"Captian Cook" is a slang phrase for a look; hence, my host mum called our quick tour of Canberra a "Cook's tour." I've been learning lots of fun Australian slang, but I can never seem to remember it when I'm writing a blog post.
Above is a picture of New Parliament House from the car as we approached it. New Parliament House was only built in the last decade or two (I've already forgotten exactly when.) It's an extremely impressive, modern building.
This is a picture down the lawn from the New Parliament House. At the other end is Old Parliament House, itself a very elegant building.
This is a closer photo of New Parliament House. You can't see it in this picture, but the building is built cut into the side of a hill, so there are sloping lawns on either side. It's very grand, but my host mum says the bright green lawns are a bit controversial at a time when the drought is causing water restrictions, especially pertaining to watering one's lawn.
You can see the inside lobby of New Parliament House here (with my host mum and Caitlin's back.) There is lots of marble and wood, all of it Australian I believe.
On the front lawn of the Old Parliament Building (below) is a Aboriginal "embassy" - protest. The Aboriginal people have a lot of problems, much like the Native Americans on reservations in the US, but unlike the US, not all have relinquished claims of sovereignty over the land.
Old Parliament House is a beautiful building. It became too small to hold the Australian parliament, and it is used for events and functions now.
This is the War Memorial museum. It's supposed to be an incredible museum. I intend to go some weekend. (This weekend we went the the Australian National Museum. It was fantastic! I'm going to have to go back another day to see everything.)
This is a view of Canberra from Mt. Ainsley. Canberra is surrounded by the Brindabella Mountains. You can see the red boulevard running down the middle. Memorials line the path, and at the south end is the War Memorial, and across Lake Burley Griffin is a long white building, Old Parliament House, and just north of that is New Parliament House. Canberra is a planned city (designed by American architect Griffin.) It's location was chosen because it's approximately half way between Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. You can see why they call it the "bush capital."
You can see Lake Burley Griffin here - it's quite picturesque, with paths for biking and walking around the edge. Lake Burley Griffin is a man-made lake, as part of Griffin's design.
Here is Caitlin and Toni, my host mum. We're at Regatta Point, a little museum and cafe overlooking the lake.
(Completely unrelated story) Today I tried my first crumpet - it was very nice. Sort of a chewy, moist English muffin.