we stepped off of a train when he first saw us...Jackson loves trains...but we were barely in the door when Jackson said, "Snuggle Auntie Mandi!" and ran to his big boy bed and expected me to climb in with him and snuggle. I was only too happy to obey 😊
Our time with Dan and Ali included a little bit of sightseeing, but not much. Canberra is the capital of Australia but it's not as big and busy as Washington
D.C. They did take us up to an overlook so we could see the city and on our last day in town we went to a local park with a large pond and fed the ducks and black swans, which was a lot of fun. Most of our visit in Canberra was just hanging out, catching up, and playing with Jackson. We bought him a new train set from the States so most of the playing was with the train set 😊 I can't wait to get home and send him new pieces to add onto it!
Our last night in Canberra Dan invited over another couple that had lived in Clarksville, Brett and Liz, and also the new Australian pilot that was moving to Fort Campbell in December, James. We had pizza, reminisced about all the things we did together at Campbell, and told James about the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was a great night.
Today, Wednesday the 31st, was our flight to Brisbane. Dan, Ali, and Jackson took us to the airport and Jackson was really excited to see the "aeroplanes" 😊 Our flight out was at 5:30pm and we arrived in Brisbane
Ali and Jackson at breakfast
Ali's wearing the Cleveland Browns sweatshirt that my mom bought her a few years ago for Christmas. She said it's one of the only things that fits over her belly :)
just before 7pm. Our friend, Rowelly, was there to pick us up and we headed straight out to dinner with him and his brother at a Spanish tapas restaurant that was really good. We're staying with Rowelly while we're here and his house is awesome. It's at least 110 years old and has a fantastic deck that looks out over what resembles a jungle. It's hard to believe that he actually lives in a city when you're looking out into the trees.
Tomorrow we're going to Australia Zoo...that's the one that Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, started, and Rowelly is loaning us his car to get there which means Matt is going to have to drive on the wrong side of the road!
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