We travelled via coach to Canberra, further to the east. Canberra is a planned city with wide boulevards and a large man made lake. I think it’s exceptional and would have loved to have a second teaching exchange there. However, that just wasn’t in the cards for me.
Leon and I checked into our boutique hotel, more an apartment hotel, in the trendy neighbourhood of Kingston Foreshore. I had picked this area knowing we would be taking the train to Canberra and then to Sydney a few days later. I made a small strategic error. We actually arrived by bus at the central bus station, nowhere near the train station. No worries, we quickly found the local transit station and were at our hotel within 20 minutes. Luckily, we travel very light with only a carry on suitcase each and an added small daypack.
After checking in, we wandered around the local streets to decide what we might want for dinner. We started with a nice swim in the pool before going for dinner at an outdoor pub. While there, we met up with a lovely couple who bought us a glass of wine while we discussed what activities would take place the next day on Australia Day.
The next morning, we walked several kms along the Kingston waterfront, filled with trendy bars and restaurants. It was a national holiday but plenty of locals were out doing what we all seem to do on our national birthday – meeting friends for a drink and maybe a bbq.
One bar has a kiddy pool filled with water where a woman was soaking her feet to stay cool. I filed that knowledge for future use as we walked along the waterfront and then turned towards Capital Hill.
It was very hot, so we took a brief walk inside the parliament buildings, stopping for a cup of tea and a lot of cool water. The views from there are pretty amazing, most notably the view of the Australian War Memorial across the water.
Once we were cooled off, we continued our walk to visit the Canadian High Commission, situated on the same street as many other Commonwealth countries. The High Commissioner was not in to greet us or should I say, he was in but the High Commission was closed, so we took some photos and moved on.
We decided to walk back towards the waterfront past some of the many museums. Eventually, we found the Kingston Foreshore again and decided to sit at the bar where the pool was. You can be sure I had my feet in there in no time.
We made it back to the hotel, swam and changed before having dinner at the local hotel up the street from our accommodation.
Earlier that day, we were watching the Australia Day ceremonies and I found out about the Canadian Flagpole. It was a gift from Canada to Australia in 1957. It was quite an exploit to get this very tall BC lumber all the way to Canberra after quarantine and processing along the way. Today, the flagpole stands proudly and once a year, on Canada Day, the Australians fly the Canadian Maple Leaf in recognition of our gift to their country. Neat!
The next day was all about visiting the Australian War Memorial. You can read about that here. It was a very emotional day as I find the many stories I read about are so touching.
Once again, we made our way down to the foreshore and enjoyed a Thai dinner before retiring for the night in anticipation of our last few days in Sydney.
What a treat to be in Canberra for Australia Day! I didn’t know that fact about the flagpole – a little part of your country in mine.
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