Monthly Archives: April 2015

Brisbane – taking a rest

by Dani
3 February 2015:
When we arrived in Brisbane early in the morning, after 1 hour 50 minutes flight time, the sun was beaming at us again, gorgeous! We asked how we could travel into the city at the cheapest and then took the Airtrain, a train with which you can go for about 17 AUD directly from the terminal to the city center. At the Roma Street station, we got out of the train and walked the last 500 meters, heavily loaded with our backpacks and numerous bags, to our apartment hotel Meriton Service Apartment on Herschel Street. Since we arrived so early, our apartment was not ready yet, so we dropped only our bags and walked into the city. Originally we considered whether we should buy a ticket for public transport in Brisbane (here "go card"), similar to the Sydney Opal card. But when we noticed on the way to the small city center that we could easily reach everything by foot, we rejected the idea. There is also a free water taxi in Brisbane called CityHopper, which stops at various stations and banks on the way from Sydney Street to North Quay. This is also perfect for a sightseeing tour on the water. When we arrived in the city center, we strolled through the main shopping street, Queen Street, and discovered between many modern shops and skyscrapers also some pretty old office and commercial buildings with ornate frontage. After a while Michael sat down in a cafe while I was strolling through the shops - and of course found a few things in a kind of Australian H&M. Fortunately, sale had started ...:-). After a nice lunch at a restaurant in the pedestrian zone, we walked back to our hotel in the early afternoon. On our way back we passed a large courthouse, which was very modern and looked impressive. Here it certainly made more fun to work than at our sometimes very fuggy courts in Germany. When we arrived at the hotel, our apartment was ready to move in. We went to the 20th floor and were amazed when we entered our apartment. We had booked online at a bargain price a beautiful, large and modern 2-bedroom apartment for three nights, with huge glass fronts in all rooms, which offered stunning views at the skyscrapers - especially at night when all the lights were on. We were absolutely happy to have such a wonderful stay for the next few days!! As we were exhausted, we spent this afternoon relaxing in our apartment. We only wrote a little in our travel diary and saved photos. In the evening we went only around the corner to a bottle shop to buy beer for our dinner. Here, alcohol cannot be bought in the supermarket, but only in strictly separated  shops, so-called bottle shops that only offer alcohol. In the shop it felt as if there was a temperature of 0 degrees and the girl behind the counter was wrapped in a thick anorak. There I could NEVER work. We bought our beer in a few seconds, marched back to our apartment and ordered two Indians delicious dishes. It was a wonderfully relaxed evening, we had a cozy evening just watching TV! It was beautiful to have nothing to do and to spent just a "normal" night - almost like home - in Brisbane. It felt almost as if we lived here! Great!! 4 February 2015: The next morning we had breakfast in a small cafe next to the hotel. I ordered a muffin with raspberries, a green tea and a Greek yogurt with passion fruit. Michael ordered a warm croissant with ham and egg, also a Greek yogurt and a double espresso. Not much, but we paid about 25 AUD. Brisbane was even a little more expensive than Sydney - at least it seemed so. After breakfast we got changed again because it was not as warm as it looked before, but then went into the city. Today, the project was announced "glasses for Dani". I could not stand any more to wear the contact lenses for 12 hours a day, to take them off in the evening at the latest and then did not see much. Since "WE" had unfortunately forgotten my glasses in New Zealand on a park bench, I needed to find new ones. The problem was that we were only two more days in Brisbane. We headed determined to the first optician whom we had found on the internet. But unfortunately it would took him about two weeks to get the glasses ready. So we went to the next optician - but again we had no luck, here it would take a week. However, we were given the advice to go to another optician who was also in striking distance and was known for fast production. Ten minutes later we were standing in the small store of LensPro in the Myer Centre in Queen Street Mall (www.lenspro.com.au), a large shopping mall. In fact, I was able to get a pair of glasses within half an hour - MADNESS!!! I had, however, still do a sight test and choose a nice, not too expensive frame - which is not so easy without glasses ;-)! When I had done both, the optician made my lenses in a small optical lab in front of us, with the correct diopter, anti-reflective etc. And then there was even an offer that I could get a second frame for free and only had to pay the lenses. Wow! Since "WE" at any time could lose my new glasses again, I accepted the offer and got my second pair of glasses. Finally I could see properly again! Yay! Bespectacled and happy we strolled to a market in front of the City Council and opposite the Queen Street. We walked around prying and watched the different booths that offered other things than at home in our markets, especially other vegetables and fruit. Here, healthy food, salads and dishes were also offered a lot. We drank some juice from sugar cane that tasted a bit weird and chose a mixed salad with bulgur, couscous, hummus and vegetables, which was delicious. Then we went to the pier of the free CityHopper, which we had discovered the day before. We were lucky and after a short wait a CityHopper boat approached and picked us up. We drove the entire distance up to North Quay and looked at each pier to decide what we wanted to see today or tomorrow. Overall, the trip took about an hour and we saw from the water beautiful corners of Brisbane. Michael did not see much, since he had fallen asleep after the first ten minutes, but liked the photos very much afterwards ;-). Finally we got out at the pier South Bank 3 and explored the South Bank Parklands, a huge public park with restaurants, a beach and an artificial swimming lake, various gardens and small shops that had been created on the former Expo site at the request of the population. We walked through this beautiful green oasis in Brisbane, sat in the Stoke bar (www.stokehousebrisbane.com.au) and enjoyed the sun. It was very relaxing! In the evening we walked back to the hotel and bought some Japanese dinner that we ate while sitting cosily again in front of the TV. 5 February 2015: The next day we had no desire for action neither, but wanted to relax at the South Bank Parklands again. We looked this morning for a cheaper café for breakfast, but got footsore not finding anything and ended up ultimately, irritated and hungry, in an even more expensive café :-(. After breakfast we packed our bathing stuff and walked to the local city beach, where we spent the afternoon with sunbathing and swimming. Only when it became colder in the evening, we walked back. Today, on our last night in Brisbane, we wanted again to go out and have dinner at a restaurant. We took the CityHopper to Eagle Street Pier, where we got out and show us walked down the promenade with its stylish restaurants and bars and decided to try the steak house Pony Dining (www.ponydining.com.au/pony_brisbane). Unfortunately, it had become a bit cold and we were wrongly dressed, so that we quickly ate our excellent steak teeth chattering although we were sitting on a beautiful terrace overlooking the Brisbane River. But we only wanted to pay quickly and to go back to the hotel. Surely, we could have sat down inside the restaurant, but there we would certainly have died in ten minutes of hypothermia because the air conditioning was set at freezer temperature. So we had enough time to pack our stuff, later pressed our noses at the large windows of our apartment and enjoyed the city lights. 6 February 2015: Unfortunately, today was our departure. But the next adventure was waiting - today we would pick up our camper. Michael grabbed some breakfast from the cafe next to the hotel. Then we checked out and went, again loaded as two mules, to the station where we caught the train to Northgate station. On one hand, we were sad to leave our beautiful apartment, on the other hand, we were looking forward to the tour with the camper. We wondered on the train, how our camper would look like. Hopefully not too shabby! The tension was rising ...!