last weekend we flew to the capital city of australia: canberra. if you’re not from australia – i bet you thought our capital was sydney, right? well canberra is a couple of hours drive from sydney and is quite a charming little city. even if it is a bit labyrinthine what with all those roundabouts and such. the reasons we visited was for my boyfriend’s family reunion. i was a bit nervous – i’m from a very small family (the only child of an only child of an only child on one side!) so the thought of meeting dozens of aunts and cousins and such was overwhelming. thankfully everyone was really lovely and it was so special to see my son with his father, grandfather, and great grandfather.
one of the first things i noticed about canberra was their kerrraaaazy bus shelters! isn’t it amazing?! its so mod it looks like a space ship will pass by. i also appreciated the bus company in canberra was called ACTION, or Australian Capital Territory (that’s the “state” canberra is in) Internal Omnibus Network. best acronym ever or what! personally i feel the use of ‘omnibus’ is stretching it a bit but, whatevs. sit in your space pod and get on the next ACTIO that passes by.
before we left we vaguely discussed the attractions we’d visit while in canberra and i was happy with what was on offer. then, on the plane there my boyfriend drops the bomb that there is a miniature village just out of town. *record scratch sound effect* WHAT? no body keeps miniature towns secret from me! so after dropping our bags we headed straight to “cockington green”. i’ll share more pictures next week because people, cockington green is worthy of its own post! when we discovered this wishing fountain with dyed blue water i wished for every holiday to include kitschy miniatures.
what’s that, the breakfast they served on the plane? nope. its a rock. from THE moon. yeah, earth’s moon. you may recall i have a space obsessed son (and boyfriend actually… one time we had a tiff because he was spending more time with a meteor than with me) so a visit to the deep space communication complex at tidbinbilla was a given. i was pretty excited to go too i admit and it was really exciting to see the huge radio telescope dishes there, including the original dish used to transmit the first images of man landing on the moon. staring up at the huge white dishes was humbling and the fact that we got ourselves on to the moon with computer’s that are probably now out-run by calculators is just incredible. go team space! and yay! look at the ROCK from THE MOON! you know, the moon up there!
i’m not sure i was supposed to be taking photos in the space centre, but i’m shutter-happy so i furtively took some snaps. these patches from various missions were neat i thought but there were better ones i really wanted to snap. unfortunately they were continually blocked by an enthusiastic guide who would trap anyone approaching in an intense conversation. my love of not being talked to death over ran my love of a good embroidered patch photo. i wish i was clever enough to work for nasa and get groovy space patches. *cough* hear that nasa – i’d like a patch or two. and in case you were wondering, my favourite missions were the pre-gemini-suit mercury missions when they got to wear silvery space suits. now that’s a spaceman!
while the boy’s checked out the questacon science museum i got to spend a leisurely morning strolling through the national gallery of australia. it really was bliss and the gallery has a fabulous 20th century collection, and now a vast series of galleries of indigenous art. i saw sidney nolan’s ned kelly series, and i sat in front of the infamous blue poles by jackson pollock. i really enjoyed the little exhibition of anton bruehl’s photography form 1920-1950. how groovy is this ceiling? the national gallery was officially opened in 1982 (just like me!) and a huge new wing has just opened as of last month. i got a bit of a thrill when i saw a book by my mum’s dear friend in the book shop, there was a moment of ‘hmm is it appropriate to run around a fancy store pointing to a book and shouting “i know who wrote this! i did work experience for her! she’s ace”. i decided to play it cool and just move it to the middle of the shelf instead – so no one missed it.
in the grounds of the gallery is an amazing sculpture garden. it was so cool and quiet to wander amongst the trees and enjoy the works. opposite the sculpture garden is a huge lake with an island that houses the carillion: a bell tower. as i was wandering they started playing the bells, and it was pretty special to be amongst nature and the art (including a fog sculpture by fujiko nakaya!) this photo shows part of james turrel’s mesmerizing installation ‘within without’. i’ll leave you to meditate on those surfaces and wish you an excellent weekend as full of priceless experiences as mine was last weekend.