Today was the 117th birthday of the legendary Puffing Billy steam train. What a perfect day to for a ride on one of the world's finest preserved narrow gauge steam trains! Although skeptical at first, once they saw the steam locomotive the kids got so excited, their eyes popped out of their tiny heads. "Can I put my feed over the edge? Really Mommy? We are not going to get in trouble with the policeman?" Yes, Raquel! Only in Australia (and in places like India and Mexico) can you dangle your feet from a moving train. Needless to say, Mom was very nervous about her one year old boy wanting to hold on to the rails and hang his head out. The train took us on a 1-hour journey to Lakeside, with a 30 minute stop to stretch our legs and munch on lunch in a tea shop. The kids both fell asleep on the return ride to Belgrave, and drove a gorgeous windy road through Dandenong Ranges National Park into the gorgeous Yarra Valley. Before it got dark, the kids chased down a mob of kangaroos at the Yering Gorge Cottages, including a huge albino male. It was the first time they (and their Mom) had ever seen a roo. The kids were fearless. Their Mom, not so much!
Don't judge us: Chicken nuggets and fries (again) at the tea shop in Lakeside, because we only had a half hour and options were limited. Dinner was much more impressive. Sensational Thai take-out from the town of Yarra Glen. Raquel and Gali loved the pad thai, Thai rice with chicken and spring rolls.
My Favourite Pictures Today
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Yering Gorge Cottages, by the Eastern Golf Club. Beautifully appointed cabins overlooking a scenic golf course in the Yarra Valley, with kangaroos grazing outside the deck, lots of space and lots of light.
We learned that Puffing Billy is manned by 800 volunteers. The conductors are there because they love meeting people, which makes the whole experience way more friendlier than your average train trip! We learned that roadworks on the M1 make for parking lots on the freeways. We learned that it gets pretty hot in the Dandenongs. We leaned that kangaroos are timid, even the big ones, and that our kids have no natural fear of them. We learned that Mom (and probably and all Brazilians) are afraid of kangaroos. We learned that Australians love bucket lists! We learned that tantrums are best dealt with when kids are strapped into car seats. We learned that people love steam trains, because they are magical.
Reflection of the Day
Dangling our feet in the wind outside a moving train. Chasing down real-life kangaroos with the kids (and seeing them for the first time ever). Having a bottle of fine Yarra Valley waiting for you at the hotel.
Dad thinks we should call this "the funniest part." While crowds of Puffing Billy passengers flooded onto the platform, Mom decided to show off her abilities opening and closing the Valco Baby stroller with one hand. Instead she fell right on her arse, all the while holding Raquel. No one got hurt except Brazilian Momma pride. Also: Raquel decided she needed to pee right after the train started its one hour journey (of course). No washrooms here. Good thing Galileo had some extra diapers to lend to his sister, who sort of almost fit into his size 5 diapers. Good trouble shooting on the Mom side.
We'll Always Remember
- Name: Emma
- : Margaret River, WA
- : I get to meet new people
- : Always hang your legs off the carriage!
- Name: Sharon
- : Switzerland
- : It’s a refreshing thing to do in life
- : Your parents have paid for everything, enjoy yourselves!
- Name: Peter
- : The Great Barrier Reef
- : It’s nice to get away to the beach
- : Don’t try to grow up too quickly. Enjoy your childhood while you can
- Name: Grace
- : Turkey, the food, the people, the landscape... it ticks all the boxes
- : You find the different motivations why people live their lives
- : Enjoy every new experience
That was a DAY. All upper case. DAY. We're exhausted, especially since yesterday was also a DAY, with the late night penguins and drive home from Phillip Island. In fact, every day when you travel with young kids is a DAY. Full, long, hard, exhausting, memorable, insane, crazy, and unlike any other day. You know, a DAY. When you have a DAY, it feels like you're alive. DAYS do not fade into each other. A DAY does not dissolve into routine. There is no normalcy (and with kids, you're going to pay for that). But it is a DAY. An 18 hour DAY of trains and wildlife encounters and meltdowns and massive forest with tree tunnels to drive through. A DAY. We're looking forward to a more relaxed lower-case day tomorrow, before another full blown DAY after that.