Around Canberra Again

One trip to Canberra wasn’t enough this Summer so last weekend I drove back down to visit Mark.  To be honest it wasn’t actually the lovely capital city calling me back, it was Mark.  He is definitely worth a 2.5 hour drive.  This time we were lucky and it was not as hot.  I arrived around lunch time Saturday and we headed straight to the National Gallery where we had a fantastic lunch at the café before wondering around the gallery itself.  I didn’t take any photos because I just wanted to enjoy the experience (and I’m not sure I was allowed).  I was blown away by a few artworks, in particular Fiona Hall’s Paradisus Terrestris series.  I have researched and written about this series so many times that it was like meeting a very sexy celebrity in the flesh.  Mark was even impressed.

Fiona Hall, Screw pine (Pandanus tectorius) 1989-90, aluminium, tin 24.5 h x 11.0 w x 1.5 d cm
Fiona Hall, Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) 1989-90, aluminium, tin 24.5 h x 11.0 w x 1.5 d cm

The next day we decided to enjoy the outdoors and hired bikes for the day.  We rode around the Lake Burley Griffin Western Loop.  It was absolutely beautiful; I love the landscape in Canberra.  The track was surprisingly busy with cyclists, runners and walkers, and even the odd kangaroo.

Cycling track around Lake Burley Griffin
Cycling track around Lake Burley Griffin
Lovely gums
Lovely gums
The track was rather busy with cyclists
The track was rather busy with cyclists
Mark keeping hydrated
Mark keeping hydrated
I was having a great time on my squeaky bike
I was having a great time on my squeaky bike
Cycling along a kangaroo-clad golf course
Cycling along a kangaroo-clad golf course
Lovely Lake Burley Griffin
Lovely Lake Burley Griffin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mark having a rest
Mark having a rest
Bridge with swans
Bridge with swans
My hired bike
My hired bike
Love self-timer photos
Love self-timer photos
Checking out the map
Checking out the map

I wanted to go to the Mint, so we left the Burley Griffin track for a little while to check out how Aussie coins are made.  I quite enjoyed learning about the origins of Australian money and seeing how it has progressed.  Checking out the potential artworks for our coins was pretty cool, we very nearly had some koalas on it.

Gold at the Mint
Gold at the Mint
Our early coins
Our early coins
Mark enjoying the Mint
Mark enjoying the Mint

One of my favourite bits of information was about the Adelaide Ingot.  Around the time of the gold rush Adelaide was nearly bankrupt and so people were able to take pieces of gold to the bank and have its value stamped on it so it could be used as currency.  No two ingots are alike, I bet they would be worth a bit now!

Ingots and Pounds
Ingots and Pounds

After a good educational time at the mint we headed over back to the lake to continue our ride.  We got some lunch at the Questacon Cafe called Megabytes and then rode across the road to the National Library of Australia to check out the Treasures Exhibition.  I was not expecting much because the actual library was closed (it was Sunday), but this exhibition was amazing!  It had a whole heap of things that the library owns, but that don’t really belong on the bookshelf.  We saw the oldest printed document Australia (an invitation to a play) as well as original sketch books from the first voyage to Australia and Captain Cook’s journal.  I am so impressed with what the library has… I saw so many documents that I’ve seen scanned in textbooks over the years.  It’s wonderful to know that they are real!

Lake
Lake
Shady trees
Shady trees
Playing Für Elise on rocks
Playing Für Elise on rocks
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