On Saturday night, I met up with two Brisbane/Gold Coast girls that my parents randomly met in Texas. My parents were traveling for my mom's job and the Brissy girls were traveling all around the U.S. at the time. Story has it that the girls were climbing on statues that were not supposed to be climbed on when they bumped into my parents. My mom called me right after they parted ways and told me she met two girls from Brisbane that "spoke funny, but were very friendly." Leave it to my mom to get their phone numbers and email addresses. But hey, if it eased her mind for me to get in contact with Rebecca and Krystle, then I was on board.
Back to the story. So I met up with Rebecca and Krystle on Saturday night and they cooked me a traditional Aussie dinner consisting of kangaroo meat, lamb, pumpkin, mint peas, and pavlova for dessert. I'm always down to try new things so I was eager to try kangaroo. Overall, not bad. It's kind of like steak..
After dinner, Rebecca took me to my first Australian concert: Ball Park Music at Tivoli in the Valley. It was fun to experience the concert with her because her passion for their music was so apparent. Here's a taste of what I heard last night:
On Sunday, I had my best touristy day in Brisbane thus far; I wouldn't change one thing about it. I started off the day trapezing. See video below:
I'm pretty sure I could do that all day! I felt so free as I swung through the air. I guess all those years in gymnastics paid off :)
After trapezing, Eileen and I went to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Some of the highlights included holding a koala, feeding a kangaroo, and seeing a tasmanian devil and platypus in person. When the zookeeper first put the koala in my arms, she nonchalantly mentioned, "This is Violet. Violet tends to be a diva. Make sure to keep your hands still and she won't get angry." Awesome! Just before that, they tried to give me a different koala but the koala wasn't cooperating due to her need for a man, nicely put.
To be honest, I'm glad I ate kangaroo Saturday night before going to Lone Pine yesterday. It may have created an image in my head hard to shake otherwise. As I held out my hands to feed the kangaroos, I couldn't help but wonder where exactly that meat came from on the animal that I ate on Saturday.
After Lone Pine, Eileen took me to Mt. Coot-tha for gorgeous views overlooking Brisbane:
On our way down from Mt. Coot-tha, we ventured over to Queensland University. Eileen knows me pretty well, so she drove me around campus telling me all about the history and significant events that occurred on the grounds (Gardisil vaccination, anyone?). I love higher education and am a huge supporter of gaining knowledge both inside and outside the classroom if you have the means and the drive. I love traveling and visiting universities around the world. However, doing this points out one thing time and time again: I wish I would have gone away to school. I stayed local for both undergrad and graduate school (except for studying abroad in England and Ireland). There are so many great universities out there. When I have kids one day, I hope they have the opportunity to attend a school outside of Illinois, maybe even outside the country.
The final stop on our eventful day was New Farm. From this area of the city, Eileen and I hopped on a CityCat and rode it to South Bank for dinner. Here's a view of Story Bridge from the CityCat:
The sun was just starting to set as we made our way off the CityCat to Little Grey Street in South Bank, Brisbane. This area of the city is known for its alfresco dining, so we chose an Italian place on the corner that had heaps of gluten-free options. We sat outside, people-watched, sipped wine, and recounted the successful day we just had. Today was one of those days I wish I could bottle up and save forever. I've been having more and more of those days over the past couple years and they are especially apparent while traveling.