Last weekend we made the 7-hr trek to Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).  A 7-hr drive in Australia feels like it is twice as long as a 7-hr drive in California.  With the exception of the submarine sitting in a park in one of the small towns we went through, the scenery is very monotonous.  We left earlier enough that we reached the city in the afternoon with just enough time for Phil to check in for his half ironman and then make a quick stop in the National Gallery of Australia.

The next morning we were up way too early but were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise as the athletes got ready for the race.  Fortunately the rain from the day before had cleared and it turned out to be a beautiful morning.  The Capital served as a nice backdrop during each leg of the race.

Phil ran a good race and finished an hour sooner than his last race three weeks ago.  Then it was time for a quick recovery nap before we went to the War Memorial.  Dinner that night was at the Alto revolving restaurant on a hilltop above the city, and we enjoyed the views of a beautiful sunset while feasting on some very good food.

War Memorial

Canberra from Alto Restaurant
Monday morning we drove around the embassies before making our way back to Melbourne.  It was interesting seeing how each country chose to represent itself, and as soon as I saw a massive amount of security fencing I knew the US Embassy was close.  It was a colonial-style complex of building surrounded by armed guards.  By contract, the New Zealand Embassy didn't even have a gate.

The city of Canberra was created specifically to be the capital city (like Washington, DC) and there was a contest to see who would design the layout.  An American won and clearly had a wicked sense of humour.  We found it very difficult to get around in the town because there were lots of circular streets that didn't seem to connect.  I'm glad we were able to see a couple of the museums but I don't know that I *need* to go back there again.  I'm very glad we live in Melbourne!


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