Brisbane

I’m already enjoying my time in New Zealand, but there are still some things left I should write about Australia. My last three days there weren’t idle. Every time I visited Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, the weather wasn’t on my side. But I guess it was the case of ‘three times lucky’.

My first visit to Brisbane was just a ride by a bus, so it doesn’t really count. Then it was raining last Saturday, when we went to see the match. Monday was sunny, but we had dinner with friends in the evening and I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it on time, if I went to the city. So I stayed at home and updated my blog, deleted some photos and watched movies – a normal lazy day.

On Tuesday the air smelled of rain. I wasn’t sure if I should go or not, but those were my last days there and I hadn’t seen Brisbane properly, yet! By the time I got myself together and got to the city it was afternoon and it started to rain. It took me 1.5 hrs by bus from Kippa-Ring. I had to take two lines, change at Chermside.

When I finally arrived in Brisbane, first thing I did was to buy some New Zealand dollars. The service at Travelex on Queen Street was nice, but I was stupid. They sell very cheap, AUD 1 = NZD1.15 and I realised I lost a couple dollars, because I should have looked for the exchange where NZ dollar is more expensive. Oh, well, I’m not the only one who’s made that mistake, I hope. I’m not good at Maths… and common sense.
The rain was getting stronger and it was late when I finished shopping. I bought a t-shirt with koala and a small boomerang.

All the museums and galleries were closed, but I wanted to see anything anyway. I didn’t care about the rain (I’m proud of my shoes and waterproof jacket, they passed the test), so I went along the South Bank and found Max Brenner recommended by Jessica, my friend from Texas (her blog: Bake Me Away).

Should be “CHOCOLATE BY THE BALD MAN” on the wall, but some letters are missing and is “CHOCO-ATE BY THE -A-D –AN”. I ordered Mexican spicy hot chocolate, very good.

The rain was changing into storm with lightnings and thunders, so I thought it would be better to be at home in the weather like that.

Wednesday was my last chance to see Brisbane and this time was a complete success.

P. slept over and went to work later. He picked me up to Northgate and I went to the city by train this time. It took me 30 min. and I started exploring the city from 10 a.m. roaming the streets. There was some construction work going on on King Gorge Square, they were getting ready for 3 week Brisbane Festival starting this Saturday.

Queen Street (yes, that’s Kimbra on the poster on the lamp 🙂 )

Walking along Adelaide Street towards Victoria Bridge I found a market. It was a Farmers Market Day on the square by City Council and there were stalls with fresh food, vegetables, fruit, nuts, flowers, real sour dough bread and rolls and everything else. In this photo there’s Treasury – Casino in the background.

Crossing the Brisbane River: the wheel and the Cultural Centre.

Then I had some time at GoMA again and finished watching the exhibitions there, had a coffee at the State Library and spent a lot of time at the Art Gallery (everything is actually next to each other). I was impressed by their collection and I could find a couple statues by Renoir, some paintings by Picasso, Pizarro, Toulouse-Lautrec. I stayed on South Bank and walked through Parklands. Australians can’t stay too far from beaches, so they made a beach next to the River.

Then I caught City Cat, a ferry, to New Farm Park. I loved being on the water and it went very fast!

From the left: Central Business District, still under construction to be the tallest building in Queensland, Story Bridge.

New Farm Park. The branches were so wide and heavy that they needed a support.

Walked along Brunswick Street to Fortitude Valley or just the Valley (like Soho in London)

Chinatown

And it was already after the sunset, walked back to Adelaide Street and went back home to pack my bags to New Zealand.

To finish the Australian story I need to mention that there are free barbecues at every beach, so you can bring your food and have a barbie with friends. I drove 5 km on the left side of the road when we were going to Glass House Mountains. I was more scared of driving a better car than my dad’s than driving on the left side. I had problems with changing gears and that car had good breaks. And since I’m writing about the Mountains… Eight years ago, an 11 year boy disappeared, Daniel Morcombe and no one knew what happened to him. When I came to Australia, a man was charged of committing a murder on Daniel and for the whole August the Police was searching for the boy at the foot of Beerwah in Glass House Mountains (the mountain on the left). First, they found a shoe, then the second shoe and a couple days before I left they found Daniel’s bones and whatever left from him. Finally his parents could grieve after him.

What else… I saw Compliments of Gus, a Christian band, quite big here, had déjà vu twice and magpies started swooping if you came too close to their nest. They were dangerous and it was better to wear a helmet when we were going by bikes.

Sorry about this megapost. The next one is going to be shorter and about New Zealand.

Wallabies V All Blacks

The last weekend in Australia kept me busy, because you realise that there’s still so much to see and not much time left. But after all, my priority was to get used to being down-under and get as much comfortable as possible and I think it’s been achieved.

OK, so first, what I did on Saturday.

I started with being very useful and practical. I leant how to make scones. My friend, S., who took me to his College a couple days earlier, had told me that his dad gives tutorials to foreigners from time to time on scone making, so I said that I’d love to learn. He was free on Saturday morning and they weren’t that difficult to make. The scones came out delicious, so yummy with strawberry jam and whipped cream and I hope you’ll get the chance of tasting my scones some time in the future.

After the scones we went to Chermside, left the car by the shopping centre there and went to Brisbane by bus (you could travel by bus on a rugby ticket on that day). Unfortunately, it was raining the whole day and it only stopped just before the match, so that meant spending most of the time inside. I visited Australia the Gift (a souvenir shop) in the city centre, then crossed the River and went to Queensland Museum (an interesting exhibition about Torres Strait Islanders) and Gallery of Modern Art partially, because it was getting late and we were getting hungry. We went to Myer Centre and I had my noodles from a box first time in my life, just like in films (no, we don’t have them in Poland, I think; we don’t even have a Chinese restaurant in my hometown!).

I was a bit tired, hot chocolate put me on my feet on the way to Suncorp Stadium. The closer we were to the Stadium the more excited I was. Then when I found my seat, it turned out that I was pretty close to the field. We were early enough to see the teams warming up and I was able to come down to row 1 and take some photos of Dan Carter practicing his kicks.


An indigenous artist playing didgeridoo

Anthems

The All Blacks supporters, that’s where I was sitting 😀

Haka! (watch)

The game. First half the All Blacks played rubbish and I was like, “Is this what I came for?!” They were loosing the ball (I know, it was slippery, but the Wallabies played with the same one) and lost so many chances to score some points. It was 20:6 for the Wallabies.

After the break they got better in the second half, two tries and for a little while there was a tie. It was great to cheer them on together with some Kiwis (I suspect there were a couple thousand there. The venue was sold out and there were about 52,000 people all together). Not for long after the AB’s second try, the Aussies scored another try. Even though Cooper missed two kicks, it was too late to wake up for the All Blacks and Australia won 25:20 and the 2011 Tri Nations.

Essential Aussie moment: someone on the bus back home started singing Waltzing Matilda.

I hope New Zealand will be in a better form for the Rugby World Cup starting in two weeks.