Sunday, June 3, 2012

Home to Canberra, Part 3 of 3

Finally, the last installment of my Australia blog posts. I've been having some problems uploading pictures, and it seems that Safari isn't compatible with the new version of Blogger.  Firefox is though, as you can see below.

The last part of my trip took me to Canberra to see my host family from 5 years ago.  This was the original reason for my trip, and it was well worth it.  I was lucky enough to be able to spend Australia Day with them, and got a real Aussie-style experience.

 My host-dad, Dafydd, is the coach of a girls' rowing team, so my first morning in town we went out on a boat to watch the sun rise as the girls did time trials.  It was beautiful, obviously.  You can even see a hot air balloon rising over the lake.

 That night we went to a big Australia Day celebration.  It was incredible, and so different than what I imagine the Fourth of July in DC to be like.  Everyone just sauntered in - no crazy security, no ridiculous long lines for anything, no 45 minute wait to get out of the parking lot after the event was over.  Heck, it's quite a bit different than Fourth of July in Milwaukee even.

 In the picture above you can see the new Parliament House in the background, and the full crowd for the festivities.

The highlight of the night's performances was INXS, unveiling a new song, live, for the audience.  ABC, the Australia Broadcasting Corporation, broadcast the whole event live for the nation.  It was pretty cool to be at such a big to-do. 

The next morning we went for a complimentary breakfast and caught the citizenship ceremony.  Another incredible moment, as the Prime Minister herself was there, but again, no crazy security.

After that, my host family made a feast for dinner.  It was a proper Australia Day meal, with pavlova...:

...And lots of barbecued meat.  Overall, it couldn't have been a better trip.  My boyfriend also recently visited Australia (see his blog posts starting here,) and I'm glad that we're both building ties there.   That means more visits in the future....

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