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Published: December 15th 2010
Written 13 Dec.
Sorry its taken so longto be in touch this time - the libaray wifi is knacked and I have wasted a couple of mornings there trying to get on internet - now they tell me there is a hotspot in the shopping plaza !!! Why didnt they say that before !!! SO I am sitting here under the trees sipping an iced tea - its about 28 deg but anice little breeze.
Last week saw me out and about around Sydney and getting my bearings on this North Shore of the Harbour. I am becoming a fixture on the ferries – it’s such a great way to get around all over this enormous harbour. However sometimes I have to drive and thank goodness Stuart and Jo left me Sydney A_Z book as I have needed it on several occasions. Another time I will get myself a SATNAV – these Oz cities are up and down on hills or Canberra in circles so it ‘s not a simple grid … and I think road signs are made for the locals who already know which way to go!!! Giving a name of a suburb is not much use when
you don’t know which direction. But I manage quite well and was VERY please with myself last night on the way back into Sydney from Canberra took the WRONG exit from the City Tunnel which I should have taken right across the city to the North…but NO I ended up in the very busy junction of Kings Cross. YIKES _ HELP!!!! But putting my NO WORRIES OZZIE head on ( and a bit of swearing too) I continued driving and realised I actually knew where I was – on the way to Angela’s house in Double Bay !!!! PHEW… so when I could stop and look at the map I managed to reverse my direction – found the tunnel again and whizzed “home” to Hunters Hill.
But I have gone ahead of myself in my tale of last week– some of the things I have done – a trip up the river to Parramatta – a place where the newly arrived settlers ( convicts) saved themselves from starvation by being able to farm and grow food there – had a lovely walk by the river and looked at Old Government House….all Heritage bdlgs were closed ( a reminder to
me to check this before I go somewhere) … it was a rather fraught trip back taking about 3 hours !!!!!! as when the tide is low – they have a connecting bus to take you down river to the next stop ( a bit like Sunday service on trains in England when your journey turns out to be on a bus not a train!!) . But they forgot to send the bus – so lots of time passed till eventually it came – then of course we had to wait for the next boat !!!! Well what else is there to do on holiday and at least the sun was shining.
My immersion in Ozzie life has continued with reading a book 1788 The First Fleet – a brilliant introduction to how and why convicts were sent out here and the first few years of the colony…. I am no expert now on Oz history but feel at least I have some knowledge which helps when you are visiting museums and heritage bldgs.
Another day I drove myself to the Northern beaches – driving through suburb after suburb is not to be recommended….and inevitable traffic jams on way back.
It was a very windy day and high surf – and I think I will stick to beaches I can get to by ferry from now on….and there are plenty of them to keep me busy.
And so to a trip to Canberra for a few days…after a horrible drive with torrential rain and some floods on the highway I arrived safely.( Never seen anything like some of these flooded rivers and areas here) I was staying with a lovely lady Suzanne who I met through my Widows support website and she invited me to stay. She has 2 lovely daughters age 18 and 22..and all a very musical family. So as I have been missing my singing ( believe it or not!!) I managed to have a great singalong with Amelia on the piano one night. Added to that my own recital with Kate playing violin for me – unexpected treats. Suzanne and I got on really well – with lots to share and talk about. Canberra is a very unique city – having been chosen as a place for the capital for Australia and then designed by an American from Chicago who won a competition , This
was in the 20s… There are wide roads and everything on circles and it seems, as would have been appropriate at the time to have been designed for car travel,,, not pedestrians. So you sweep around in circles to see very modern bldgs , beautiful embassies and residences ( this area reminded me of Ottawa) lots of green spaces, lakes. The galleries and museums are stunning and I didn’t scratch the surface… I could easily have spent a week there.
At the Art Gallery was an exhibition of The Ballet Russes- costumes and designs – absolutely fabulous…and displayed so well with a very good audio guide too. To see costumes worn by Nijinsky had me a bit gobsmacked!!! Didn’t have enough time to see many of the other exhibits but saw some wonderful aboriginal art and the memorial which is a huge area at the entrance of the gallery of a path through wooden poles all carved and painted in memory of all the aboriginals who died in conflict with the settlers.
We visited the Capitol Hill and went inside the Parliament bdlg – beautiful marble pillars and patterned floors, with lovely wooden doors and panels …and lamps/ fitting which
looked like ArtDeco to me. …the whole place full of light….yes I liked it very much. Sometimes people can be disparaging of “modern” architecture but when you look closely at the designs and materials you can see how amazing it all is…and of course it serves a function too.
And so to the National Museum – only 10 years old and even more modern… I loved the shapes and views as you walk around the building – a huge structure which looks like a roller coaster as you approach – when viewed from another angle become a circle. Everything so colourful and light ..inside the hall – curves and shapes lead you to the various exhibits. We spent most of the time at a very new exhibit about the Canning Stock trail – white men took cattle through aboriginal lands along a trail and wrecked havoc with traditional water supplies at wells etc. The paintings were by aboriginals from those communities to tell their stories – there were also photos and some recent filming and we met one of the film makers – Curtis – a young aboriginal man who had negotiated with the elders to bring their story here
in film and other artefacts. I do love the aboriginal artworks- their techniques and colours used… and as you can see I managed to get a few fotos of it. As always I find that I have to miss some things and so there is always another time when I can return .
Another surprise Aussie experience- Amelia was singing in a Xmas Concert at The Austrian Club – yes I said Austrian. So off we went and there they were Australians dressed in dirndls and men/boys in lederhosen… and there was even a Santa and children dressed as the usual angels, 3 kings and Mary with baby Jesus doll. The Austrian Club has a lovely choir and sang some lovely traditional carols in German, and Amelia’s group of singers also with some beautiful carols and xmas songs. The downside of the evening was that we didn’t win anything in the raffle!!!
So thanks to Suzanne, Amelia and Kate for a wonderful visit to Canberra ( not forgetting Harriet the dog) - if Suzanne hadn’t emailed me to come an stay with her I would not have gone to Canberra- and I would have missed out.
Love to everyone.
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