After Veronica made us all crepe’s for breakfast and Pat showed us the proper Italian way to eat them (a bit of butter and sugar gently rolled between the paper-thin crepe), we all got ready and drove downtown.
The weekend market was set up with tons of vendors in the part of town they call “The Rocks” which is the oldest area of Sydney. It kind of had a New England feel to it. We had fun looking at all the crafts and gift items, of course tasting the chocolate and spicy dips along the way. After shopping, we walked over to the Bonza Bike Tour office (www.bonzabiketours.com) which our friends (Brian and Jill) from Hermosa Beach in CA own.
They hooked us up with a complimentary 2 hour bike tour of Sydney for not only Giff and I but Veronica, Pat and the kids too. The guides got us all situated…making sure we had the right helmet and bikes were adjusted to our height before beginning the tour.
Our group had about 12 people and one guide. The ride was slow-paced and we stopped many times to hear the history and stories of various parts of town. The main one being how Australia was founded which was due to Great Britain needing more space to keep criminals so shipped them to this island which is now known as Australia.
It was nice learning fun facts about the city and getting to see Sydney from the perspective of a bike ride, which allowed us to cover more ground quicker. We drove though the busy streets, by the harbor, through Chinatown, and around parks looking at both historical and new buildings in the area.
After our tour, we stopped for a bite to eat at a German restaurant/bar and ordered a light meal to munch on…of course, there was a live German band playing (they were probably in their 70’s) and Giff sneakily had them sing happy birthday to me as they brought out a thick piece of cake with a candle.
Once we got home, we enjoyed each other’s company knowing that tomorrow we will be leaving for our 2 week cruise to Fiji.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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