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Published: March 22nd 2010
Day 322 - Canberra
There were voices outside early this morning. A chap was yelling somebody’s name and we just wanted that person to answer so he’d shut up! It was 4.30am. Darryl got up to shake a leg and I heard him chatting to Andy who was also awake. Sod that, I turned over and nodded back off until the alarm went off in 90 minutes time.
The four of us gathered in the caravan before leaving for the balloon festival. It was only just starting to get light but when we drive into the city and head for Parliament Gardens we find the place is buzzing with life already. There are thousands of people here including plenty of families with young kids sporting hand held balloons that every now and then we see heading skyward, thankfully without a child still attached.
The skies are littered with hot air balloons but we’re in time to see the spectacle of several more finishing off their ground preparation before they too get airborne. It’s great to be able to walk really close to the balloons, something that we can’t remember being able to do at the fiesta’s back home.
We were so close that we could feel the heat from the burners while the balloons still on the ground were being filled! Awesome!
There’s something very special about these air craft and we’re really chuffed that Andy & Caroline were keen to come so early, especially as they’ve seen this sight every day this week on their way to work! Luckily for us they’re not sick of it yet!
It’s a very easy site to wander around and although we’ve missed the Kookaburra and Turtle’s launch we at least get to see them flying off in the distance. The fountain pools weren’t in operation this morning which gave us mesmerising reflections in the still water as the balloons drift over head. The colours were great and it was pretty awesome to get the reflection of the burners in action too.
Before we head off for breakfast we walk up towards Old Parliament House and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Their sacred fire is not burning this morning and none of the ‘embassy representatives’ are around for us to talk to which is a shame but we have a good wander around looking at the art work and
reading the small amount of information which was there. Good on them all for continuing the embassy.
We caught sight of the balloons again from the banks of Lake Burley Griffin, the huge lake which was filled by the damming of the Molonglo River. We didn’t walk the 35km shore line but we did watch the dragon boat racing and got our first glimpse of the Telstra Tower (previously Telecom Tower) and Mt Ainslie in the daylight.
Instead of the healthy walk we went to the nearest McCafe for breakfast! It’s been a long time since we’ve visited one of these I can tell you! Andy parked up in a free spot outside, albeit facing the wrong way on a two way street which is illegal in Australia. You naughty boy Andy! It’s not something that a pommie would think about as it’s perfectly acceptable in England but over here it’s a no no. The only reason we’re aware is because we’ve done it with my cousin in the passenger seat of the car! It wasn’t a move that went down well considering he’s a policeman!
With full tummies we tootled back to the caravan park to
clean ourselves up, get the washing on, sit around and chat some more about our respective travels (which we love to do with these two) and allow Andy to test out our bed for a nana nap. It passed with flying colours and he was soon sound asleep while the three of us nattered on!
I don’t know whether he’d been dreaming of fish when he woke up but there was a suggestion of trying out the fishing rods and as the choice was that or swimming we choose the warmer option of fishing!
We headed to an area on Lake Burley Griffin (I think!) near the water police jetty in Belconnen. First there was the visit to the bait shop for worms which sounded really inviting but it was positioned brilliantly close to a rather interesting looking ‘bead shop’ so Caroline & myself left the boys to it! They got worms and we got items to help us with a little jewellery project.
The fishing got off to a good start with Darryl catching a little tiddler within minutes which jumped obediently from the hook and onto the jetty before being safely returned to the water.
Andy was the next to reel in a tiddler but this one wasn’t jumping from the hook and it took us several attempts to get him off.
At this point myself & Caroline took the decision to go shopping for tonights dinner supplies leaving fishermen to it. I quite happily wandered through the boutique shops while Caroline looks for work wear. We pick out a couple of designs and find one she really likes and buys. I hope my shopping for work wear is that easy when we get home!
We were gone quite some time but did return with everything we needed for dinner which was just aswell as the fishing had gone from bad to worse. Andy was looking decidedly unhappy and goes on to tell us that they’d (Darryl) reeled in a turtle hungry enough to go for the worm on the end of the hook.
There was no choice but to lift the turtle on to the jetty and while Darryl held its head to try and stop the turtle disappearing into his shell, Andy wrestled with the hook trying to release it. They managed it eventually but it took some time and
Andy was very distressed by the look on the creature’s face. The turtle was returned to the water and swam off but the event played on Andy’s mind for the rest of the day. The fishing rod was put on the roof of the Patrol and it seemed it might not be used again in Andy’s hands.
Back at camp Darryl cooked up a great Spag Bol while Caroline & I messed around with our jewellery project. We’ve got lots of shells and bits of rock that we’re sure we can do make things with now that we’ve got glue, fasteners and some lengths of leather!
Talk turns to the blogs and Caroline (and of course Andy) suggest that we should call today’s blog “Up, Up and Away” with a view to publishing it at the same time. We’re both on the front page of Travelblog at the moment which we’re really chuffed about and it would have been a bit of a double take for the readers. Unfortunately we’re still miles behind with our updates so we couldn't promise to upload at the same time … but we did promise to use the same blog name as
it’s such a fitting one! Here's a link to Kangaroojack's Up, Up and Away...........
The weather forecast is looking good for tomorrow and we decide that one early morning with the balloons just wasn’t enough, we want to go again! The alarm clocks are set for 6am for a second day so without further ado we said goodnight.
Before our heads could hit the pillow we had a birthday call to make. Belinda (Elliott) had text to say they were going to be with Mirella & Mauritzio this evening to celebrate his birthday. We couldn’t resist calling and had a terrific chat with Nige & Bel then the birthday boy himself. “Hurry up” said Mauritzio “I’m just about to make the custard!” GOSH WE MISS YOU GUYS! It was just great to have a quick catch up with them and hear that things are going from strength to strength with Nige’s photography. Lucky for us we have some of his work already before he becomes world famous and I can claim to have been ‘taught’ by one of the greats! Love, Love, Love!
With very happy smiles on our faces we tucked ourselves away for the night.
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