we said we would leave on february 1st at 12.00 noon – and we did. no idea how we managed that, we are usually not very good at sticking to set timelines and somehow this one was freaking us all out. as the deadline approached it really sunk in that we would now leave our house behind, be on the road for a year and live in a tiny little home on wheels. it is scary.
the weather, however, became uncharacteristically cold and unpleasant and kris suggested the first change to our itiniary: instead of dipping our toes into the sea on some windswept beach near batemans bay we should rather visit Canberra.
we have of course been here before but really only to one thing: ride bikes. without this excuse we were ready to immerse ourselves in the culture. sort of.
funny enough the curriculum on year 6 – that’s natalie’s age group – includes a visit to parliament house in canberra. i am not sure this is appropriate: listening to question time in parliament i would probably rate the attendance for mature audiences only. but since this is not a sitting week we were in no danger of actually having to listen to the banter in the chamber.
the building is actually really impressive and open, in a way what we would all like our free country to be like. i don’t think many liberal democracies can point to such a strong symbol of our freedom (my previous comments notwithstanding).
nat had a few questions – of course – and the tour guide was very impressed with the insightful remarks this young man made.
the second item on our agenda was a visit to the national museum of australia, in particular an exhibition called ‘songlines’. if you are familiar with australian culture (no, not ‘kylie minogue’, ‘skippy’ or ‘home & away’) you know songlines are a central element of aboriginal culture.
songlines are a way to preserve history, law, maps; knowledge in general. they can be expressed in songs as well as paintings.
this exhibition in particular focused on one of the creation stories, the seven sisters and how they tried to escape from yurla, a dark wizard.
what i found most fascinating was the explanation of the symbols used in the paintings. I had never before seen such a great breakdown of the stories depicted in these amazing artworks.
it is an incredibly impressive exhibition that offers a mere glimpse into the way of life and culture of the world’s oldest culture. we cannot wait to learn more about aboriginals and their way of life as we travel around this country.
in the evenings nat & i both have to study.
tomorrow we will continue towards melbourne to catch up with friends.