Sydney (6)

Sunday 31/12

We wake up around 8:30am. I still don’t feel great with this cold.

After breakfast, we do 2 homeschooling sessions, despite the fact that the Sydney week is theoretically a week of vacation (but the kids were supposed to do these 2 session in the car during the trip to Sydney on 25/12, which they didn’t do). We try hard to maintain a regular rhythm for the homeschooling; we feel that it is important for the kids. They’ve never been in a French-speaking school and next academic year in Belgium will be tough I’m afraid. Just as an example, Florence said yesterday “ça m’étégalait” (instead of “ça m’était égal”). There’s a long way to go… They don’t complain too much about these homeschooling sessions, except Jules who doesn’t really enjoy working. Florence is very diligent in her work and Ludivine even recently said that she believed they were not working enough! But Ludivine is not too keen to get our advice and explanations (typical teenager…).

Isabelle and I go to our previous hostel to pick up Jules’ sweater that he forgot there. We then walk to Crown Street. We witness the huge queues of people already forming to reach the best (free) spots in town for the fireworks tonight.

In Crown Street, I want to see the ‘Fishbowl Sashimi Bar’. I think it’s a good concept (see picture of the menu). It’s a variation of the poké bowl craze, which is picking up steam in Australia. The menu is super healthy (and delicious): raw fish, veg, rice and great dressings. The main difference with the poké bowls is that they mix all the ingredients for you before serving your bowl. It’s probably less photogenic for the Instagram fans but I prefer this way I think. Just for the ones who don’t know (like us until a couple of days ago…): a poké bowl was initially a raw fish salad served in the Hawaiian cuisine. Beginning around 2012, poké became increasingly popular in the US. The contemporary poké restaurants are mainly fast casual style places where the dish is fully customizable from the base to the marinade on the fish. Poké is thus basically an amazing combo of Hawaiian and Japanese food styles that equals simple, fresh, healthy and very tasty food. Isabelle and I are both enthusiastic about this concept. We enjoy very much our bowl. We believe that these bowls could work in Belgium, maybe extended to other kind of power/fuel/energy bowls, easy to eat, in line with today’s healthy trend. It’s not only healthy but also fast and affordable (approximately 8 Euro per bowl).

We walk back to our district.

I go to the apartment to try to put the kids to bed for a forced nap; I really want them to be able to enjoy the great show of tonight (it’s really a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience). Isabelle indeed booked 5 tickets to be on a ferry tonight to attend the famous New Year’s Eve fireworks in the Sydney Bay (remember, it was quite a challenge to find tickets with a good view of the fireworks, while we were on Siquijor in Philippines).

I join Isabelle at the Woolies to buy nice food for tonight’s picnic on the boat.

We then prepare these different courses in the apartment and it’s already time to go (the appointment in Circular Quay is at 6:15pm).

We embark around 7:15pm.

On the boat, we share our resolutions for 2018. Ludivine clearly did an extensive search and comes up with an impressive list, mainly about a healthier diet. Florence, on her side, said that she would try to eat “a bit” healthier; she’s the one having a sweet tooth. We are all convinced that “sugar is the new tobacco”, as Alexis says.

The evening was great; definitely one of the highlights of our trip. It’s so great to be on a boat on this particular night in the middle of the action, in the harbour, between the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House! We have 5 good seats on the deck and the kids also managed to keep 5 seats inside. The weather is not that warm. We have put our warmest clothes and Ludivine also took her blanket.

There’s always something to watch. It’s indeed not just about midnight: the Sydney New Year’s Eve programme keeps us entertained from sunset to the final countdown. At 8pm, there are flyovers with aerial displays. At 9pm, there’s a 8-minute family fireworks display. At 9:15pm, there’s the ‘Harbour of Light Parade’, an illuminated flotilla of vessels (including ours) that sails through the harbour. In between we eat the many nice “meals” that we prepared (including sushis and a red berries fruit salad) and put in our “Esky” (portable cooler, in Australian language).

At the stroke of midnight (after a countdown of one minute), the so much anticipated Sydney’s world-famous fireworks brings in the new year in spectacular style. The 12-minute display is amazing, with the full effect of seven barges, the Harbour Bridge and fours sails of the Opera House. Wow!!! We all stand open-mouthed, impressed by this fabulous spectacle. We don’t know where to watch; the fireworks are everywhere. We are ideally placed! Wow! Happy New Year!

Note: I didn’t take many pictures – I preferred to enjoy – (and the few ones I took are not good), but Isabelle posted a small video (filmed by Ludivine) on our ‘Gift World Tour’ Facebook page, which gives an idea of the great show.


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