Queanbeyan. One word sums it up really … Nah, there’s so much more to say.
As a former professional of mildly constrained means, I was startled by the expense of a “can’t afford Bali, too skint for the snow” trip to the Australian Capital Territory. Actually, we couldn’t even pony up for the nation’s capital. Two hundred bucks a night only bought a family unit with kitchenette over the border in NSW. Queanbeyan. Luxury.
Oh, it’s fine. A separate bedroom with two singles for the Sprogs, a queen bed in the lounge room opposite the fridge and flat screen for the grown ups.
Queanbeyan itself … I’m not so sure about. Not entirely picturesque. Twenty minutes from downtown Canberra. A rather desultory main street where we had dinner on our first night, a pizza bar serving a “special” of “nachos” pizza with corn chips, salsa, avocado and sour cream. Almost tempting after seeing the regular menu, which included mashed potato pizza with bacon.
Lovely waitresses though. In fact, the locals generally have been a revelation. Very friendly. And most helpful when I slouched into the chemist yesterday with a red, puffy eye, seeking saline. Yes, I am a thing of great beauty on my cut-price holiday. I’m also working on an acne collection that wouldn’t look out of place on the average teenager – assisted by a surprisingly well-stocked mini-bar, inhaling a Twist bar as I type – and a glut-of-gluten belly worthy of King Henry VII.
The Sprogs are having a blast. Yesterday – following Mummy’s tepid shower (“Ignore the cold tap, Husband, you won’t be needing it”) – they enjoyed a six-and-a-half-hour marathon at Questacon, with a Four And Twenty pie for lunch, a stirring jiggle in Gallery 3′s Newcastle earthquake reenactment room, and a couple of flying monkeys (an ingenious slingshot/stuffed toy) from the gift shop on the way out. Thank you Nonna and Pop for the souvenir money.
Oh, and I had a lovely, unexpected chat with a fellow school mum in Gallery 5. Ah, yes, such a small world. Lucky bitch has a two-bedroom holiday rental in the city for her brood.
Dinner was a Woolies barbecued chook and bread rolls from across the road, washed down with a bottle of white from the boot (ah, Rutherglen, how I miss you). Oh, and some Milo mousse for dessert. All class.
Today – due to gouting rain – a trip to Cockington Green to marvel at miniature villages clustered around ice-covered ponds – has been bumped for a visit to the National Gallery. Sprog 2 will be thrilled when she finds out, huge art fan that one. Dinner will be at the local bowlo – the $10 Wednesday dinner special – before a few hours in bed in front of the flat screen (quite loving a spot of commercial television after a year of iTunes downloads).
And then it’s home again. Surprisingly poorer from a holiday spent spare-room surfing and in Queanbeyan.
Queanbeyan. OK, maybe one word does sum it up.