4 Mar 2013

Toulouse-Lautrec, Kangaroos And Greyhound

Last weekend Kayleigh and I took a long planned trip to Canberra.  My mum's best friend now lives there with her family and being keen culture vultures we were desperate to see the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition that is being held there.  Two perfectly good excuses to visit the city that receives a fair amount of bad press!

Unfortunately, the only form of transport we could really afford was a Greyhound coach.  The trains were quite expensive and took a ridiculous amount of changes and the flights were extortionate.  So on Friday when the clock hit five we grabbed a bite to eat in Fed Square and headed straight to Southern Cross for a long and uncomfortable coach journey.



After a very bad night's sleep we arrived in Canberra at six o'clock in the morning and were greeted by a very enthusiastic Mrs W.  I love meeting up with family friends or distant relatives abroad, it's really nice to have a strong link to home in a foreign environment.  After a hearty breakfast and a good cuppa (and coffee, I dread to think how little sleep we'd had) we took Basil the labrador for a walk with Mr and Mrs W.



Basil and his gigantic fetch stick



Can you spot the Kangas?

The tree trunk snapped after it was thrown, but Basil still made sure he brought both pieces back!
Ever get the feeling you're being watched ...
It was at this point that Mighty Boosh songs started running through my head

How'd ya gets to kill a rooo ....
 After Basil's walk we did more Kangaroo spotting!  This was a personal highlight for me because I actually haven't seen any Kangas in the wild since getting here.

... It's all ya gots to do ...



The perfect hosts and tour guides, Mr and Mrs W then whisked us off to Parliament.  It was on this trip that I decided Canberra is perfect for people with families.  It's quiet, safe and there is actually stuff to do contrary to popular belief.  It's just not got the edge for young adults that Melbourne and Sydney do.



After our speedy tour we went home for lunch and got ready to go to the National Gallery of Australia.  I adore Paris and it's history and love love love the Moulin Rouge era.  I find Toulouse-Lautrec a completely fascinating figure and was so excited to learn a bit more about him.

Sadly we weren't allowed to take any photos in the gallery, all I can tell you is that it was amazing.  I am going to read up properly on his life at some point.  Even more fascinating, Kay and I noticed a hair dried into one of the paintings.... whose was it??  Could it have been Lautrec's or maybe it was from one of his women?

After resisting the urge to buy everything in the gift shop we finally returned home for dinner.  Good company, good food and good wine are the ultimate combination for me.  The evening was spent laughing and ended with a skype chat with my mum (who celebrated her birthday over the weekend).

 The next morning after one of the best sleeps of my entire life (I do love sleep), we headed out to the Telstra tower for a view of Canberra.








We then paid homage to our new country of residence by having a barbecue for lunch and in the afternoon Kay and I boarded the Greyhound back to sunny Melbourne.  It was a lovely weekend and I am genuinely looking forward to going back to explore what else Canberra has on offer - namely the War Museum!

Of course I did buy something from the gift shop, these four large postcards.  They're my favourite Lautrec creations and will look great framed on a wall one day (just need to buy my own home with walls so I can hang them up now...).




This lady was a high class prostitute and is supposed to look ageing in this painting.

My favourite of all, La Goulue (The Glutton).  Apparently Lautrec was heavily criticised for painting her with a not so pert bosom.

Now if you've read any of my posts from my travels in 2011 you will know that when Kay and I travel together we suffer from something known as incredibly bad luck.  Last weekend was no different.  The Greyhound broke down in Albury and we got home over two hours later than planned.  Our heads didn't hit the pillow until two o'clock in the morning.  Not great when (like me) you have work the next day for what will be the busiest day of the term.

At least we didn't have to climb over any landslides ...