Lest folks in Canberra take exception to my comments about the city not feeling real to me, I do want to point out that I have stated, both on the blog and in my book, that my lack of connection was likely due to exhaustion and a too-sharp contrast with where I’d just been. I was still recovering from injuries sustained on the riding trip, had become quite ill in Tasmania, and had followed the two camping trips with an overnight on the bus. Plus, I had become so completely besotted with Australia’s abundant wilderness, it was a real shock to be surrounded with so much stone and so much that was man-made. Even the lake is man-made. Canberra is, as I noted previously, impressive and handsome. The buildings are all wonderfully modern and the monuments are imposing. I was just too depleted to make the emotional adjustment.
As a point of contrast, below are photos of where I’d been before Canberra (the mountains in Victoria) and a scene near my hotel in Canberra.
So there’s nothing wrong with Canberra. I just wasn’t prepared to be there. Should I have the chance to return, I’m certain my experience will be different. However, that said, it’s not really the kind of environment for which I happily spend 24 hours in flight. We have big cities here. I make that trip because of the wilderness, the small towns, the rural areas. I still thought Canberra was worth visiting.