South We Go

Week 15 How much can you do in a week?

This post in Francais

We started the week in the countries purpose built capital, Canberra. Where we visited the Australian national museum and Capital Hill, where we learned more about the history of this young and vibrant nation. We then drove up into the Snowy Mountains, where we visited caves by ourselves, swam in a natural spring thermal swimming pool that is always 27°. We were surprised to see kangaroos watching us as we swam and wild horses running free. We then headed to Sydney where we were part of the crowd for U2’s concert.

Day 98 (08/12/10) Driving

Today we woke up to the sound of rain hitting the roof of our Baby Hippo. I am trying to get contact lenses in France, this is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be, but then again I should have known doing some thing in France would not have been easy, especially when I am not in the country to work things out, and because of the time difference it is even harder. Apart from that nothing very special happened at all today, oh yes we passed a Submarine that was in the middle of a village that was very far from the ocean. Otherwise we just drove to the outskirts of Canberra. We stopped in a noisy rest area near the highway, that was the only one we could find close to the city. We made crepes for dinner and then settled into the van before the thunder storm hit us; we watched the lighting light up the sky around our van. It was fun and scary at the same time.

Day 99 (09/12/10) Canberra

When we woke up we found a lot of bugs on our Baby Hippo, they wanted to stay warm and dry, I guess, but I had to kick them off our van. We had breakfast and then headed into Canberra, we checked in at the campsite where we will be staying for the next 2 days, left our baby hippo to enjoy the grass, then took the bus into town. Once we had reached the centre of town it was lunch time, so we went into a mall and had some sushi. Then something weird happened to me, I started to have a panic attack, a mild one but still, just because the mall was noisy and after living in nature far from everything for so long, the amount of people and noise freaked me out. After a few minutes I was fine and could eat my sushi, I guess we get use to things very quickly. After lunch we went to capital hill to visit the house of parliament. There was a free guided tour, which explained the way that the parliament of Australia is structured. We also found out why on the Australian coat of arms there is an emu and a kangaroo, the reason is because the animals can not go backwards and it symbolises the nations moving forward. We then took the bus back to the campsite had dinner and then I slept, I felt very tired at the end of the day.

Day 100 (10/12/10) 100 days since we left France

Today marks 100 days since we left France and started this incredible journey. Still in the nations capital we went to visit the Australian National Museum. We found that travelling by bus here is not easy because we do not know where each bus goes and we do not know which bus to take to where we want to go, so today we took our Baby Hippo for a ride. It is also a lot fast to travel by car here as there is no traffic. The Australian National Museum is free to enter and you can easily spend all day there. It is by a lake and has a nice café to sit out side in the sun, when it is sunny here, which I have heard is not often. We learned of the journeys undertaken by Captain Cook and his followers. We also learned that Australia’s past is not all sunshine. For more than 100 years after colonization of Australia began, the Aboriginal people were not recognised as citizens of the nation. It was not until 1967 that they were recognised as Australians and had the right to citizenship. A few of the lands that belonged to them have been returned, but a large amount never will be. The battle goes on for the Aborigines land and culture to be recognised. I won’t go into more details here, but if you are interested you can read about it on Wikipeda.  We also visited the War Memorial that explained all of the wars that Australia has taken part in.

Day 101 (11/12/10) The Snowy Mountains

Today we took to the road again to leave the nations capital and head up to one of the most famous mountain ranges in the country, the Snowy Mountains. After driving for over an hour we arrived in the town of Cooma, which is the gateway to the mountains. We went to the tourism office to decide on where exactly we would go. We choose to go to the north of the Snowy Mountains as this will be easier for us to get on to the road to Sydney afterwards. Also as the south of the park is full of famous ski fields so we would have to pay if we went to that part of the national park. So we head north and for the whole drive up I did not feel that we were in the mountains at all, the hills were flat, so we did not feel that were going up. Our first stop was the three dams, a dam that was built in the time when the Chinese worked on the mines up here that looks so natural that it fits right into the landscape and looks like a lake. It was very windy up there so we drove on to the caves of Yarngobilly that we planned to visit tomorrow. We took ourselves on a self guided tour of the south cave. This was really fun as we got to spend as much time as we liked taking pictures and exploring the cave. Afterwards we headed to the thermal hot springs swimming pool that is 27° year road. As I was walking to the changing rooms minding my own business right in front of me I found a family of Kangaroos eating the grass. There was a daddy, son, and the mum with another Joey in her pouch, this is the closest we have been to Kangaroos in the wild.

Day 102 (12/12/10) Yarngobilly

As we enjoyed the Yarngobilly caves so much yesterday, we returned to spend the day there today again. We did some bush walking, around the other caves that look cool, but we could not go in without a guide. We went back to the thermal swimming pool where we saw the kangaroos yesterday, but instead of seeing kangaroos we found that the pool was under attack from a group of scouts and their leaders. So it was very noisy and not peaceful and relaxing as it was yesterday.  We spent the morning and the early part of the afternoon bush walking where we saw no people, but no animals either, but lots of beautiful parrots. We had a late lunch before hitting the road in order to head to the main highway that would lead us to Sydney. We drove the 80kms and parked just before joining the highway. We saw wild horses and yellow back kangaroos hopping across the road.

Day 103 (13/12/10) Driving to Sydney

Today we drove almost 400 kms to reach the suburbs of Sydney. We stopped to eat at Hungry Jacks and were disappointed. At least at Mac Donald’s we can get Angus beef in our burgers. We reached the town of Penrith which is 50kms from down town Sydney. We stopped at a nice campsite for the night, which had a swimming pool and a library. We just spent the evening relaxing and preparing for the big day tomorrow.

Day 104 (14/12/10) Sydney & U2 concert

We woke up early today, I guess because we were well rested. We headed into the west of Sydney to near where the Sydney Olympic Stadium is, where we will be watching U2 in concert tonight. We checked into our hotel room, this is the first time we are staying anywhere but our van since we brought our van over 2 months ago. I love sleeping in our van, it has become home to us and is so comfortable. But I have to say it is nice to be lying on a bed writing my journal, eating dominos pizza, watching tv and  not worrying about the battery on my computer running out.

The concert was great, even though the opening act was Jay Z and I did not like his music, Bono and the band blew us away with their performance and their super cool 360° stage. It was really great and not to be missed!

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