Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A patriotic Australia Day Long Weekend

Before I start, I hope everyone in Queensland is staying dry and safe.  It's a bit scary the stuff that's been happening.

We visited Canberra over the long weekend, mainly because we had a wedding to attend there, but we also took the opportunity to be tourists in our nation's capital (and frankly, what better time to be patriotic than Australia Day?).

Windmill type things
Our first stop when we arrived in Canberra was Silo Bakery after Tom's Mum insisted we visit.  The pastries had us salivating but we needed lunch so ordered pasta and pizza, then ordered a peach flan takeaway.

The pasta wasn't anything to write home about - completely bland.  The peach flan on the other hand was amazing.  Probably should've stuck to baked goods given this is a bakery after all.

We visited the War Memorial which was a really special thing to do on Australia Day.  Tom's grandpa fought for Australia during WW2 (and ironically he was stationed in Papua New Guinea where I grew up) so it was super special for us.

After a nice and peaceful few hours at the War Memorial, we were able to check into our hotel.  I had booked the Diamant through a Wotif mystery hotel deal (after doing my research of course).  I know a lot of people rave about this place but I personally didn't see what the fuss was about.  I wasn't a fan of the dimly lit hallways with neon lights and mirrors everywhere - there's something a bit impersonable about it.  The tap in the bathroom gave us hot water when the knob was turned to cold, and cold water when the tap was turned to hot.  The aircon took a loooong time to kick in (about an hour), and then would be freezing cold.  The TV was pretty small and in the corner of the room which meant straining your neck.

The positives?  The wardrobe has given me inspiration for my future walk-in-wardrobe, there was a variety of complementary T2 teas, and the water pressure in the shower was perfect.  Oh and I liked the green apple on the bed instead of chocolate. 

At about 6pm, the thunderstorm kicked in and knocked Foxtel out.  The poor boy wanted to watch the A-League game but had to settle for some cooking program on free-to-air.  Fortunately, we were meant to meet a couple of my highschool friends for dinner so it was relatively easy to pry him away from the telly.  Unfortunately, the restaurant we were booked into had been flooded and weren't operating that night so we decided to move the dinner to my friends' place.  How convenient that the takeaway pizza place is right next to a bottle-o.  Pizza, salad, beer, wine and cider (and 5 hours later) it was time to go home.  The rain had let up a little so we didn't get drenched from their front door to the car.

The next morning we got up early, got dressed for the wedding, checked out, and headed to the cafe for a quick breakkie before a 9am wedding (yes. 9am. on a Sunday. in Canberra.  Now you know why we made a weekend of it instead of driving down just for the wedding?).  We probably looked like tossers dressed to the nines for a casual Sunday breakkie but no one said anything about it (to our faces at least).

Breakfast at Mocan and Green Grout was really enjoyable.  The kitchen is smack bang in the middle of the cafe - no walls, no glass, nothing.  This intrigued me greatly.  You're exposing the heart of your operations, essentially.  No hiding the burnt toast and starting again.  No yelling to the other chefs.  No making a mess everywhere.  It actually impressed me how efficiently and quietly they worked. The downside to this, however, is flies flock here because of the exposed kitchen.

The interiors were very hipster - exposed wood walls which double as shelves, specials written on butcher's paper, bonsai trees on each table.  I loved it!  Will be back there next time I'm in Canberra.

The wedding was a traditional Indian wedding.  I've never been to a traditional Indian wedding before.  I did not realise the first hour is spent standing outside the hall on asphalt.  Obviously had I known this, I would not have worn 6 inch Louboutins.  My mistake.

The groom arrived on a white horse, surrounded by his groomsmen who danced around his horse.  The bride was nowhere to be seen.  Her grand entrance would come 1.5 hours into the 3-hour ceremony.  After the first hour, we were ushered into the hall where we got to sit down (and where I promptly removed my shoes) and watched the rest of the ceremony on the stage in front of us.  To be honest I found it difficult to follow as I don't understand the language or the customs.  Language barrier aside, it was a beautiful and touching ceremony and a delight to watch.  Congratulations P and R!

This is becoming quite a long and rambling post now so I'll keep the rest of it picture-heavy.  Went to the National Film and Sound Archive to see the Gotye Exhibit.  Disappointing.

The Old Bus Depot Markets were good, much better than the Gorman House Markets on Saturday.

Had some Ethiopian food for the second time in my life (first time was Portobello Markets in London), with some fresh orange juice.

Next door to the markets is Canberra Glassworks.  You can actually watch them blow glass and they talk you through it, which is pretty cool.  I saw how they add colour to glass (I've always wondered how it happened).

A few quick stops before we left the ACT: Lonsdale St Traders, Lonsdale St Roasters (closed :( ), and Mount Ainslie.

Bye Canberra!  It was fun!


  1. So glad you had a good time in Canberra! Terrible weather though.. It very rarely storms here.

    1. So bummed I didn't get to Lonsdale St Roasters before they closed! I think that was your rec?

    2. Yeah I think it was. For somewhere that is so busy, they have quite reduced trading hours. Sorry you missed it... The coffee is really good!


Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment :)