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.
3 responses to “Compare and Contrast”
To be honest, I know exactly what you mean. In the end, a city is a city. When we travelled in the US we tended to avoid cities. For example, we did a 3 week driving trip to the NW of the US and into Canada and we bypassed Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. All beautiful cities I’m sure (and in fact I did visit Portland a few years later on business from Australia) but that’s not what we were looking for on our holiday.
I do want to emphasize that I didn’t dislike Canberra. It has much to offer. It is a very handsome town, and there was much to enjoy. It just felt like a disconnect from the rest of my trip—and as I noted, part of that was because I was a bit ragged.
Oh don’t worry, I’m not offended at all … as I said I prefer to get into the country when I’m travelling too. I do hope you get back here again one day and that we can meet.