Day 216, Year 2: Bundaberg to Brisbane
Date: Sunday, November 26, 2007
Weather: Beautiful in Bundaberg; Cloudy in Brisbane
Location: Enroute from Bundaberg, Australia to USA

I had my very first train ride today and loved it. What a comfortable way to travel and see the countryside. Paul and Marie took us and our mammoth luggage to the train station in Bundaberg. And that mammoth amount of luggage was our first hitch. We had read that the weight limit per bag on the train was greater than that on the airlines, so we weren’t concerned about our heavy bags. That was until the nice gentlemen in baggage check told us the limit was 25 kilos per bag for checked luggage.
Anything heavier, you have to load and unload yourself. So we got one of those wonderful hand carts and loaded the two huge suitcases weighing 32 kilos each, and the two duffel bags that were smaller but just as heavy. And then there were our backpacks which are always heavy and which have hiking boots tied to them this time so we will be ready for cold weather on arrival in Boston. We are both wearing sandals until then. We just can’t quite give in to shoes just yet. And then we both have
carry-ons. Paul was convinced that we will cause the air plane to be overloaded, but that’s tomorrow’s worry. We said our sad goodbye’s to Paul and Marie and then waited on the platform for the train. It was right on time and we were on our way to Brisbane. As we headed south, the countryside was flat sugar cane fields for as far as one could see. After we went through Maryborough, the flat sugar cane fields turned into rolling hills with cattle grazing everywhere. Once in a while we would
pass a volcanic cone which looked very out of place in the gently rolling countryside. But then Australia is a land of contrasts. The other contrast was the weather. Almost immediately after leaving Bundaberg, the sunny weather left us and it became totally overcast. So much for sunny Australia. We’ll have to wait for a few months to see that again.

We arrived in Bundaberg and unloaded that massive amount of luggage onto a hand cart and wheeled it out to the street to wait for a taxi. We were in a taxi loading area, but after waiting quite a while, we had no ride. We remembered that the train conductor had announced that there are courtesy phones in the train terminal for calling a taxi, so we did that and got a ride very quickly. We had reservations at the Kookaburra Inn and we were there within ten minutes. It was a cute little house on
residential street just a couple of blocks up the hill from downtown. The Kookaburra is small backpacker and the price was certainly right. Of course, our room was downstairs, which meant lugging all of the luggage down narrow stone stairs outside the house. And of course, our room was at the far end of a stone walkway. So much for heavy luggage!

We got settled in and then walked downtown. Amazingly, we were drawn to the waterfront. You’d think we might get enough of water, but I guess not. Brisbane is on a river and there is wonderful ferry system that you can hop on and go to major stops up and down the river. We hopped on and went to an area across from downtown where we had been told there was a lagoon. Actually, it is a huge city park with a man-made lagoon and city beach. It is currently being renovated, but we enjoyed a walk
on the boardwalk and the flowering trees and plants in the park. The museum was just a stone’s throw away, but we were running out of time and had to take the ferry back across to the main downtown area before it got too dark. Queen Street is the main street in Brisbane and it is a walking mall. We were there just as the stores were closing and the mall was packed with people. We got to see the very last bit of the Brisbane Christmas tree being erected by a crane (obviously a fake tree) and we
walked the street enjoying the sights. We actually walked all the way through the downtown and on to Chinatown for dinner. It was a quick tour of Brisbane so we will have to plan more time there on our way back to Bundaberg in a few months.

Tomorrow morning we check into Brisbane International, fly to Sydney on Quantas, and then have a quick change to a United flight to San Francisco and then Boston.