Canberra - Melbourne
Trip Start Jan 2003
200Trip End Dec 2003
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The attempts to make Canberra interesting, as mentioned yesterday, extend beyond the town and into things which I think should have been addressed in a more sensible, and perhaps sober, manner. While the Australian War Memorial was respectfully low key and you can forgive a touch of artistic and architectural license with the National Museum, it seems more than a tad foolish to have a five year old design your parliament building. Who else would have come up with the idea of having grass topped sloping sides? Having said all that, Canberra seems to have its fair share of fucked up people - whether they're the reason for all the twisted stuff or the strangeness is the reason for them is anyone's guess!
As you may have guessed we 'did' Canberra today but what will not have been apparent from the previous paragraph is that we did it by bicycle. The guidebook suggests this as it's supposedly a city made for cyclists. All I can assume is that these words of wisdom were devised from the luxury of his or her car. While to the eye, the city appears flat, to my unfit thighs it certainly wasn't. Knackered by the ride to the war memorial, we rested for an embarrassing amount of time before heading on to Parliament House. To make things interesting, there were a group of protestors outside chanting about the dangers of nuclear food. Well it sounds dangerous to me too. Anyway, after a minor altercation with the police, a handful of them, although curiously not all, decided to go on hunger strike. They permitted themselves one last meal but when I noticed that this consisted of takeaway sushi my support dwindled. It's certainly not a normal association - crusty protestors/expensive, oriental cuisine.
The National Museum is perhaps the best indicator of Australia's lack of history. Rather than educating visitors in what has happened in the past, it focuses entirely on the future and getting across a political message of racial equality. On the positive side, it has more than its fair share of interactive stations. The highlight was the design your own futuristic car/house on the computer and then watch it in 3D in a cinema. Childish but cool!
Day 181 - 182 - Canberra - Melbourne
With a disappointing lack of big things to visit en route to Melbourne and a distance of around 700km to cover it was foot to the floor all the way. Well, that was the idea but unfortunately it turned out to be untrue. Firstly, just outside Canberra, the road appears to be a favourite point for animal suicide. In a 10km stretch of road we saw 20 kangaroos and 1 wombat in various states of decay by the side of the road. While the first ones are inevitably a touch emotional, the novelty of a 'roo skeleton soon wears off. The second slowing factor was a meddling policeman who had the audacity to stop us for speeding. Bastard. He did however admit that they would not follow me to England to pay the fine and without actually saying it, strongly suggest non-payment was the way forward. I was keen to take that piece of advice.
The journey also took us through the Snowy Mountains and while the snow reports are allegedly very good at the moment (yes, it is that cold), we didn't see a drop of the white stuff and it was hardly surprising to see so many special offers on ski hire.
Exhausted, we finally arrived in Melbourne only to be flashed again by some sort of camera because we hadn't paid the necessary toll to be travelling down Batman Avenue. Yes upi heard correctly - Batman Avenue.
With its tram system and infinite cafes, Melbourne has a pleasantly relaxed feeling to it. While we've laid the initial foundations for what will hopefully be the sale of Roland, we've joined in with the general ambience and generally just chilled out. Not knowimg how long we are going to be here makes plans impossible and it's a pain having to sit around waiting for the phone to ring. A phone we bought especially to sell the car. Unfortunately we're not the only people in Melbourne trying to sell a car and the longer it takes, the more likely we are to cut our losses and take it to a dealer.