As I look back on this last period of time before we left Oz, I am struck by how little I wrote in the way of diary entries. In fact, this one pretty much sums it up:
Sunday November 23, 2014 – Words are sticky and elusive right now. Heavy and too energy consuming.
I think I was suffering ‘catch-up’ from all the new places and people we had met – taking it all in still. That, and we were in a comfortable safe place to do so: spending our last few days in lovely Brisbane with Mum W, who flew all the way up from Adelaide to spend some more time with us before we left. Naw!
So here is a brief little ditty on our last days in Oz….
Started the week off by meeting Mum W – aka, Grandma – in Maleny. Some lunch and a mozy in the area was followed by a tour back at Crystal Waters. It was great to show just where we had been, what we had been doing and who with (sometimes it can all feel a bit surreal, doing things like this away from those you would normally share it with).
After meeting and greeting with our hosts, Max & Trudi, we said our final goodbyes and headed down to Brissy town. While we were sad to leave a place we had settled so comfortably into, I think we all got a little bit excited seeing a big city again.
Not to mention the apartment we were lucky enough to stay in – lovely, and just a stroll away from the city centre. Turns out, it was New York-themed. How very appropriate to have a preview of the real thing we’d be seeing so soon.
We spent the next few days relaxing and exploring around town. If Australian cities are your thing, or will be part of your next travel itinerary, Brissy is worth your time. It has a different vibe to Sydney or Melbourne – more relaxed and easy going (with better weather too – I reckon). As an Adelaidean, and Queenslander by birth, I think of Brisbane fondly – like a big sister to Adelaide. She is warm and fun, casual but cool. The usual city stuff like shopping, eating, museums, galleries, shows and social spots are all present and accounted for, in lovely sprawling landscaped style. Perfect for strolling – South Bank being a good example. I took the footbridge over there and admired the new ‘Brisbane’ installation.
We also checked out the well stocked Queen Street Mall; a green and bustling Botanic Garden and playground, plus the three floor cushy and comfortable Brisbane Square Library.
Interestingly, I took one door into the library and when I came out the other side, this second hand market had popped up in the square!
We also saw the first, of many on our trip, city bike rental scheme – nice!
I love the playful, colourful nature of Brisbane – they even give their electrical boxes the community artist treatment:
Of course, everyone loves a pool so we made good use of that – and the chance to chill out in our room.
Pop-quiz – name one of the bonuses of being with family when travelling.
Having someone to take photos of all three of us? Yes!
Date night – yes! Woo! And in some far off location from home – double woo!
Thanks to Grandma, Michael and I got to wonder the city in search of dinner and sights…
After Michael got his fix of climbing for the day, we found our way to China Town down in the valley (Fortitude Valley), and had what was the top contender for ‘best meal we’ve ever stumbled across’. Red Lotus offered Vietnamese dishes through the most outstanding example of an Asian, or any, menu I’ve seen – gorgeous delicious photos and fun descriptions, elaborate enough to really inform a Western audience. Some dishes even had their own story – like Duck Doggy Style. Yes that’s right, and we ordered it too. What? They’re just referring to duck cooked in the traditional way of dog meat – what did you think they meant?…..
Reading the menu became a fun activity all of it’s own!
By the way, I thought I didn’t like duck.
I was wrong.
So, so wrong….
We wrapped up our last afternoon with a lovely meal up high in the middle of Queen Street Mall – at the recently reopened outdoor ‘Jimmy’s on the Mall‘.
On the day of departure, we completed a puzzle – both for fun and to check where we were going. Then, inevitably, it was time to pack up and ship out. That was quickly followed by me upgrading our travel insurance in a flurry of last minute panic – if that’s not a window into my default nature I don’t know what is.
I love how laughable I am sometimes….
We checked out and made our way to the airport – having planned our flights out of the country and Grandma’s back to Adelaide within short timing of each other. But they were, of course, in different terminals – quite a foreign concept for us Adelaideans, where the air traffic fits happily in just one. So we negotiated the terminals and their connecting bus – complete with a bewildered driver who couldn’t seem to wrap his head around us paying to use the service – apparently it’s normally used by those with a free pass from Virgin Airlines. And so after the confusion cleared and all parties had checked in, there was precious little time to sit before Grandma departed.
I have to say, it was really nice to be able to say goodbye to Mum W before departing the country for a year. How grateful we were for that, and having had an opportunity for time together beforehand.
We continued back to the international terminal, via the same bewildered driver, and prepped ourselves to leave Australia behind……..
So long – we’ll be seein’ ya!