Scaling city heights
10 January 12
Sometimes we aim high. Our trip into Sydney city today had two goals — to visit my dad at his office and to reach the top of the Sydney Tower.
Dad catches the bus into work every morning, and we followed in his footsteps, albeit a couple hours’ later then he did. Walking up Elizabeth Street, I kept assessing the buildings, trying to guess which one was staid enough to house federal department offices.
Finally giving up on locating his office without assistance, we called Dad and he escorted us to his eighth-floor desk. Although it’s not a usual occurrence for a family with five small children to visit the offices of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, we were greeted kindly by dad’s colleagues as we looked around.
Our visit upstairs was understandably brief as we usually add to the noise level, and Calista just wanted to play. So we took our party back downstairs.
When it was time to go, Dad took us out the back way and directed us towards Sydney Tower. Although I’m usually an excellent navigator, I still haven’t gotten my bearings in Sydney and am not able to lead us around town as I have in other past cities we’ve visited. So I was thankful to be told which direction our destination lay.
Finally, we found the tower and took the lift to the 250-metre-high observation deck. Because it’s school holidays, we’re finding the Sydney attractions a bit crowded. Nevertheless, we could navigate the crush of people to look through the binoculars and identify Sydney’s landmarks for the girls.
Travelling through the city, the girls wanted a ride on the monorail. The big local news for the week was that the city council is discussing moves to dismantle the monorail, so we decided to try it out while we still had the opportunity. Also helpful is the fact that most of our children ride free on public transport.
Our city trip ended with the train ride back home. The girls are getting confident at the train stations and have learned to recognise the muffled call of the stations as they’re broadcast across the platforms and throughout the carriages.
One of the reasons that we periodically like to visit the city is to show our girls what life is like in a city environment. High-density housing, public transport, restaurants, tourist attractions and public art are important experiences for our children, and while we’re in the midst of it all, we enjoy it too!