It’s been a long time since I put up a snapshots post! Mostly it’s been because I haven’t really done anything interesting, this year so far has seen me sitting behind my computer a lot. That’s going to change soon though because we have a lot of trips coming up which I’m very excited about. It’s nice to get out of the house once in a while and when you’re being invited all over Australia that’s even better!
Recently we were asked by Canberra Tourism to take part in their Human Brochure campaign. Basically what that involved was being flown to Canberra and shown the sights to prove that it really doesn’t suck as much as everyone thinks it does. No seriously. I’m going to be completely honest here and say that I’d never been to Canberra before so I had the same impression of the city as most people I know: pretty small and not much there other than public servants and politicians. James remembered it from his last trip there: the only place in Australia where you can buy fireworks. We were both actually pretty wrong as we didn’t see 1 politician and you can no longer buy fireworks XD So with those misconceptions out of the way how was it??
Well we were on the “Arts” leg of the tour and the weekend was so packed with interesting things that I’m going to have to break it up into each day *_* So let’s get started!
We had a pretty good flight down though I was really sad to leave Lottie. I know it’s silly but this is the first time we’ve left her properly so I was really sad. She lived though and she was so excited when we came home!
We packed very light, I really hate checking in luggage so we just took this overnight bag. I’m totally the master of packing light while still looking awesome.
When we touched down in Canberra we were greeted by our hosts Rei and Sarah and organised onto a luxury coach to be taken to the hotel. Canberra is very green and open.
There are trees everywhere and the roads are really clean and wide. It’s the complete opposite to Melbourne where everything is quite squished and tall, Canberra is very flat.
The aircon on our bus was very happy 😀 I used this trip to try to expand my photography skills so I hope you guys are ready for 7 billion detail shots of things!
We stayed at the East Hotel and it was amazing. I use that word a lot but I’ve never stayed at somewhere like East before. Usually on sponsored trips like these we get put into tiny rooms because logic says “well you’re going to be out most of the time anyway, you’ll just be back here to sleep”. True to a point, but I really think that having somewhere comfortable makes a huge difference to the whole experience. I find that little details really effect my mood and when you’re already away from home stupid things like having a huge mirror to do my make up with or a really *good* cup of tea or being able to watch tv while I fall asleep make me so much happier about getting up super early in the morning haha!
When we arrived we were greeted with a welcome pack. It had books about Canberra, handmade local chocolates and custom notebooks. I had stupidly left my notebook and watercolours at home so I was especially glad to be given one to use on the trip.
Anyway before I went off tangent I was trying to say that East hotel really isn’t you’re average hotel, it’s very artistic. It’s only 6 months old and they have really embraced social media and technology. For example, there is a daily wifi allowance included with the room. I’m sure for overseas readers that’s nothing to care about but in Australia you’d be surprised how many hotels still have extremely overpriced internet. Hell, even most of our airports don’t have free wifi :/ There were complimentary computers to use in the lobby along with several flavours of water.
It was decked out with information about art exhibits. And each month they display their own exhibits on a huge projector. It was kind of epic *_*
Is it weird I was actually sad we didn’t get to spend more time in the hotel? It was so comfortable *_*
The OX, restaurant and cafe was equally pretty. They had a selection of local handmade sweets too!
I know, I’m going on a lot about the hotel but I have an obsession with them XD Perhaps it’s because I love details and I always dream that one day I’ll live in apartment as fancy as this!
Another nice touch, vintage bicycles were available to borrow to ride around and explore the city.
The room we were given was massive!
Several comfy couches and extremely large bathroom!
The kitchen area was also massive and even had complimentary Nespresso.
As soon as we were settled there was a knock on the door and a lovely manager came to deliver a second welcome pack containing more local goodies including a jar of strawberry and pinot noir jam. That’s how you know you’re fancy: when even your jam has expensive wine in it >_>
After settling in, we headed for a walk down the road to get some McDonalds like the super classy people we are! Even the walk was really pretty.
We enjoyed a bit of a relax in the room then freshened up to head out for the next part of the itinerary. We met Sarah and Rei downstairs, this photo was from the last day but it was the only one I managed to get of us together. They were SO sweet. Honestly they were always on the ball making sure everything was going well and we were having fun. I felt like a Princess the whole weekend with people offering me things and being so nice *_*
So much fun! I told them I was going to keep this silly photo for black mailing purposes later but it was too funny not to post XD
We were loaded back onto the bus and taken to the Australian War Memorial for our welcome event.
Every bus ride we took, I was surprised how scenic everything was.
I was really unsure what the war memorial was going to be like. Fun is not one of the words that is often used in the same sentence as war… but it was!
Quick side track but all of the landmarks in Canberra line up! Because the entire town was planned before it was built you can see directly to all the attractions, standing in front of the War Memorial this is the view to Parliament House!
Anyway back on topic, we were greeted at the front of the memorial by historial re-enactors dressed from various time periods. I had to steal this photo from my instagram because they were too cute. The sailor even did a little jig for us. I didn’t catch their names so I renamed them Sgt. Awesome and Handsome Dan in my head ^_^
Did I mention everything here was scenic?
We spent a lot of time looking for James’ great grandfather on the memorial wall but I didn’t work out until too late that you could actually look up on a map online and pinpoint people.
We were welcomed officially by the team and there were a couple of speeches as expected. What made this part of the night really interesting was the stories and mini tours we were given by the staff.
We broke off into small groups and toured the exhibits as we heard personal stories from wars. Some were very sad while others were hilarious like the man who thought taking on an entire army was a better choice than taking on his angry wife, so he ran off to war!
By now you know I can’t help taking photos of flowers everywhere we go.
Inside we had a delicious dinner and saw a movie about pilots that Peter Jackson made. I enjoyed the planes most of all!
There was so much fooood. It was too dark inside to get very many photos but as a tribute to James’ love of tiny foods, here is a tiny chicken burger 😀
We met up with Belinda from Bella in Bindyland and her husband Trent! We’ve spoken online for years so it was really nice to meet in person finally! They were on the Adventure tour and I didn’t envy how early they had to get up the next morning to go mountain biking.
As things started to wrap up we headed out into the night to get a little fresh air. It was really stunning! It really reminded me how much I miss having a view of the sky from our apartment. I can only see a reflection of the sky from our windows 🙁
When we arrived back at the hotel we were greeted with a very cute little surprise from East: two free tickets to the portrait gallery which we didn’t have time to use, a Berocca and a note which said “Word is you’re flat out tomorrow, so to ensure you make it through your day”. I LOVE LITTLE DETAILS!
And that was the end of day 1! We pretty much fell into bed after that, traveling always makes me so sleepy. This was actually the least action packed day of the three so look forward to the next post tomorrow where we go to some really beautiful places!