Parliament House, Canberra
Inside the Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra. Wasn't the Great Hall designed for Australian citizens to let off steam? Oh yes it was. They sincerely enjoyed it.
Notice how busy it is, inside Parliament House. The space and serenity were quite a delight. I don't think I'd like to be there on a day when our nation's politicians (cough cough) are at work.
The House of Representatives
There goes a Choochie, over the railing in the House of Representatives
Fighting our way through the crowds, outside Parliament House
Aboriginal tent embassy
Little boys watching the art of glass blowing at the Glass Factory. Thank you glass artist, for being young and spunky and listening to Radiohead while you worked. I do like a good ambassador of the arts for my little boys to see this as a valid career choice. If one of them becomes a banker... well, I don't know how I'll cope.
Bus Depot Markets. A funky find.
See! They do like each other afterall!
Have you noticed how few road trips I've been taking lately? That last big one, up north to Bellingen and on to Byron Bay for Bluesfest a year ago, really took the wind out of my road trip sails. We did, however, recently head to our nation's capital for a few days out of Sydney.
Canberra is quite an easy 4 hour drive from Sydney. Once you've navigated your way through 1.5-2 hours of Sydney traffic you find yourself on easy roads with vast countryside. We drove through the southern highlands and had a leisurely lunch in Bowral (a pretty highland town with very Sydney prices... Sydney's rich like to have weekend farms in Bowral). There was way too much testosterone in the car for most of ride, Springbok Nude Girls blaring, but at least we had a 1:1 parent:child ratio so I wasn't complaining. Noah was... he thought I'd said Canada. He was quite disappointed when he realised we were going to Canberra for the weekend.
Not many of our friends would chose Canberra for their "get out of Sydney" destination but, you know, we were impressed. Driving around Canberra is a breeze (after Sydders), the streets are so uncongested. We found several free things to take the kids to: Parliament House, the Australian Mint (yawn, yawn, that was not operating so was a bit boring actually - the boys tried to slide down the railings), Canberra Glassworks, the Bus Depot Markets. I didn't push my luck with the National Art Gallery. I'll save that for a solo-Mama trit-trotting visit.
One of our favourite sights was the Parliament House Art Collection. My favourite was Arthur Boyd's Untitled (Shoalhaven Landscape), and we all enjoyed the portraits of Australian Prime Ministers.
For all of my disagreements with the Australian government, I am most grateful that Parliament House feels like it's there for me. My kids can run (not really but you know, they tried to walk) freely with no vulnerability whatsoever. I didn't notice any overt security, no one gave us any directives to be quieter, calmer, stiller. That Great Hall is amazing with panels of Australian timbers, and perfect for little boys running laps (luckily no-one else was in there with us).
We also experienced the Quest-a-con (interactive science museum), but that is probably not yet age-appropriate (and therefore over-priced) for our two boyks. Next time, we'll go to the National Art Gallery, and try to get in to a workshop at the Glassworks.
(Just so you don't feel left out: Hello Colombia, Spain, Brazil, Russia and Bangladesh!