|In Finland we call this the Christmas Star.|
|Thanks to the subtropical climate, flowers are always in bloom in Brisbane, even in the winter!|
Then there's the traffic. In Australia they drive on the wrong side of the road. Sure some might argue that there are no wrong sides, only right ones. Not here. Thank God I don't need to drive here, because it would be seriously confusing. Even walking across the road is difficult, because I need to remember to look right first and then left, not the other way around, like I'm used to. Another thing about traffic is public transportation. I haven't really noticed this yet myself, but I've been told that schedules are never correct. There are different times online, and even at the bus stop. There they have a display and a printed timetable, but there are different times on them. And the ones on the display do not seem to be actual gps times. Well, luckily where we live, in Greenslopes, the buses come quite often, so it's not too bad.
|Look out, trees might attack your car. Wait, what?|
If you don't want to get into all that hectic traffic and just wish to enjoy the river breeze, it is also possible to hop on the city cat. Established in 1975, the city cat basically is a public transportation boat that operates on the Brisbane River. Ir's great! The price is the same as for the bus and you get to enjoy the city from a completely different point of view. It is also quite quick, at least in comparison to those in Venice and Budapest.
People and food
My two favourite parts about traveling - as you know - are meeting new people and eating good food. In addition to the whole bunch of people that I got to know during my flights, I've been lucky enough to meet quite a lot of Australians, thanks to Evannette's big group of dancing friends. The social being that I am, I have naturally also talked to people basically everywhere. Ethnically Australia is very mixed. In addition to travelers from all over the world, there are a lot of foreign people living here, as well as Australians with roots from other countries. There are a lot of Asians, which is not very surprising, since Asia is the closest continent. Anyway, everyone here is really friendly and helpful. People seem genuinely interested in who you are, where you are from and what you do. People can just start speaking to you randomly, which is great, but feels a bit unusual being a Finn. I do love it though! My second evening here was my Evannettes' dance partners' last one before going back to Finland, so a group of dancing friends threw him a farewell dinner, which at the same time turned into a welcome dinner for me. I was overwhelmed! It was amazing to come to a group of people I didn't know and still feel so welcomed. It was just fantastic!
|Good food and amazing people!|
And naturally the food was delicious! We went to a thai restaurant where everyone ordered their own meals and then we shared, so you could try different things. Here in Brisbane it is quite common to go out for dinner with a big group of friends, which I think is great! The cost for eating out in a restaurant differs quite a bit, but in general you can say that it is a tad cheaper than in Finland, but not a lot. Just like back home, the prices naturally depend on where you eat. The big city that it is, Brisbane naturally has a lot more variety than any Finnish city. There is a restaurant at every corner, and most of them have terraces, because people love to eat outside. Just like any city, some parts of Brisbane are cheaper and some more expensive, but I haven't quite figured out yet as to where you can get the best food for the best price. West End seems to be quite nice and there are many cozy restaurants and cafés there. Cafés are everywhere though. Lots and lots of small, charming places, with wonderful personal flair, but so far only one place where you can smoke shisha. Coffee (read espresso) is better than in Finland (except for Signora Delizia), but not as good as in Italy. The food scene is very mixed. You can find almost any kind of food, from Japanese to Argentinian and everything in between, just have your pick. Oh, and kangaroo steaks are delicious!
|The cutest café in West End!|
|The Farmer's market is held in the City every Wednesday.|
|The Australasian Darter.|
|The Australian White is hanging out at the Bogoda.|
|More wildlife at the Museum of Brisbane.|
All in all my first week here has been quite amazing. My first impressions of Brisbane are very positive and I have had the chance to explore quite a bit, but at the same time not packing my time with activities, so I have also been able to relax and take it easy, what vacation should be all about. I have about two and a half weeks to go, and I will surely keep myself busy. I'm hoping to catch some waves at Surfer's paradise and Byrone Bay, see some whales and dolphins at Fraser Island, go for a hike a bit inland and much more, so stay tuned!
|The Queenslander, the typical house in the Queensland area. Why? Stay tuned to find out!|
|The beautiful Story Bridge connects Kangaroo Point and Fortitude Valley.|
|Streets Beach at South Bank.|
|The beautiful auditorium at Brisbane City Hall.|