Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I'm British: Where's the bunyip?

This week I became more than a little excited at the prospect of meeting a real-life bunyip in Canberra's zoo.

Unfortunately for me, I'd been tricked, and my eagerness was quickly replaced by that very same feeling which hit me when I first learnt the truth about the dreaded dropbears.

You may sympathetically 'lol' at this silly Brit believing in such things. But, after spending the last three months getting acquainted with the downright bizarre wildlife that hangs about over here, I no longer know what to believe.

My boyfriend and I already learnt that possums are not large squirrels and do actually exist in residential streets. Echidnas? Okay so we are yet to see one in real life, but from pictures, they look like a hedgehog's rather terrifying older brother.

Yes we know a thing or two about pigeons, but cockatoos and parrots casually flying outside our apartment? It's another world. And that's not even mentioning the weird and wonderful creepy crawlies that according to rumour, enjoy lurking underneath the toilet seat waiting to pounce on British bottoms.

So, Aussies, I've been let down by the bunyip. But, let me warn you about the dreaded Loch Ness Monster spotted regularly in deepest darkest Scotland. Be afraid.

Mourning mythical creatures has only been one part of this week in your nation's capital. There's been exploring to do, and we only have about 11 weeks left to do it.

So, believing the hype surrounding in , we decided it would only be fair to indulge in a coffee and a muffin (above). It's a great place - you don't need me to tell you that - and I thoroughly enjoyed dabbling in a bit of 'hipster' watching as we tucked in. Sadly for me, the mocha was too grown up and not enough to satisfy that pesky sweet tooth of mine, but I'm sure for serious coffee lovers it would have been divine.

And to justify our sweet treats, we strolled around Lake Burley Griffin; stopping by the for a bit of culture. is full of curiosities and definitely worth a visit. Plus, it's free.

I cringe every time I fall into the 'Brit talking about the weather' stereotype but it was SUCH a treat being able to explore the lake with the sun on our pale and pasty faces. I've been waiting for that magic day when Canberra is finally warmer than the UK, and thank goodness we've now been able to crack it. I hear it's all uphill from here.

As we continued our lake-side walk talking excitedly about the weather, we stumbled across the(above). It was bizarre; like we'd fallen into a film set, but we enjoyed looking at some of the huge and beautiful sculptures you don't expect to come across on a casual walk. Some giant drums and a giant balancing silver object (you can tell I'm no art student) were particularly lovely.

And once we'd worked up an appetite, we stopped off at in Civic for pizza (above). It was absolutely delicious, and the best bit? When we realised they hadn't charged us for our drinks we owned up (I know, we were feeling saintly), and for our honesty, the drinks were on the house. It's just a shame that in our amazement, we walked out of the restaurant forgetting to leave a tip. Looks like we can never show our faces in there again.

So, on reflection, what has Canberra taught me this week? When it comes to Australian wildlife, expect more than squirrels but less than bunyips; it's possible to make delicious vegan cupcakes; and Canberra does function at more than 20 degrees.
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