Tuesday morning he who loves gaming played Halo online at
a local gaming cafe and in the afternoon, went go-carting with Ads. Amy and I stayed in the shade. Sydney has been unduly hot this year. You never can tell what the weather will be this time of year. But I mean hot . . blistering, windy, horrible, sweat pouring down your back hot. It didn't deter the lads who were happy to play boy racer .
Wed/Thurs, we travelled 3 hours in a hot car to Canberra our Nation's Capital. . .this is not such a pretty drive as the one to Jenolan Caves. The scenery does not change for three hours. Gums, sheep country and only a local wind farm breaks the monotony. The lake in front is Lake George which mysteriously no longer contains water. Why they chose to put the capital territory in the middle of NSW and call it the Australian Capital Territory, I'll never know.
Erm they're sheep in the foreground of what used to be a lake . .
I also don't know why Canberra gets the bad wrap it does. In the early years, Ray and I visited every Easter and yes, it was dead. Nothing open naturally on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. The boys played golf at the ACT Championships and the 'girls' toured what was available and made the most of the daytime before getting together at night to celebrate, party and play. It was hard to become 'immersed' in the nation's capital over such a low weekend and the arrival of children saw an end to this 7 year tradition.
However, I've visited since with the kids and with overseas visitors (but not over the past 10 years) and we've managed to fill our days with museums and art galleries, bike rides around Lake Burley Griffin, shopping, great restaurants in Manuka and frankly for the visitor, there's at least two week's worth of activities to be had. I haven't even touched Tidinbilla NASA museum, barely walked over Cotter Dam or explored the wonders of the National Library. I've never been to the National Portrait Gallery, toured all the embassies, many revealing their national identity with Chinese terracotta roofs, American Colonial Architecture or Japanese stoicism.
We had two days and could easily have filled a week but hey, one can only do what one can only do and frankly, I'm museum'd out. D wanted to visit the War Memorial. I'd talked about it before his visit as he's interested in all things warfare and military. It's a treat and better than I had remembered thanks to a recent refurbishment. The displays document Australia's involvement in all military and UN service since ANZAC Cove with diaramas, documentaries and artifacts from the front. Even ClareBear who has had the War Memorial thrust upon her several times via school excursions admitted that it had quality. We spent the best part of 4 hours there carousing and browsing . . . erm and enjoying the cool!
Not content with dinner out at Belluci's in Manuka and copious amounts of alcamahol, the boys ventured out to one of Canberra's 'nightspots' after being refused entry to a number of pubs due to early closing but it was Wednesday night, this was Canberra in the summer holidays but managed to find a club that stayed open and staggered home noisily at 3am divesting various items of clothing on their way to their beds. ClareBear and I had taken the quiet option and walked home after a delicious Italian Dinner.
Today, we managed Questacon. This is the National Science and Technology Museum and mega touchy feely for little kids and the big. The problem? Too many kids bashing buttons without understanding what the display was meant to do. Too many kids hanging on too long to displays when we wanted a turn. Too many kids GAH! Even Adam said "I don't know how you did it . . you deserve a Nobel prize for raising children" (sometimes it takes drastic measures to gain appreciation.)
We finished off at the relatively new National Australia Museum which probably has much to offer those who know little about Australia but apart from the amazing architecture left us a bit cold in the heat if you know what I mean . ..
D appeared hungover and definitely feeling the 40 degree heat. It's not common for us to have a whole week of 35 plus temperatures either in Sydney or Canberra but we did. Legs burned on the leather seats of the Honda. Sweat poured. Clare worried about the welfare of her MacBook but we managed to hit the highway in a relative state of cool. Everyone crashed on the 3 hour journey home to the point where I felt a nanosleep coming on and decided that we'd share the driving. Clare took over from Bundanoon and I had a snooze in the back.
Frankly, I enjoyed it despite the oppressive heat. Great apartment for a great price. Party for the boys, nice food for the girls . . but Paduan has decided he doesn't want to 'sit about the house' and has gone off to play XBox, some things never change. Frankly, I'm glad I have a chance to access my PC! Ooops . . .XBox live cafe is closed and he's home . . .not happy Jan and has ostracised himself on the couch with a good book.
As for Canberra . . . .sure it's in a silly place, sure it's contrived and planned and a poor attempt at imitating Washington DC but I find it peaceful, interesting and apart from the ridiculous road system which sees you travelling in circles and going in the opposite direction to achieve your destination, could spend more time there if I travelled with someone more patient. I did get confused enough to run a red light and almost sideswiped someone trying to change lanes.
If you're in Australia, try to see it. Don't expect wild nightlife, crowds and tourists but it's interesting, beautiful and well worth a visit if you can stand the tyranny of distance.
Kahlerisms, thanks for the tip on the NASA museum but it was 50 minutes out of Canberra at Tidinbilla and we simply ran out of time . . .maybe next time . . .come with me?