Author: Lex Ruby Howe, C’07, GED’13
What do Australians do, one wonders, when they’re surrounded by sea and other awesome Australians at all time? Well this one, on weekends, is rediscovering the beauty of a slower pace, an access to experiences not overrun by the enormity of an urban metropolis, and the unique enjoyment of living in a Commonwealth nation still filled with vestiges of the long reach of the British monarchy.
The last weekends were filled with examples of all such things.
Canberra benefits from a “Sunday is a shopping day” mentality, with residents exploring the on-going “pop-up” markets that grace our streets. One of the highlights is the Old Bus Depot Markets, which, as the name suggests, lives in the Old Bus Depot on the foreshores of one of Canberra’s oldest neighbourhoods, Kingston and pops up each Sunday for one day only. It features the best of the best of chocolates, dips, breads, farmer’s stands, antiques, and artistic novelties known to Canberra. Oh, and if you need one of those lovely best-friendship woven bands, this is the place for you! The Depot has quickly become my Sunday habit.
Ah, but the fun doesn’t end there. My grandparents live in the Blue Mountains, a rural oasis to many Sydney-siders who need an escape from their urban peers. The mountains are peppered with small towns filled with antique stores, places for traditional English afternoon tea, and apple orchards that feed Australia. The fresh air must have gone to my head during my visit to the mountains two weeks ago, as I did something I’d never done before – I woke up expressly to see the sunrise. I watched as it transitioned from a beautiful auburn, to gold, to vibrant yellow, dancing across the dewy grass beneath my feet.
After that sunrise that weekend, I made my way back down the mountains for a quick stop at the Royal Windsor Polo Club. The Club hosted the International Test Series between South Africa and Australia, and after learning the rules on the fly, I enjoyed watching Australia trounce our Commonwealth peers 9-4. I must admit, the game was far less enjoyable than the people-watching opportunities provided by the strutting of Sydney’s young, bold, and beautiful.
Speaking of Sydney, Canberra’s proximity to Australia’s darling city provides ample opportunities for quick weekends away. Sydney offers the homesick among us with a chance to taste a bit of Americana. Shopping at stores that *ahem* may not exist in Canberra (Zara), heading to comedy shows (thank you Tom Green), and delighting taste buds with specialty Ramen shops tucked in the nooks and crannies of a vibrant Chinatown are just a few of the perks of a weekend in Sydney. I plan on exploring them again and again over weekends to come.
It is a hodge-podge, but this is Australian life.