Am I crazy? I think I might be. But I survived.
Last Sunday I decided to pile the girls in the car (sans Cal) and travel over 1000kms south to Ararat.
For those of you who don't know where Ararat is, here is a map of my trip.
We left at around 9am and were aiming to make Albury for dinner. The plan was to stop wherever we wanted, and collect postcards along the way that Ardyn was going to make into an album of our trip.
We stopped at Goulburn and spent quite some time there, playing, drinking hot chocolate and shopping - and of course getting a postcard. Next stop was Gundagai. I don't know Gundagai too well, so it was straight to the Visitor Centre as I thought that would be the easiest place to find a postcard. It was, and the girls had a run around the park that was there, happily playing tag before we popped over the Maccas for a coffee and a shake. Last stop was Albury where we stayed here which is where we always stay if we stop over in Albury for anything (well, it's actually Lavington, but close enough I say).
After a very chilly night in Albury, and a cold cold morning, we headed off on the second leg of our journey - after getting our morning coffee and postcard that is. The girls had been very well behaved up until this point, but I could see it going downhill at some stage.
We battled the fog out of Albury and made it to Seymour for lunch. Off to the Visitor Centre again, and from there we were directed to a lovely little coffee shop for lunch. Then off again - next stop was to be Kryal Castle just outside of Ballarat. I had been wording the girls up for weeks about visiting the castle. You see, every time we drive out to Ararat, Cal is in such a hurry to get there, he only ever points out the castle, but we never stop. So I had planned to stop. Then we got there.........they had no power and were closed for the day. BUGGER!!!
I tell you, I felt like Chevy Chase in National Lampoons Vacation ("I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose! Praise Marty Moose!!!") I wanted to punch that moose in the nose just like he did. But I did not succumb to holding a fat security guard hostage at gun point so that the girls could experience the castle.
That was the beginning of the end to a joyous trip. They were both so upset. But I think that the biggest thing was that we couldn't get a postcard of the castle. We took some pictures of the girls out the front, and ventured into Ballarat thinking that the Visitor Centre there is sure to have a Kryal Castle postcard......you'd think!!!
There are two Visitor Centres in Ballarat - one at Eureka Stockade and one at the Art Gallery. The one at Eureka only stocks Eureka Postcards, and the one at the Art Gallery only stocks fine art postcards. Not one of them stocks standard old "Ballarat" postcards. So we found a newsagent hoping that they would and when they didn't they directed us to the Visitor Centre. OMG!!!! The girls were upset, I was angry that I had wasted an hour in Ballarat for nothing, and we still had an hour to drive.
We arrived in Ararat at about 5pm on Monday, and boy was I glad that my brother was there like 5 minutes later. Good ol' Uncle Mal played with the girls and allowed me to have a little bit of 'quiet time'. Then Aunty Nik arrived with the purpose of our trip - beautiful Baby Willow. All bad thoughts go out the window when you get to hold a new baby. I loved my time holding this precious bundle who slept in my arms and made me forget all the torment of Ballarat.
So, a few days in Ararat, with plans to visit Sovereign Hill on the way home. But then the rains hit, and knowing that Sovereign Hill would be a big pool of mud, we decided to head straight home to Sydney.
So on Thursday we packed the car and made our way back to Ballarat - the plan was to grab some rolls for lunch and attempt to find a damn postcard. We got lunch and petrol okay, but then the hunt for a postcard drove me nutty again. I have decided that I now HATE Ballarat, which is unfortunate, as I have some lovely memories of that place and its people. Anyway.......
I told the girls that we were going to have a long drive, and weren't stopping until Glenrowan - Ned Kelly's last stand. This leg went okay, and we spent a good amount of time in Glenrowan learning about Ned and taking photos of the giant Ned statue. From there it was only a short trip to Albury. But by this time Ardyn had the most terrible cough that I have ever heard. One of those that doesn't stop, and then she can't breathe in between. I honestly thought that I'd end up at the hospital that night. Straight to the chemist when we got to Albury for stuff to allow her to sleep soundly. It worked. She slept really well, but went back to coughing all day yesterday.
Yesterday was pretty easy. We stopped in Gundagai again, but this time outside of Gundagai (five miles to be exact) and had an early lunch at The Dog on the Tuckerbox. We had planned to stop at Hollbrook earlier, but it was 3 degrees and foggy when we got there, so we stayed inthe car. So we had brunch in Gundagai instead of lunch. I wasn't complaining being ahead of our very loose schedule. From there all Ardyn wanted was a photo with the 'really big sheep' in Goulburn, so we did that, and then were back in Sydney, in our own home by about 4:15pm. Yay!!!!!
It was a great adventure for the girls (and me really), but I was so glad to get home and see Cal. I was getting a little homesick and sooky by Thursday night, which is not unusual for me.
Right now, I am sitting in my PJs, coffee beside me, listening to the girls quietly playing (and loudly coughing) while Cal hangs out the washing. Ahhhh..........what a relaxing Saturday morning. I know that I should hit the gym, but it feels so nice to just potter around. Maybe later.
I hope that you are enjoying your Saturday morning.