Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Brisbane (Australia)

Our first impression of Queensland's capital and the third largest city in Australia was muddled in the jetlag of arrival. Saying goodbye to Rich's cousins and the outskirts, we headed back into the city proper to take in more. Most of the sights are easy walking. A stroll along the Brisbane River brings you past several museums and artsy cafes. We ducked into the Queensland Museum to learn a bit more of the state's history, including sheep ranches, sea cucumber fishing, and lots of mining. This could explain the sort of old Wild West vibe we've felt. I guess gold rushes will do that to a place. Further down river, the South Bank Parklands has pretty bits of rainforest, outdoor eateries, and the occasional monument from Brisbane's twin cities or various other cultural connections. But the real winner for greenspace has to be the City Botanic Gardens, where the huge fig, pine, and macadamia trees that shade lovely stretches of soft grass – real grass for our deprived Barcelona-selves! – made us wish we'd brought a picnic.

Heading up the pedestrian mall of Queen Street, we passed pubs and restaurants, clothing stores, souvenir shops, and money exchanges. It finally hit us that UGG boots are actually a product of Australia after passing countless outlets claiming to offer the best deal. We didn't buy any footwear, but we were quite happy to open our wallets for the farmer's market/food stalls at the end of the high street. Then again, we never could resist grilled sausages or kettle corn. It was a bargain compared to most of the meals we've had in this country, where even one takeout dish can set you back 16 Australian dollars (~ 17 USD or 14 €) - and that's without rice! 

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