Canberra: Lots to see lots to do.

Our last morning in Canberra was a little lazy. We enjoyed the hotel: the quiet room, the breakfast and the coffee in the sun reading the papers.

The Kurrajong Hotel is old but is an institution in Canberra. It was home to politicians over the years.

We stayed here two years ago when our nephew was married. It was good then and once again we enjoyed it.

You probably want a car if staying here as it’s not in the city. But Canberra is quite spread out and you need a car or you need to love cycling. It’s a city for cyclists.

I always get a bit lost here. Everything is spread out. The blocks are long, are tree lined and have 2 story block type buildings. All the main attractions tend to be along the lake and today we were going to visit a few.

First stop was Old Parliament House. Last time I was here it was with a group of Year 7 students on a school trip from Brisbane. This time we arrived in time to join a tour with Sergio. He was a volunteer guide but had worked for many years at Old Parliament House. He was so informative. And funny in a sage kind of way. He had opinions on Pauline Hanson and other Senators who despite having low numbers of votes were now holding the balance of power.

We toured the old building and heard some anecdotes about Whitlam, Hawke and Howard. Sergio had worked there in their days. It must have been interesting especially the stories involving Hawke!

Some of the items spotted in Old Parliament House

We continued on and decided to separate. I went to the Art Gallery and Steve to the National Museum. I’d been there a few times when on tour with my school. So I passed on that. I love the Art Gallery.

I spent a few hours in the large spaces of the Gallery. There was an exhibition on California Cool , Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

I left the Gallery and walked along to Questicon further along the lake. Steve had arrived and was having a great time interacting with the exhibits , primarily science based. It’s such a great place. Don’t miss it on a trip to Canberra.

The afternoon passed and before long we were flying to Adelaide to stay with Steve’s sister in Fullerton.

Adelaide is the city of festivals so I’m keen to see what’s on.

Lest We Forget: a Special Day of Remembrance

A century ago the guns fell silent on the Western Front.

On the anniversary of the Armistice we honour all those who sacrificed their lives in World War 1.

The end of the War came suddenly. The Armistice that had brought the end of the fighting was signed in a railway carriage in a forest clearing in Compiegne, France, on 11November.

Six hours later, at 11am, the guns fell silent.

I have walked the battlefields of France. I have seen the fields where the action took place, where bodies fell and sadly where the bodies Rest In Peace.

It sends shivers right through you. The words on the headstones restricted to 60 characters tell about those who would not be returning home. Their age, something about them.

Remember them with pride on this special day. ‘They shall not grow old …..’

Attending today’s ceremony in Canberra was a privilege. The silence and respect shown is moving.

The crowds were quiet and respectful.

At the conclusion of the ceremony we walked to the National Carillon. We were fortunate to hear the bells accompanying the Canberra City band perched high up in the tower than makes the Carillon.

Canberra has beautiful spaces to be able enjoy concerts, parades, ceremonies.

We finished the day at the National Portrait Gallery, a beautiful space filled with wonderful portraits. A cross section of Australians including a familiar Queenslander.

There was a Concert at 4pm. Evensong. The four voices echoed through the gallery. It was quite beautiful. A lovely way to end the afternoon.

Tonight we had dinner in Hughes with John & Judy, Brett & Jenny. Steve went to school with John, Brett & Jenny at Telopea Park High School and since their reunion 7 years ago we have kept in touch. They are great fun and we had a a lively night with them reminiscing- they even got the school albums out!

That’s the nice things about old school friends. You just pick up where you left off! They are now planning their next reunion. Sounds promising.