Holbrook – where 400km away from the coast you will find a submarine

Yesterday I drove from Melbourne back to Canberra to be with Manface for a few more days before I start my course in Melbourne next week.

If you’ve driven to Melbourne on the Hume Highway you will know about the big submarine that randomly sits in the middle of Holbrook. To give you an idea of how odd seeing a submarine in Holbrook is, I should explain… Holbrook is an inland Australian town of about 1300 people, nowhere near the coast (probably a good 400km inland).

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The submarine in Holbrook

So how did a submarine end up in Holbrook?

Well as the story goes, Holbrook was originally called Germanton. During WW1 when Australia was at war in Europe against Germany, the town elders in Germanton decided that it would be best to change the name of the town. Around the same time, Lieutenant Norman Holbrook became the first Naval winner of the Victoria Cross when the submarine that he commanded sunk a Turkish Battleship. So Germanton decided to name the town in honour of ol’ Holbrook.

On return home to Australia, the then Commander Holbrook made several visits to the country town and in 1982 his widow donated his medals to the town. The town further strengthened its unlikely connection to the Australian submariner community by granting Freedom of Entry to the Shire in 1982 and 1996.

HMAS Otway’s fin was gifted to the town of Holbrook in 1995. However, the town of Holbrook had a greater vision and began to raise money to buy the whole submarine. Gundula Holbrook, Commander Holbrook’s widow donated $100, 000 to the town to enable the project to forge ahead. Eventually the town was able to purchase the outer skin of the above-the-water section of the submarine from a Sydney scrap yard. The structure was cut into sections and transported by truck down the Hume Highway to Holbrook where it was reconstructed in the place where it stands today.

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There’s a museum right next to the sub.

 

I haven’t actually stopped at the sight in years, so I thought I would yesterday. It is quite a comforting site for me. I remember passing it when I was a little girl and we would drive to Sydney to visit family, when I would drive home from uni (university) in the break between semesters. It was and still is a unique and odd feature which is now a constant in the otherwise boring (oaky fine, Australia is beautiful… but when you’re driving 100s of km the acknowledgement of its beauty is somewhat dulled) Australian landscape.

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And here’s a selfie of me mid-roadtrip passing through Holbrook

 

Our furniture got moved into the new apartment today and…

there is a little corner store that does a great coffee at 530am only 150m from my front door.

I don’t understand how despite a “Big ChuckOut” before we left Canberra, I still have three boxes of useless stuff that is now going to the trash.

ALL of the telecommunication/internet and utilities companies are sucky, I mean ALL of them. (Also what does “Naked” DSL even mean?”

my Tupperware can’t decide what cupboard to call home.

there is a lovely “Christmas” scented candle warding off the last tenant aroma in the lounge room.

one lamp is broken and one bookshelf is chipped.

there’s a nice bottle of wine (thanks Matt :D) in the fridge.

Manface will be in my space TOMORROW!!!!!! Yay!

New York New York

After visiting Colorado with the family, Manface and I headed up to NYC for New Years Eve.

Both Manface and I have been to NYC several times before so we weren’t particularly interested in the main tourist attractions. Instead we decided to spend more time just wondering about and taking in the city.

We spent one day walking around Brooklyn – I reckon we clocked 20km+ just roaming the streets and taking in the Brooklyn atmosphere. By the time we stopped at Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge, the line looked positively enticing as we were able to rest our weary feet for half an hour. I’ve decided that I would perhaps be more of a Brooklyn girl than a Manhatten girl if I lived in NYC. One day I would like to win the lotto, be granted a US visa, and to move to Brooklyn Heights. Oh how I love the USA.

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From the Brooklyn Bridge

 

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Well deserved pizza at Grimaldi’s

 

Susie (who lives down in Florida) came up for a couple of days to join us. She took us to see a production called “Sleep No More”. It was quite interesting. A performance loosely based on Macbeth, the actors performed throughout the McKittrick Hotel. The audience, wearing white masks was free to follow which actors interested them, to touch the props, the set, to truly immerse themselves in the performance. It was a rather unique experience.

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We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but here’s one from inside Sleep No More from vanityfair.com

I’ve always been turned off by the lines at the MOMA – still sad that I missed this exhibition, however we decided that this was the NYC trip where I was finally going to make it into the building. I’m glad we did – because one of my favourites was on display. My brother bought me a reproduction of Starry Night for my 21st Birthday – and whilst not unique in this view, I simply love it. The thing about Starry Night for me is not the painting itself but the artist. Ol’ Van Gogh was a sordid character of despair; riddled with his own demons and mental illness, he caused great harm to himself both emotionally and physically (the well known chopped off ear) – yet somewhere within he was able to produce artwork which has allowed millions to connect with him, in a way that he was probably never able to do in real person to person life. When I look at Starry Night, it reminds me of how alike we all are – and how perhaps with the right tools – we can all connect.

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I took this one because I really like the combination of colours in this picture. Also… side note – a little bit like Sleep No More, does anyone else simply love watching other people watch things? Galleries are just great for it.

 

For New Years Eve itself, Manface found a free bicycle riding event. It was kind of awesome. We headed out for dinner at about 8pm – stumbling upon a little restaurant in the Lower East. Through two glorious steaks we romanticised and reminisced about the year that was and eagerly set ourselves goals and plans for the year to come. Then we headed off (with only a small navigational/timing dispute) to Washington Square Park. We hired bikes from City Bike before meeting up with a bunch of New York bicycle riders. With police escort in tow we rode from Washington Square park, up 7th Ave to Central Park. One of the organisers was pulling a big boom box (powered by a car battery) to ensure we had beats along the way, and we waved and wished Happy New Year to all the Times Square goers on our way. We finished up at Belvedere Castle where Manface produce a nip of Makers Mark and we rung in the New Year dancing and watching the fireworks from the Castle Court.

Aside from that, we shopped, ate, and meandered our way throughout the city. I’ve decided that if… scratch that… when we live in NYC I’m going to make an annual tradition of walking the isle of Manhatten – across the Brooklyn Bridge and straight up Broadway till we hit the other side. Is that a thing? I’m sure it would be.

Oh I have it bad, I miss NYC already.

Christmas in Colorado

After a relaxing week in the warm Caribbean Belize, Manface and I headed to Colorado where we met up with his whole family for some Snowy Christmas fun.

We met up with the family in Denver for a night before heading out to the snowfields. I’d never been to a professional basket ball game before, so we got tickets to a Nuggets game.

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Blurry Selfies with Manface’s head chopped off at the B’Ball

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Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) Vs Caye Caulker

Prior to going to Belize, I spent a bunch of time trawling the internet to figure out which Island we should stay at. All roads pointed to either Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) or Caye Caulker. The problem was – how to decide between them both. All the online advice said that San Pedro was super relaxing but that Caye Caulker was even more so.

Not enough info for me!

In the end, I decided on both. 3 days in Ambergris Caye and 2 days in Caye Caulker – based on the idea that Ambergris Caye is bigger.

Here’s what I found on my recent trip. Continue reading

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Manface and I spent an awesome New Years in New York City!

We went out for a steak dinner just the two of us in the Lower East Side and then participated in a free bicycle-riding event. We hired bikes from Citibike and rode with a group of people from Washington Square Garden to Belvedere Castle in Central Park where we watched the fireworks. Continue reading