|The gorgeous beach of Gold Coast|
The children have never stayed away from us parents except for our 8th wedding anniversary staycation and when we moved house. Even then, it was just overnight. With them being more independent, I took up my cell group mate's offer to babysit our kids while Joshua and I go overseas on our own. Of course, with so many kids, we have to divide and conquer. We parked our 2 boys at this friend's place while I found two other CG ladies to take over a girl each for 4 days and 3 nights.
We chose to go back to Gold Coast, the place where we had our first honeymoon a decade ago. As it happened, my best friend and her husband relocated there last year, so we also took the opportunity to visit them. It was indeed divine providence.
I actually brought the children out for a family outing the afternoon before we flew off at night but the kids seemed to have bombarded us with 4 days’ worth of nonsense all at one shot! I had hoped that it meant they were depleted of all their whining, tantrums, sulking, fussing, quarrelling and complaining for the next few days so that their caregivers would not have too hard a time managing them.
On the flight there, we were blessed with a beautiful view of the sunrise from above the clouds. Thank you, God, for a wonderful start to our vacation!
I was so glad to have brought along my hat and made Joshua borrow a cap from Joram. The glaring sunlight was terribly bright because there were hardly any clouds to cover the sun. Just look at the powerful rays in the below picture!
Instead of renting a car, we bought the Go Explore card at the airport so that we could travel via their public transport. This was because it would be a hassle trying to find parking space and remember to refuel the tank. I definitely did not want to feel stressed about my husband making a wrong turn due to his bad sense of direction. Neither was I looking forward to worrying about him falling asleep at the wheel with his sleep apnea problem. Anyway, getting around was made so effortless with the availability of the Google Maps app. Plus, the G-link city tram was also recently built which allowed us to zip up and down the coastline with ease.
On the bus
The first thing we did was to fuel up on quinoa salad and hot roast chicken from the supermarket. Then, we went around Surfers Paradise to recapture our fond memories from the past. I re-created photos from our honeymoon 11.5 years ago. Much has changed. Our favourite kebab place had been renamed, the hotel we stayed in had a major facelift and so did Q1, the highest residential building in GC.
|The hotel was taken over|
by the Mantra corporation
The stone directory was also
updated with a digital one!
|This particular pair of couple tees |
(the grey 12 “I am a disciple maker”)
bit the dust a long time ago...
|I still have the SAJC Saints t-shirt. |
It has become a keepsake.
The back says:
"Saints never hang up their halo"
After that, it was time to check into our serviced apartment. We selected this option instead of the usual hotel room because we wanted to save on food by cooking our meals and save on our luggage space by doing our own laundry. We basically just went "down under" with a backpack each!
I was really happy with the space in the apartment and the kitchen was well equipped. The only problem was with the bathroom: there were no hanging bars for towels; the bathtub had no working plug; the shower head was damaged and worst of all, the toilet bowl area stank horribly. Even after washing it twice, the smell was pretty pungent and revolting. In the end, I bought the cheapest air freshener I could find and repeatedly doused the area with lavender fragrance. At least, it was more tolerable afterwards. *sweat*
We took a short nap before heading out to Paradise Point to enjoy the starry night sky. Sadly, there were a few hiccups along the way. I originally wanted us to ride a bike there so we took the tram down to Labrador's Cheap As Bike Rentals. However, I accidentally keyed into the phone app 22 instead of 220 for the address and we went to the wrong place! I also forgot that the shop closes at 4pm and thus by the time we reached the place, they were done for the day.
In the end, we had to take a bus to the location and walked around on foot. We trekked for a very looooong time in order to get to the darkest and remotest part. Our labor was paid off when we found a nice boardwalk where the street lights were turned off. The view of the celestials was truly mesmerising. I had never seen so many stars in my life! A pity we stayed there for a mere 15 minutes because we were terribly exhausted by then, all the while thankful that the children were not with us on this physically challenging outing. We finally succumbed to taking an Uber car back to our apartment.
On a happier note, midway to our destination, we discovered this really lovely Japanese restaurant with romantic ambience, friendly staff and delicious food at very affordable prices. We could replenish our energies with a sumptuous dinner there before we resumed the super tiring journey. I would describe this place as an establishment with a lot of heart and pride in their profession. Even their toilet was up to typical Japanese standard. LOL
|Enjoying my favourite|
Mos Burger iced milk tea
|At TetsuAki restaurant|
The next day we slept in and I made brunch. It was such a joy to cook for someone (i.e. my hubby) who totally appreciates my culinary skills. No more hearing complaints from my children about what they don't like to eat. The best thing is, he does the washing up too. Heh heh...
Since we did not have the chance to ride the night before, we went to rent these adorable vintage bicycles and explored the coastal areas cycling. We totally loved the cool weather and gorgeous scenery. It was so much better than riding around in the humid heat back in Singapore. 2 hours later, we packed some kebabs and Gong Cha drinks back to our apartment for our meal.
One of the main reasons I chose Mantra Crown Towers' apartment was because of their heated indoor swimming pool. It was perfect for the cold and windy climate there. While everyone else was at dinner, we had the whole place to ourselves for half an hour! There was even a jacuzzi there... How marvellous!
I could not get to sleep that night despite the exercise during the day because I was too excited about meeting my best friend the next morning. Eventually, we woke up early to watch the sunrise by the beach, just as we did during our first honeymoon. The sand and water were freezing cold though because this time we went during winter while it was summer time previously. When we got back, I prepared our breakfast while waiting for our friends to come over and pick us up in their car.
Our dear friends arrived and brought us to The Spit to admire the sea there. It was followed by a treat of fish and chips from them. Next, we strolled around at the Carrara Markets where we purchased some souvenirs. We stopped by their rented house for a short rest before going back to our apartment where I whipped up a meal for our beloved guests. I also put together some food art just for them. What a fantastic time we had catching up and feasting! I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken curry my friend cooked and brought over. We ate till we were stuffed. Hahaha...
We had an early flight the next day and with reluctant hearts, we left our friends and the great weather in Gold Coast and travelled home.
My children adored the seashells I picked for them as mementos. Since Joram is still too young to take good care of the shells, I selected a nice stone in his favourite colour for him instead. We also got a pair of cute kangaroo plushies for my twin nephews. As for the three kind ladies who looked after our children while we were gone, we bought raw honey and collected limes harvested fresh from my friend's backyard for them to make delicious honey lemon drinks for their families.
|Photo credit: Grace Tan|
I am so grateful to have this break from the mundane. It was a logistical nightmare making sure that everything fell into place. There was simply so much coordination to be done. Thank the Lord for the extended family of God who generously stepped in to make all this possible! Praise God, too, for granting all of us good health and journey mercies.