Day 19 – 8,342 KM. Town 29: Canberra, the Capital of Australia, was my base for visiting a number of towns in the local vicinity and on this occasion I stayed at the comfortable and pet friendly Canberra Retreat B&B in Aranda.
Canberra is full of many attractions, way to many for me to explore or do justice to during my fleeting visit. I did however take in the Masterpieces From Paris Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. The exhibition features 112 of some of the best-known works of modern art on loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The exhibition was well worth the visit even if only to see some of the most well known pictures by Van Gogh and Picasso. The exhibition runs until 5 April 2010.
I’ve visited Canberra on a number of occasions and I’m still to get my head around it. Having grown up in the UK and visiting many of Europe’s capitals I can confidently say Canberra is unlike any of them. Indeed, in many ways it is contradictory to the typical capital. The people and buildings are not crammed in trying to making the most of every inch of space, traffic actually flows, where you would expect to see concrete you see grass. Also, where the majority of Australians live within minutes of the beach, it takes two hours to get to the coast from Canberra.
But then of course Australia is a young nation with an even younger capital and has the advantage of being able to build its capital from the ground up in an planned and organised manner – and here is where the problem lies. It is almost too well planned with no curious side streets, nothing left to chance and lacking in the quirkiness that cities that have evolved over a greater period of time posses. Canberra is a great place to visit with some world class museums located here. But in terms of being more capital like, I’ll wait about 500 years until it is more established and experienced in this roll.