We were a bit slow leaving Sydney, on Wednesday 24 February. Arrived at the War Memorial around 2.00pm. Went straight to the ‘Of Love and War’ exhibit, which was fascinating, and extremely touching. Also enjoyed the ‘over the front’ display in the Anzac Hall-they have the left boot of ‘the dirty Red Baron’! Amongst other things. The great war in the air film is well worth the visit alone. There were a lot more aircraft on display than our last visit (2 years ago) Paid a quick visit to the Unknown Soldier-I feel quite possessive towards him, having stood beside his previous resting place in France. Then it was time for the closing ceremony, the crowd was large and quiet-not always the case. A man asked me what we were all waiting for… A lone piper played ‘Flowers of the Forest’ After walking around the AWM gardens then to Pavilion On Northbourne-I’ve submitted a review, but basically the A/C was deafening and I wouldn’t stay there again in a fit. Canberra is-um, quiet, in the early evening.
Thursday we headed to the NGA, I’d bought tickets online, and I was rather disgruntled to be directed to ticketek, incurring a $3.95 booking fee. The queue was half way across the road bridge at 9.30 & the car park not opened. I joined it, and Himself went to look for on street park, which he found quite easily. That day the purchasing queue was relatively short. There were a couple of women going the length of the queues giving out booklet guides-so at least we had something to read By 10.00am the queue was twice the length and I wondered what it was going to be like inside. The doors opened and we all shuffled forward, the folded print outs were hand collected-no sign of automation. we paused to join a shorter queue and hired the audio guides-well worth the $ IMO. Just press the button number of the painting you want.
We went straight to room 3-for the Starry Night. Had it to ourselves for about 5 minutes, I have said elsewhere that we were in Arles last year so were very keen to revisit. We didn’t move around in any particular order-mainly headed for what was least crowded at the time. They were not issuing pass outs-we were told to come back in through the dedicated gift shop [my audio guide battery packed up so I had to go out] There were a few pieces that didn’t grab me-but overall I/we thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, I’ve been to the Musée d'Orsay, twice,but obviously, this collection wasn’t put together in this way there.
The crowds were nothing compared to some I've seen. People were generally very polite and mindful of others...
We spent about an hour and a half viewing the masterpieces, then I really learned about queing-20 bloody minutes in the dedicated gift shop to pay for some Van Gogh postcards! To rub salt into the wound, they opened another cash register and before I could react, I saw an old friend sprint from the back and triumphantly get in first! Ha ha
HUGE TIP-if you only want to buy the exhibition catalogue $39.99-they had it in the ordinary gift shop! No flipping queue in there-they didn’t have my postcards though.
That took so long; Himself moved our car, again having no problem parking on the street. We had coffee in the café-then a look at some other galleries including the Nolan Ned Kellys.
As we left around 1.00 there was no queue at all-but the Greyhound buses were pulling up….
We drove round to the National Archives, looked at the Stanley Bruce exhibition-mildly interesting. Had lunch in the little café there, also a look at the Snowy mountains exhibit-it was quite good, but we’d had enough kulchur by then. Feet and brains were tired,we had intended to visit the Mint but it will keep for another day. And so we set off for Albury, enroute to Melbourne.
I read yesterday that NGA tickets are to be timed – and I just checked for tomorrow.
Ticketek allocation is exhausted! Don’t know if that means you can buy at the gallery?Edited: 2:05 am, March 12, 2010