We were lost and somewhat frustrated…..
The main reason for us visiting Canberra was to attend the Anzac Day Dawn Service,then maybe stay on briefly to experience some of the Capital City.
We had been in Canberra just a night and a day,but in that time had no luck in finding a paid place to plug-in,the accommodation we had lined up at “Epic Showgrounds ” had fallen through,which left us looking for somewhere else to go.
In the short time in Canberra,we blew a hose off the turbo on the bus,dented some trailer wheels ,and my map reading skills plus our GPS combined had taken us on that many wrong turns,and down so many dead-end tracks,that in the end we even managed to end up in the middle of a party.
If you have never been to Canberra before,it can be very frustrating if you don’t know your way around,especially in a 19 metre rig.
We were ready to drive out and started too! except on the way out we ended up on what we call the circles of doom,those roundabouts in Canberra that take you everywhere except where you want to go! this time we found our selves out the front of Old Parliament House.
Thought we may as well stop and have a break to destress a little.
From where we were parked we noticed a fire burning at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy,and a bloke waving us over.To cut a long story short we got talking to everyone around the fire, and were asked where we were staying for the night,when we mentioned we were most likely leaving Canberra, straight away we were invited by an elder called Pat ,to stay at the embassy.
We took him up on the offer ,but instead of staying for just the one night we ended up at the embassy for nearly two weeks.
It has been one of our most memorable and unique moments in our travels.
Life at the embassy was an experience,at first it felt a little strange being parked smack bang in the middle of paved walkways ,fountains and manicured gardens with views of Old Parliament house one way and the War Memorial Museum the other.
Most mornings we awoke to the crowds of people walking or riding past our bus on their way to work or out and about on their daily morning exercise routine.Other days we watched groups of people on Segway’s riding around the fountains,and that was a first for us!
We were made very welcome at the embassy,invited to the group BBQ ,even the local police dropped in for a chat and wished us a great stay.
It just so happened that our visit also coincided with a large gathering of people from all over the country to meet and talk at the embassy,we sat in on a few of these meetings over the weekend and found it educating.
Every night there was camp fire and plenty of moments spent around those camp fires just talking and getting to know our new friends.
While living at the embassy we had a private initiation ,by a smoking ceremony.This was very special to us and we were given some coals from the sacred fire for our personal purposes.The sacred fire has been burning since 1972.
There was always something happening around or at the Embassy,one morning a gathering of old cars met together for a group meeting around the fountains,Beaudine managed to take a few shots,they were even dressed in period clothing.
While living at the Embassy,we found ourselves walking to a lot of places rather than using the van,close by the embassy we had the National Library ,where we visited quite often,that place is huge and no doubt the largest library we’ve been in to date. The National Gallery of Australia was also just down the road,we spent hours looking at the many different displays.From our camp site we were also within view of Questacon (The National Science and Technology Centre).
And not to forget Old Parliament House where we wandered the gardens quite often,as well as inside.
We found it hard to leave the Embassy ,but once we were finally on our way ,we left feeling rejuvenated and grateful for our experiences at a time when we were feeling a little lost and a little down ,they took us in and lifted our spirits.