Tag Archives: New Years Eve

From 2018 into 2019 – An Australian Adventure: Sydney the second

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Monday through Thursday, 31-Dec-2018 through 03-Jan-2019

As is tradition, Sarah and I spent Christmas and New Years on an international adventure of epic proportions.  This year, the Lydecker clan (including myself and Henry’s girlfriend Leah) met up in the land down under, the magical land of Australia.

 

After coming back to Sydney from Fitzroy, we all had a few days to spend together before Bill and Greta had to head back home to Scotland.  Keeping it simple, we focused on exploring Sydney itself, and getting a chance to see Henry and Leah’s home turf.  It was amazing – Sydney is a massive city, full of amazing buildings and great food.  It’s a really cool urban center, and a great place to spend a few days exploring and experiencing…

 

Monday, 31-Dec

Goal of the day: Australian Museum!

We did get to sleep in a bit, thanks to how late our flight got in, but afterward we headed into the city and explore the big natural history museum. It’s similar to the British Museum, in that it had lots of cool artifacts from Aussie history, though it was pretty focused on European history. They did have one exhibit on Aboriginal culture, but it was honestly fairly sparse… Still interesting, but I was a bit sad that there wasn’t more about the native culture and history.

From some research that I did in the evening though… that spareness was probably very intentional.  As any Australian could tell you, there’s a very strained relationship between the Native Australians and the European cultures.  Which has evolved into Aboriginal culture being kept… almost secret?  It’s not particularly well known, and more is being learned literally every day.

Baseline?  I’ve gained a new interest, and a new thing to read books about.

Afterward, we head back to the AirBnB to get ready for our fancy New Years Eve dinner!

We showered, got all kinds of dressed up, and headed out to an amazingly cool restaurant that Henry and Leah had booked us a table at: Ormaggio on the Spit.  It was a sort of Italian / Spanish fusion, though if I recall it was primarily billed as a contemporary Italian place.  Whatever the name, there was a wicked fancy tasting dinner, with matched wine.  Delicious, and definitely much fancier than I think I’ve ever had before.  And, of course, all the while we were watching the yachts outside roll in the wind, as lightening arced over the harbor.

After dinner, since it was still a ways before midnight, we all headed back to Henry and Leah’s house to watch the countdown, have champagne, and ring in the new year!

 

Tuesday, 01-Jan

New Years day!  Art Gallery of New South Wales! Festival goers!

We started the day with our usual yogurt and granola breakfast, though it was a fair bit later than usual thanks to the New Years eve revels of the evening before.  I mean, we didn’t go as crazy as it seemed like the rest of Sydney had, but still.  An excuse to sleep in a bit, right?

We took the bus down into the central business district, and… whoa. It’s New Years Day.  And New Years Day in Sydney meant that there was a music festival going on, which meant that there’s a constant stream of revelers passing us, in revelry electronica music festival outfits.

They were… interesting.  I don’t think the stream of people stopped, or even slowed, at all the whole time we were there.  And more impressively, I don’t think that we saw a single outfit more than once… with the exception of the three guys all wearing matching spongebob-yellow shorts and shirts.

Our main goal of the day was the Sydney Art Museum – The Art gallery was definitely very cool, but it left me wanting to know more about aboriginal culture… Much of the art was European focused, and the pieces that were Native Australian were far too arcane for me to understand. They were interesting, but extremely abstract.

There were some european-style landscapes that were gloriously amazing though – ones that I’d absolutely say were some of the best landscapes that I’ve ever seen. Afterward, we had a lovely lunch of dumplings, explored the Central Business District, and then had a low-key dinner at Henry and Leah’s house – amazing roast chicken and rice!

 

Wednesday, 02-Jan

Bill and Greta’s last day in Australia 😦

Up early, have some yogurt, and take a bus to Balmoral Head, a really cool park overlooking the harbor, right near Leah’s office.  We wandered around, took photos, and hung out as a group.  It was a pretty impressively gorgeous area, and was a perfect relaxing outside walk after the last two days of museums.

 

We had brunch at a quite chic brunch place right on the water, before marching back up the hill to get a bus back to the house!  I’m not joking – We’re talking a San Francisco-level hill here, in full Sydney summer heat.  All those calories that we’d eaten at brunch?  Yep.  Burned.

Bill and Greta finish packing, and then we all relax and visit for a while until they have to get the Uber to the airport. Boo!

After they head out, Sarah and I rest and nap for a while at the house, and then meet up with Henry and Leah for coffee and brisket pie. Pie… Afterward, we head into the city for some quick exploring, specifically around “The Rocks”, sort of the tourist/docks area of the city.

We have dinner at an Indonesian place, which is freaking amazing, and then had dessert at “Choc Pot”, which is basically lava cakes of doom. Then some more people watching, and window shopping, including a creepy Otaku Japanese restaurant where you can pay the waitresses to take pictures with you. But we didn’t eat there.  We ate at a place called Choc Pot.  They had pots of chocolate.  It was exactly what you’d expect… except with more chocolate.  And I expected a lot of chocolate.

Then we took a bus home and sleeeeeeeped.

 

Thursday, 03-Jan

Wake up, clean up the AirBnB, head over to Henry and Leah’s house. After a quick cup of coffee, us and Henry head out to Toronga Zoo!!

We explore, see lots of awesome animals, and Henry tags tons of brush turkeys on his app. Have a quick snack of chicken fingers, aww yeah. Then we take the ferry across the harbor to Sydney, which is awesome, and then the train to the University District.

We explore, wander, meet Leah, and have lunch at “Spice Alley”, and then explore and wander around the University of Sydney. Lots of cool buildings, very old-school European. Then head into the city to wander and explore!

We finally check out Kinokuniya – It’s a huge bookstore, with tons of comic books, and no climbing books, but also a lot of art books and a TON of Japanese manga. It was really cool, and I found a ton of new comics that I want to read sometime soon.

Then we made a questionable decision, and let Sarah go explore a stationary store… Which very quickly lead to Sarah getting trapped in a stationary store, where I ended up people watching for a while until she escapes.

Then a bit of wandering and photography, followed up with food shopping for dinner (Pizza and takeaway Indian) along with shopping for climbing lunches! Then back to Henry and Leah’s house, cook, relax, and bed semi-early so we can rest up for the next step in our amazing adventures!

Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Stonehaven Fireballs

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Christmas and New Years break, 2016 into 2017: Stonehaven Fireballs

New Years Eve, 2016 into 2017. The Stonehaven Fireballs!

Saturday and Sunday, 31-Dec-2016 & 01-Jan-2017
New Years Eve! Ringing in 2017 with adventure and happiness. Or, in this case, fire.

Intentional fire, though! Don’t worry, we didn’t set the house alight, or anything crazy like that. Instead, we watched other people light everything on fire.

Every town in Scotland seems to have a story. Something that makes it special and unique; either an event, or some interesting tradition that’s unique to that town. In the case of the town of Stonehaven, it’s their New Years eve (Hogsmanay, in Scotland) event that sets them apart. It’s the Stonehaven Fireballs, and what they do is they take all the old fishing nets, covered in tar and pitch, and wrap them up in chicken wire. Then, light them on fire and spin them around their heads until their about to go out… at which point the fireballs are chucked into the ocean.

Yup. Medieval fire spinning, except with giant Poi that get chucked in the ocean.

It was exactly as ridiculous and amazing as one would expect, from that description. Bagpipe bands kept us occupied until midnight, and some Stovies (a Scottish dish made of beef and potatoes, of course) kept us warm. Cocoa, mead, and coffee definitely helped, too.

Once Midnight hit, and the fires were lit, we got to watch the spinners parade for nearly 20min, up and down the little 200 yard long corridor that was set up for them. It was amazing, seeing how many people did this year after year… Men and Women, young and old… everything, just tough Scots playing with fire.

The rest of New Years eve was our own tradition – popping champagne, and hanging out around the kitchen table. Bill and Greta went to bed earlier than the rest of us, but Sarah, Henry, Leah and myself all stayed up and chatted; talking about life in the States, life in Australia, and basically everything we could think of about the previous year, and what we’re up to in this coming year. We finally headed to bed around 3:00, well drank and excited for the year to come!

New Years Eve 2014

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Wednesday, 31-Dec-13

New Years… it’s one of my favorite holidays, though I honestly can’t really tell you why.  I think it’s partially because it’s a time for new beginnings, and it has a “people should make out!” element added into the countdown.  Ohh, and popping champagne corks is always nice too.

So this year, Daniel hosted New Years… I think he held is last year too, but I’m not 100% sure.  Either way, it was EXCELLENT!

I dressed up, as usual, in my Kurta from Jig and Dave’s wedding… if anyone hasn’t seen a Kurta before, look it up quick – they’re amazing.  Very bright colored and lots of sequins… not the best with dreads, I’ll admit, but I survived and thrived non-the-less.  Mine was bright emerald, with perfect aquamarine fancy slippers, so I was definitely the belle of the ball for this one night.

The party night itself was a bit of a  blur – Terese and I took the train out, since the plan was to crash at Daniel’s place anyways, so there was no concern about cars or parking or any of that nonsense.  The train was completely packed, but that’s just the price you have to expect to pay on New Years Eve.  Nothing too bad, though I was a bit saddened by the lack of crazy people or interestingly dressed folks riding with us.

Instead, we got to the party, helped set up, and then proceeded to party down!  There wasn’t one overarching story to the party, so let me sum it up with a few fun points:

  • We had TONS of random and amazing drinks – Daniel and I both spent time playing bartender, though I have to say that I’m pretty sure that my Baileys and Frangelico coffee was basically the best thing ever.  I did make that, right?  Not a dream?  Hmm….
  • Brian (Daniel’s brother) and Mike LeVasseur were both able to make it out from Florida and California, respectively.  Thus, lots of time was spent catching up and hearing about various enterprises.  Damn, both of those guys are getting stuff done!
  • Terese pulled off a VERY nice outfit… I do enjoy events where people dress up.  It’s fun, and is a good excuse to play the fancy card.
  • The countdown was awesome, and lots of champagne was drank by all.  Daniel, I apologize for how messy your floor must have gotten.  My bad.
  • Some people are nice guys, and feel bad about crashing in bed with a girl who’s ex is in the same room with them.  Mike and I are not nice guys, so when the nice guy is drunk and just wants to sleep, we drag him to the room and toss him in the bed with the girl (they’re both clothed, don’t worry about it.  He’s a gentleman) and leave the annoyingly drunk ex to deal with it himself.  Laughs were had by all.  And high-fives.

The night ended well, basically with all of us crashing at random places throughout the house.  Terese and I found ourselves in the downstairs bedroom, on a sleeping pad that Daniel had laid out.  It wasn’t the most comfy thing ever, especially when on a hardwood floor instead of outside in the forest, but it was definitely acceptable, and we slept pretty well.  Very well, when you count everyone getting up constantly, people leaving at 5 in the morning, and the partiers outside.

 

Thursday, 01-Jan-14

The next morning started slowly and painfully… but honestly not nearly as painfully as I expected.  Chirag and I were the first ones away (technically Brian was, since he came downstairs, but that doesn’t count because he went back to sleep), followed quickly by Terese.  After I got up and put Terese back to bed, we got dressed and headed out for a constitutional… AKA a walk to Dunkin Donuts to get stuff for everyone.

Was a nice walk, doubly-so for seeing everyone taking the walk of shame, or being painfully hungover waiting for their coffee.  We got a box of coffee and a ton of donuts, said hi to a few police officers who were just too tired to deal with any of this shit, and headed back to start making breakfast.

Three Bostwicks later, everyone was awake and downstairs, eating bacon and sausage and eggs and other delicious concoctions.  The day went quickly from there, leading us on a few light adventures as we tried to shake the hangovers.  The Hobbit was watched, snacks were had, and the new year started out with a nicely comfortable sigh.