My uncle who wrote the letters featured in my book Visions from two Continents had four children and their children had many more who spread throughout Australia. On this trip I have been very fortunate to meet many of his grandchildren and their children. After I left Townsville, I flew back to Sydney and then was driven to Bowral to visit some other cousins. Bowral was a temperate place with a much cooler climate than we’d experienced so far. It was fall (mid-March) and they grew imported trees for fall color.
Because it was fall the market in Mittegong nearby was overflowing with delicious looking vegetables:
My cousins insisted that we should drive to Canberra to see the capital of Australia. I wasn’t too keen on seeing buildings as a nature lover, plus it was an hour and a half drive. But I wasn’t about to refuse either, so off we went on another amazing adventure. Along the highway we got to see the fruit bats my mother had told me about. They filled the trees and made a huge racket.
In Canberra we were greeted by architecture inspired by Australia. Romaldo Giurgola, a prairie style Italian architect designed it to encourage public access and involvement while responding to the Australian climate, landscape, vegetation and quality of light. It was not to be built on top of a hill because that would symbolize government imposed by the people. Instead it is built the people can walk on top of it.
Inside massive marble pillars feel like the tall trees of the Australian bush.
The House of Representatives is a eucalypt green and the Senate is decorated in red with the kangaroo and the emu about the leaders chair.
Our guide explained to us how important it was that the people get to walk on top of their leaders as we took the elevator to the roof.
The view from the roof was fantastic:
Walking down from the roof I got to see additional views and a beautiful tapestry that reflected the Australian rainforest. The photo does not show the depth of its texture.
As we went down the stairs and out the door I was fascinated by the mosaic and by the water pool that flowed like a river beyond it. Nothing is static in Australia.
We drove to the Telstra tower and looked back over the view of Canberra:
We drove the hour and a half back to Bowral where I experienced another Australian animal close up in my room.
Apparently the huntsman spider as big as pictured lived behind the painting on my bedroom wall. My cousin explained that this was a nice spider. It hunts the other dangerous spiders and even eats cockroaches. It does not make messy cob webs either. Luckily I’m not afraid of spiders so I slept peacefully that night knowing I had a spider protecting me from harmful insects.