Due to bad weather, Sydney and the surrounding area had been caught in a once in a decade storm. It meant nearly none stop rain for three days, with high rivers and flash flooding of a few areas to the north of Sydney. Transportation between Sydney and the northern sections was shut down, I heard that three people had died,...
As I wasn't to keen on that sort of thing I went of to Canberra after on the third day of rain (Catherins idea actually). Got a bus ride from Sydney Central Station to Canberra and left in the early morning. Sydney had turned in to a lake, driving through town with the bus showed sections of the road where half the road had been flooded. As we got out of town it got a bit better, but still some heavy raining. The bus was full, so we where squashed together for three hours after visiting the international airport and taking on some more passengers. I read a book for most of the journey and at about midday we arrived in Canberra.
I was a bit lost when I got out and wandered of in no proper direction to the beginning, just looking at the town. The weather was loads better than in Sydney, the sun was out. It was very windy and cool, with clouds skimming across the sky, threatening to unload some rain but luckily that didn't happen until later in the day. I visited the National Museum of Australia first and got a tourist pamphlet from them to navigate around the town later. I spent rather a lot of time in the museum as it portraits a large part of Australian history, from before the Aborigines, when they lived undisturbed, the arrival of the settlers and in the end the modern age of Australia. After spending a good deal of time (and some lunch) in the museum I walked along the Burley Griffin lake towards the war memorial. On the way I got a good look at Canberra and was actually surprised how un-capital like it is. It only has a population of about 350.000 people and is designed for far more than that. A loot of the roads are empty, there are not tons of people walking around everywhere and there is lots of greenery and open space. Visiting the war memorial took up nearly all of the afternoon. First of all they have commemorated nearly (if not all) the past and active military branches along an avenue, leading up to the war memorial of all wars that Australia took place in at the top. As ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) day is comping up soon to remember the first world war one hundred years ago they where preparing a load of things. I spent a lot of time viewing old battleground they had replicated inside, until I was kicked out at 5pm.
I took a short hike up Canberra's highest mountain/hill just behind the memorial, took about 15 minutes, and was greeted with a sunset over Australias capital. The city is built up very symmetrical, as it was specifically designed from nearly nothing to be Australias capital (Melbourn & Sydney couldn't agree). There where a bunch of school classes everywhere, including at the top of the mountain, so there was no peace and quiet, not that it mattered. The wind was as strong as ever and it got to cold at the top after some time so I continued back down to the city. And that's when I saw my first kangaroo. Not really kangaroo, more as in kangarooS. 20 to 30 of Australias most known animal in the forest of Mount Ainslie. I tried getting a few pictures but due to the bad lighting they aren't the show of pictures. First kangaroos, wild and still alive (not squashed at the road side). I was passed by a good few people which must have been wondering why I was photographing and watching kangaroos so much. After it got to dark I went back down in to the city and caught a bus to Ngunnawal (← try it, I dare you) where I was staying with my first ever couch surfing host. Due to my mispronunciation of the district and giving false information to the bus driver, I got of to find out exactly where I want to go and caught the next one. This time I did get the right one and walked a bit until I found my host Mo and his family. After a bit of dinner we had a talk about a lot of different things and watched some cricket until I went to bed at about midnight.
The next day after having some breakfast and saying my goodbye and thanks to Mo, his wife and two children I caught a bus to the other lakeside of Canberra. The day before I had stayed to the north/east of Lake Burley Griffin, today I spent my time in the south/west. That side of Canberra is dedicated to the political and scientific culture. The house of Parliament is in the centre surrounded by a load of embassy's and government buildings. I had a look at Parliament from inside and outside and went to the Questacon after that. The Questacon is a building dedicated to science, unfortunately I found out that it is more made for children to learn new things. I did have a look around and learnt some new thing (and had a play with a few) but in the end I probably could have saved myself the cost of the entry ticket. After that it was nearly time to go back to Sydney again and I took a long walk along the main road in Canberra back to Murrays bus stop, where I caught a bus to Sydney. The journey back was just as long as there, but it felt longer due to a child screaming his head of most of the journey. Sydney, fortunately, had decided to stop chucking down rain whilst I had gone and I caught a train back to Faulconbridge and to Catherins.
Interesting city, Canberra. Not what I would expect from a capitol, but a very organised city. Still a nice place and it reminds me a bit of Allgäu as it is similar situated in front of the Dividing Range.