Friday, July 11, 2014

CANBERRA


Hello...
The last two weeks have slipped by, and The Blog has been neglected..

We have been to Canberra, the Australian National Capital..
This is me, standing outside Parliament House in the freezing cold and wind.

Mr C had a business meeting, but we added on a few days to explore the city and think about Democracy in Action.
On the plane we saw a certain very well-known Aussie politician....


This cartoon is part of a display at the Museum of Democracy, situated in Old Parliament House, which the Government vacated in 1988 to move to the new modern building above.


The old Senate Chamber, looks small and shabby today...


but we heard all about the new young Queen Elizabeth II opening Parliament there in 1954, wearing her Coronation gown.


On display was this yellow coat worn by our recently retired, first female Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce.  


Nearby, we found the National Portrait Gallery.
I liked this portrait of our late, much-loved Operatic star, Dame Joan Sutherland.


The Australian National Gallery was a priority for me, and they have a wonderful collection of international and Australian art.
In the foyer is this installation of 200 Indigenous Australian burial poles, commissioned in 1988 for the Bi-Centennial of European settlement.
It is a very moving piece, very significant in terms of national identity.


It was essential to visit today's Parliament House, and as it was not a sitting day, we could inspect the chamber of the Legislative Assembly, the Lower House.
Of course, I found more art to look at, and loved the portraits of former Prime Ministers:


The Honourable Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister 1972-1975,


and the Right Honourable Sir John Gorton, Prime Minister 1968-1971,
(and the only P.M. I have ever actually met).


I have written before about this portrait of the Queen in her Wattle dress, and enjoyed seeing the original painting from 1954, by Sir William Dargie.
He captured her youth and beauty in quite a delicate way, which is not so evident in reproductions..


This view of Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin, is taken from a hill at the National Arboretum, home to 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world.  It was built on land devastated by bushfires a few years ago.


Bird art..


Cones from the Aleppo pine were collected at the site of the ANZAC battle of Gallipoli, after World War 1, and trees planted at the War Memorial in Canberra, and at the Arboretum.  They are beautiful trees.



On my last day, I had lunch with an old friend at Jamie Oliver's Italian Restaurant, another first for me.  My salmon with crisp and unusual vegetables was absolutely delicious.


Over the past fortnight, the travel agent and I have re-configured and enlarged our original itinerary for Europe, researched and chosen flights, trains, hotels and transfers, and made the reservations.
I have written several large cheques, swiped the Visa Card a little more than usual, and I think we are done.
Have now booked new tickets for the lovely Giotto Chapel in Padua - bliss...


Now, what else do I need to think about

Versailles, Giverny, Sistine, Duomo, Gondola, Trevi, Bargello...
and so it goes..

Wishing you all a pleasant weekend

XXXX









24 comments:

  1. It looks like you made the most of your time in Canberra, Patricia! It is hard for me to imagine you standing there in a cold wind. You must be so happy to have your trip all rebooked. Hopefully this plan will have you seeing even more places than your original one would have. As for writing the large checks and swiping the Visa card several times, spending time this past week with a friend who is now in palliative care has made me realize more than ever how we need to live life while we can.

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    1. Canberra is very cold, Kristie, much further south than Brisbane and inland, not far from the snow fields. I enjoyed it! We are, at last, getting excited about the trip, and you have hit on the issues at the heart of it: after numerous set-backs, we want to live life while we can.

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  2. Thank you for the tour of Canberra. I didn't know Joan Sutherland was Australian! And what a treat to eat in a Jamie Oliver restaurant. I really like his style/philosophy on cooking and eating. Wonderful to hear that your itinerary for Europe is all arranged. Beautiful portrait of the Queen. Stay warm and a happy weekend to you as well.

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    1. Thank you Sanda, yes, Joan Sutherland was Australian, and returned here most years during her illustrious career. Her son lives in Sydney with his family. As a nation, we were very proud of Joan. Coldest day this year today, here in the Sunshine state!

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  3. Love Canberra ~ I lived my mid childhood there and still have very fond memories. Thanks for the tour ... J

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    1. Hi Judith, I'm sure Canberra was a pleasant place to spend your childhood - not too big, but interesting. Once we understood the road network, we enjoyed getting around quickly, and the short drive into the countryside.

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  4. I too thank you for the tour of Canberra. Great place to visit...
    I am excited for you as you plan the European tour. Just a note about Versaille..do not forget to take the little tourist train right to the bottom of the property, past Le Triannon to see Marie Antoinette's summer house..I liked it best of all.

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    1. Hi Valerie, it was a fun few days, visiting Canberra. We also went to see the Jersey Boys movie, and dined in some good places. So exciting re the trip, and I will email you about Versailles. Thanks for the tip of the summer house, and I'm sure I will love it too.

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  5. Hello Patricia - so pleased that you had a lovely trip with your husband to Canberra.
    I find it amazing that Jamie Oliver even has restaurants in Australia - he must be mega rich.
    Versailles is so easy to get to from Paris central on the RER C line (yellow line) to Versailles-Rive Gauche which takes just over 30 mins and then it is a 5 minute walk when you alight, or a shuttle bus ride.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary, I have taken note of the route to Versailles. Let us hope my filing system for all this information works...
      It was a surprise to me to see the Jamie Oliver restaurant in Canberra, although I know he has a cooking school somewhere in Queensland. He is very well-known and popular here, so perhaps he sees a good business opportunity!

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  6. It looks like such an interesting city, Patricia. I would love to visit someday too. Thanks for sharing your trip!

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    1. Hi Jennifer, we enjoy quick trips to parts of Australia we have not seen for a long time. It is a big country, but we often fly using Frequent Flyer points. I enjoyed Canberra.

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  7. Bonjour Patricia from freezing Canberra, I hope you packed your winter woolies as they weather has not been kind. It look alike you had lots of fun in the Nations capital and the Aboretum is just wonderful isn't it? Onto to all things travel I would recommend a day at Versailles a must do !!! Have fun planning your next trip . Bon Weekend Wishes . Shell - A Darlings Nest

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    1. Bonsoir Shell, it is quite close to freezing right here at the moment, so Canberra was a good preparation for it, although it does get much warmer here at mid-day. Yes, wore thermals under my jeans and had a great time. Everyone likes Versailles, so it has to happen!

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  8. What a great trip you had to ACT! Sounds as though you saw and did an awful lot. Your trip to Europe will be just as busy too by the sounds of things. I am so glad that you are getting everything planned - how exciting!! And you got the chapel booked as well - even better!! xx

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    1. Dear Amy, thank you for your nice comment. We did do a lot in Canberra, including several more things I did not write about. I have tried to build in a rest day every few days in Europe, knowing I'll keep going until I drop otherwise :) Now the reservations are finished, I'll try and relax and increase my fitness levels before take off! xx

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  9. What a great trip you had to ACT! Sounds as though you saw and did an awful lot. Your trip to Europe will be just as busy too by the sounds of things. I am so glad that you are getting everything planned - how exciting!! And you got the chapel booked as well - even better!! xx

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    1. Once again you managed to find so much interesting for your blog.
      You definitely are not boring at all.
      I like the portrait pictures, there is something different about them..
      You also have something I never ever knew existed.
      So great you will come to Europe. When and how long have you planned to be over here?

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  10. Glad you are having a great time, Patricia!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Thank you Linda, and you enjoy the Summer hols!

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  11. You obviously had a lovely trip to Canberra, Patricia, and packed a lot in from food for the soul to food for the body. :-) I've always loved Joan Sutherland's voice and used to enjoy watching her chair the judges in the Cardiff Singer of the World competition.

    The preparations for your trip to Europe are obviously going wonderfully well and I'm already looking forward to your posts on the subject.

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    1. I like that you were fond of 'Our Joan', Perpetua, and I never knew she was a judge in Singer of the World. I do recall that she was very encouraging to other singers. We did a lot in Canberra, including also visiting a family grave and Mass in the Cathedral. Good practice for Europe, hopefully :)

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  12. Patricia,
    I really like this portrait of the Queen in her yellow dress, it's lovely. The bird art was interesting, as I love bird watching very much. It looks like you visited many wonderful places in Canberra. I enjoyed the tour, thank you. When you travel to these brilliant places, it's like I'm right there with you.

    love,
    ~Sheri

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    1. Hi Sheri, I love this portrait of the young Queen too, which it lovely on many levels, including her youthful hopes for the future. You know I love birds too, so of course thought the bird art was great fun. Sharing our travels is one of the joys of blogging, don't you think?
      love, P.

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