After another buffet breakfast at the Ibis Styles, we again crossed the border into ACT and headed to Questacon aka The National Science and Technology Centre. We really enjoyed the drive around the lake – some of the trees had lost their leaves while others were in bloom with gorgeous shades of pink. Overall we decided the centre of the city is lovely, and not a constant rush like Brisbane or Sydney, but only a few streets back it feels like a ghost town. Quite an odd feeling, seeing so many buildings but hardly any people. But back to Questacon … This place is fantastic for kids, young and old. For the young, there’s so much to see, touch and do, and for the adults you can do all the same but with a real appreciation for it. It was quiet when we started, but very quickly filled with dozens of very loud and excited children. Entry for adults was only $23, which we thought was quite good value, and the cafe was priced very well and definitely catered for the younger generation as well. Overall, it’s easy to kill a couple of hours here and learn some surprising,miscarry and fascinating things!
Being an avid reader, I was very keen to see the National Library of Australia, just across the road from Questacon. The only disappointing thing is the 3-hour parking limit in the area. With so many things to see this was surprising, so be prepared for this if you visit. In the Library was a new exhibit, Treasures Gallery (http://www.nla.gov.au/exhibitions/treasures-gallery). This was a surprisingly enjoyable exhibit, with loads of artefacts from Australia’s history, including an original draft of my favourite Australian childhood novel, The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell. There was also an original score for Waltzing Matilda and various items and records from the first colonisation of Australia. Well worth a visit we decided.
We returned after lunch to the War Memorial, particularly to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which we ran out of time to see yesterday afternoon. As we drove up the long avenue heading to the Memorial, we noticed smaller memorials lining the roadie both sides that we had missed yesterday. Again it struck us just how many people and places have been involved such tragic events. We parked in a different spot to yesterday, and so walked a long paved path to the entrance, past more memorial plaques dedicated to squadrons of fighters and past the sculpture of Simpson and his donkey. What a hero…
It was about 2:00pm when we walked into the courtyard containing the Pool of Remembrance and noticed all the different coin currencies in the pond leading up to the steps to the Tomb. It was touching to know that people from so many other countries visit here to remember the fallen. Walking into the Tomb was a feeling hard to describe: a sense of awe, reverence, humility, sadness…and gratitude at the sacrifices made. The design is awe-inspiring, from the architectural structure itself to the tiled images of soldiers and nurses, to the stained glass windows that pick up the light from the rising and setting sun. There’s not much else that can be said, except we again left in a very emotional state, but extremely glad we had taken the time to visit here.