One amazing thing about travelling the world is the friends that you make along the way, and seeing them in other places around our beautiful planet, catching up years after first meeting. And you know what? When you meet them for the first time, you can easily get a vibe as to whether your paths are going to cross again or not. For me, there is a lovely list of people who will know who they are.
For example, I will make it across Germany to see a series of lovelies I met at the beginning of last year: a gorgeous couple, a high school teacher and another fellow travelling nomad! And another dude who may eventually settle back in Germany or perhaps the Netherlands, possibly Vietnam… I mean, with this guy, your guess is as good as his! Then the States, Italy and France are other places that I’ll be able to catch some incredible people I met whilst I was living in Siem Reap. And I’d definitely have places in Siem Reap to stay. Sticking in Asia, I’ve got a friend in Singapore, one currently in Myanmar, but she might end up somewhere else, and a similar story for a gorgeous girl who’s currently working out in Indonesia. If I ever go to Toronto, Canada yhere are more than a few awesome people I’ll want to catch up with… like if don’t make time to visit a certain aesthetician, I will be murdered in my sleep. Or more likely I’ll have to deal with some serious emotional blackmail! The other Canadian may end up living in Australia forever more, but I’m going to see him in Cairns anyway.
In any case, from time to time, you get the opportunity to stay with friends for a bit, which means you save on accommodation costs AND get to escape the hostel environment for a few days. Helen’s friend Hannah was more than happy to host us for a full week and made our stay so homely and lovely! No really, she could not have been a better host and I look forward to the time I can do the same for any of my travel buddies when I’m settled in a physical location for more than two weeks!
Usually, backpackers don’t spend too long in Brisbane, because at the end of the day, a city is a city and by this point along the coast, you’ve either seen Melbourne and Sydney, or they’re on your list of places you want to go anyway. Like, there is a giant wheel (like the London Eye) in Melbourne. There’s another one in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. And you guessed it, there’s one in Brisbane too. Severely sponsored by Channel 7. They all have a State Library, though I never actually went in to the one in Sydney for NSW as it was closed for public holiday around Christmas and New Year’s on the day I was in the vicinity. They each have a different transport system and a different card to operate each one (honestly, it feels like I’m just collecting them – the mkyi, the Opal and now the go Card). And of course, all three cities have a body of water running through them. Melbourne has the Yarra and Sydney has the harbour, and Brisbane has the River Brisbane (not a joke, I did just have to Google it, and that is the incredibly original name given to the river that runs through Brisbane). Each of those cities (and Surfer’s Paradise too, if I’m being honest) has a lovely skyline that is all lit up and sparkly at night.
Where Brisbane differs – and in my opinion, really shines – is that it is its own city. As the Southernmost point of Queensland, Brisbane doesn’t get caught up in the [sort of] friendly rivalry between Victoria and New South Wales, or more specifically Melbourne and Sydney. Because of this, I feel like Brisbane can stand proud, with its wonderful climate all year round, its brilliant parklands and cultural focus without fear of having to keep up with the other two cities. I’ve found there is more of a presence of the aboriginal people in Queensland than in the rest of Australia that I’ve seen to date. I’m sure that will change significantly by the time I get to Uluru, but from where I’m sitting right now writing this (on 17/01/17 in Noosa) I feel like there is more of an effort put into the people who actually lived here before White Man came over from England to claim this land for himself.
Since we weren’t spending anything on accommodation, we did splash out for a couple of meals. Don’t get me wrong, we cooked pasta, made chicken sandwiches and bought frozen pizzas, but one night we went to an awesome burger joint. I’m saving up a bunch of reviews for burgers that I’ll post another day, similar to this one I did a few months back. Anyway, I had a naked burger and seriously, with the massive serving of salad, it looked like more food than the plates with chips piled up on them! This place is also famed for its cocktails. They have weird things in them like popping candy and fairy floss. Intrigued, I had to try it, and I wasn’t disappointed at all!
Southbank was a great area, currently going through some regeneration work to make it even more lovely. Naturally, we walked through the beautiful parklands around the city, and I was very impressed that there were over-head canopies of flowers and plant-life that doubled up as great shade as you walked through the park. There is a cute little man-made beach that you lounge about in the midle of the city which is a bit weird, but a nice place to hang out. To escape the heat, we went to the cinema one evening to see Moana, which is the latest Disney movie out. Personally though, I think my highlight was GOMA which is the Gallery of Modern Art. Of course, it was air-conditioned, and that makes everyone happy, but as far as modern art goes, this place was brilliant. Generally speaking, I don’t take a lot of pictures in museums and art galleries, but this place was different. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but if anything causes confusion, here is the website, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions! In fact, I’d quite like to hear what you think to some of these pieces.
We also visited Mount Coot-Tha which was a great use of a morning! Great views over the city, and nice green stuff in the form of a Botanical Garden to look at along the trek down the mountain. At the bottom, there is a planetarium and museum dedicated to space hich was cool to have a look around.
All in all, I really liked Brisbane, and urge people to go visit. After all, just because you’ve seen one city, doesn’t mean you’ve seen them all. Not with all their little nuances and quirks, and you only really get to experience them with people who live in the area or if you’re lucky enough to spend weeks if not months in the same place.