Hello! Time for Day 2 of our trip to Canberra 😀
This was a pretty action packed day and probably my favorite of the three.
We started off the morning with breakfast at the OX eatery in the East Hotel. It was a buffet of pastries and fruits. I managed to snag a soft boiled egg too which was delicious. Apparently even the gigantic mirrors couldn’t stop me from looking like a bit of a tool when applying my make up XD
And here’s the day’s vlog:
After breakfast we were split into two groups and headed to the buses. One group went to Parliament House while our group went to the National Library. I was really glad to be in the library group… because you know, books>politicians.
The library also houses the National Treasures Gallery and several other photographic exhibits. We were given a guided tour of the Treasures and were spoken to by Eddie Mabo’s daughter about the pieces of his which were included in the exhibit. For those of you who are from overseas, Eddie Mabo is very important to Australian history because he completely changed the way the government recognises Indigenous land rights. There is a LOT of history there and a lot of it was new to me too so I definitely suggest reading up on it.
I spent a long time enjoying the hand drawn maps. I love old maps. I used to study them and try to draw my own as a child so this was sadly exciting for me.
The library also got me started on a project I did while we visited Canberra: documenting the city’s awesome ceilings!
I am completely aware of how stupid this sounds… but everywhere we went had some kind of amazingly interesting ceiling that I was compelled to take photos of. So here is #1!
Then it was time for the books!
We were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the library. I got to use their old pneumatic tube systems!
We also met Charlie, the automatic book delivering robot. She’s very slow but she gets the job done apparently!
The crushers which hold a lot of the books and publications are also apparently so old that they aren’t the kind you can emergency stop so people have received broken bones being crushed in them *_* Luckily, we got out alive!
Another fantastic Ceiling of Canberra. I should trademark that >_>
James enjoyed the photographic exhibit and I enjoyed the stained glass in the book shop.
We had a delicious lunch at the Bookplate Cafe inside the Library. It was a tasting menu which was prepared specially for the group and it was nice to sit down and get to know some of the other people on the tour!
Omg sooooo good. Generally when I think of a cafe inside another attraction I don’t think of fancy food. This is probably because of the crappy food we always have when we go to the Zoo here (ugh microwaved half cold arancini). This was not that. This was fancy. And DELICIOUS. I would fly back to Canberra just for the chocolate mousse.
Bergamot enjoyed it too 😀
It was so good that I didn’t even mind that both a bee and the world’s tiniest spider attacked me XD
Get off my food you evil bee!!
Unfortunately both James and I didn’t pick our seats very well so we managed to get quite badly sunburnt which kind of sucked as I constantly had to rearrange my bag to avoid it touching 🙁
But you know what is awesome? A building with a gigantic squid on it! Apparently this is Questicon which is like a science museum thing. It wasn’t on our itinerary this time but I really want to go there next time!!
After lunch we were picked up by the extremely lovely Chrissy and Charles. Chrissy has been reading my blog for pretty much forever and we developed a friendship via email. She is pretty much the nicest person in the universe and she even brought us gifts including the cute matching headbands we’re wearing! *dies* Also, you should go look at her blog, it’s so sweet!
We went to Hipsley… because we’re so hip 😀 I like the motto, always overdress!
There were some very artsy and cute shops in the area.
I was feeling a little sun-stroke-y after lunch so we sat down for a nice cup of tea.
We then went back to Charles and Chrissy’s house to chill out for a bit and she had made super cute cupcakes! We were so overfed on this trip, not that I’m complaining, more cupcakes please! XD
We had so much in common and they were so nice to have us over when we’d never properly met before! They even put on a show for us 😀
They are in a vibraphone/xylophone band together called Sticks and Tones. I was totally in awe, it was SO COOL!! James and I gave it a try and suitably embarrassed ourselves XD
After that lovely break they dropped us back at the hotel for a quick make up touch up then it was back on the bus again and we headed to the National Art Gallery. Did I tell you this trip was packed or what??
The National Gallery was awesome. They currently have an exhibit from Toulouse-Lautrec who I was completely obsessed with as a teenager. Seeing his work in person was so cool!
One thing that struck me with all of our tour guides from this trip was how passionate they were about their subjects. The enthusiasm was really infectious and I found myself learning a lot while enjoying myself. I mean, our gallery tour guide had even dyed her hair red because Lautrec was known to prefer redheads, that is commitment!!!
Through talking to the tour guide we discovered the children’s room which had been completely renovated to look like one of the paintings and there were dress ups complete with puppet theatre and stage.
A chance to dress up and be in a painting? HELL YES!
We totally fit right in.
I feel like these places have really made an effort to modernise. They weren’t the stereotype of stuffy and boring, they’re interactive and aimed at both children and adults. I think being able to talk to the staff made a huge difference as well because you got to see things through the eyes of someone who was in love with their job. Now every time I go somewhere like this I want to get to know the people who work there.
Also, another interesting Ceiling of Canberra:
After we were finished we headed outside for drinks in the courtyard. The whole forest was engulfed in a smokey haze which was actually part of another art exhibit. Extremely cool and creepy!
I was really excited to see the gift shop… I have extreme love for souvenirs and gift shops and the gallery one was particularly awesome.
There were SO many things I wanted to buy.
And of course we had left our bags with wallets on the bus so I didn’t get to buy anything ;_; Totally my biggest regret of the trip. Seriously, National Gallery, please open an online version of your gift shop… I want to buy things!!!
The last stop on today’s itinerary was dinner at The Lanterne Rooms. We were told it was going to be delicious and they’d been given two chef’s hats so it was one of the best places in Australia, as someone who has been spoiled by eating at awesome places with food blogger friends in Melbourne I was a bit apprehensive when the bus pulled into a strip mall…
I was SO wrong to judge it on first appearances though because once we were inside we might as well have been worlds away. It was so beautifully decorated and the service was great. I’m not a food blogger and my food descriptive skills suck, so this is the description from their website:
We were again treated to a massive tasting menu, I lost count of how many dishes we had.
The staff for the night were amazing. We were so full by the end and our waiter was still saying “You guys still hungry? Let me get you some noodles!”. Honestly I’m glad he did because the rice cake dish at the end was my favorite food from the entire trip. I don’t usually eat spicy foods but this was so good I had to keep going *_*
By dessert we were about to explode but somehow I managed to power through trying 2 desserts… you know… so I could report on it… for you guys… >_>
So I was extremely wrong in my first impressions, The Lanterne Rooms were fantastic and I would definitely go back. I love being wrong about things like this 😀
My second favorite thing of the night was the pomegranate and rose water palette cleanser. Bergamot enjoyed it too.
Bergamot enjoyed it a bit too much >_>
When we got back to the East hotel, there was another cute little note with a bottle of wine and some handmade salted caramels for before bed. LOVE DETAILS!!
So ok. Amazing food, fun places to visit, and extremely nice and passionate people. A bit more interesting than politicians and fireworks, yes? And that was just Day 2, we packed even more into Day 3 *_*
Just wait and see what we got up to tomorrow because it’s pretty cool!