While Indonesia celebrated the end of Ramadan and Idul Fitri, Shane and I took advantage of our breaks from school to see a bit more of this corner of the planet. And so we left Asia and jetted off on an 8 hour flight to a whole new continent: Australia. It was refreshing to leave the land of the endless tropical summer and experience the 75 degree Australian winter, not to mention traveling to a place where we speak the same language (mostly) as the natives for the first time in 9 months. We kicked off our 10 day holiday in Queensland, Australia with a visit to one of the most amazing cities that I’ve ever been to: Brisbane. The cityscape is a mass of modern architecture set on the banks of the Brisbane River, setting the tone for a flowing and bustling city that merges urban life with nature.
We stayed in Adina apartment hotel right on the banks of the river where we could wake up to the morning sun bathing the bridge in golden sunlight and sip tea while deciding what small fraction of this huge city to explore. In the morning we caught a farmer’s market where I bought a basket of strawberries for $3 and nibbled on them and a smoothie while walking through the urban landscape. South Bank Parkland was where we spent most of our time walking beneath vine covered arches that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and smelling people barbecuing on the grills that are available to the public for picnics. I can’t convey how much these simple leisurely activities meant to me after being away from home for so long.
We explored further to enjoy the botanical gardens and were met by the beautifully unique flora and fauna of Australia as well as the uniquely frightening wildlife. For someone who is not a bird person, the display of sharp beaks and dinosaur like talons matched with beady eyes that seem to be contemplating the best way to gut you is a little unsettling. While knee high Australian toddlers tossed bread to the birdies, I watched in horror. If reverse evolution could happen, I think these would be somewhere close to velociraptor’s gone to the dark side.
As the sun sinks below the horizon Brisbane undergoes transformation, and not in the werewolf-like way that many large cities do at night. It shines like the urban oasis that it is. Lights ripple on the surface of the river where you can take a free ferry boat to different parts of the city free of charge (amazing, right?). Catching a bite and drink at one of the dozens of posh modern restaurants is a must do.
Shane and I indulged on food we had been missing, walked about on paved sidewalks, didn’t fear for our lives while crossing the street and just had an amazing start to our vacation out of Asia. Our two day visit was short and sweet, but this I promise: Brisbane I will be back.