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.
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.
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.
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!
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!