This weekend we decide to explore Canberra, the capital of Australia. It’s winter and because the so-called ACT (Australian Capital Territory) lies quite far south, it does get pretty chilly here. 6C feels a bit like a European winter, the sunshine is wonderful though and we still can’t get our head around the seasons being opposite Down Under compared to the northern hemisphere.
Canberra reminds me somewhat of capital cities like Washington DC and Brasilia. Large wide streets, green leafy neighbourhoods, noticeably few people and cars on the roads, lotsa museums and many grand official buildings like one’d expect from a capital of a country.
We dive into the myriad of museums and sights such as the peculiar Parliament House full of symbols going back to pre-historic times, the aboriginal heritage, gold rush era, colonisation by the British and right up to after independence in 1901. What I like most is the fact that the roof is in fact a grass hill and visitors can walk up or take the elevator. Meaning or “purpose” of this is to remind government who they’re serving, having the people stand on top of them, ie the parliament building.
We learn that the symbols of Australia are the kangaroo and the emu because they can’t go backwards, meaning the country aims to progress into forward direction only.
We get a glimpse of the Senate and House of Representatives and will from now on always remember our visit when we get to see one of the two on TV or in the news.
We then stroll down Parliament Hill to the old building complex which nowadays houses a couple of museums and archives. Next we play a visit to the National Gallery, a wonderful exhibition of paintings and sculptures showcasing varied topics such as democracy, fugacity, innovation, contrasting beliefs, etc.
Just before twilight, we drive through the beautiful embassy quarter with its fairytale cottages and even lil’ castles, to “Westbury Park” on the shores of Lake Griffin to observe the numerous kangaroos frequenting this beautiful green space. I’d suggest it’s the highlight of the trip! Loving those cute earth dwellers.
Sunday is another wonderful sunny day, we head over to the War Memorial which also houses an interactive. Museum with a huge collection of artefacts from the world wars and fighter planes, Panzer and submarines.
Taking a guided tour gives us insights into how Australia(ns) have experienced WWI and WWII and which stories they have to tell. Certainly, something new for me and it amplifies my view, adding another perspective to the picture, making it even fuller.
One question looms over us, the more we hear, why do we go to war in the first place, why do we fight each other … humans killing humans, each of us the child of a mother and a father…
After a lovely weekend and with fresh inspiration and some reflection we drive back to Sydney, not before taking a couple of pics with the famous kangaroo roadsign 😉