Holiday Inn Express, Brisbane

As my European holiday is about to start, I have taken an award night through IHG at the new Holiday Inn Express, Brisbane. Brand new, only 8 weeks since opening, we found the room adequate for a budget hotel and nicely styled inside. It was a short walk from Central train station and not hard to find. The views were as you would expect from an inner-city location.

It wasn’t just the room that was stylishly decorated. The Holiday Inn Express model is that every booking comes with a free breakfast and the dining hall was impressively styled. I didn’t get a photo unfortunately, but the checkin-counters and bar area shared the same space, allowing for minimal staff as they operated both stations. I found it quite a smart design.

We had a small bite to eat before heading to the airport and walked away impressed with the experience. It’s certainly a welcome addition to Brisbane.

Cricket at the BGC

Cricket today at the Gabba was a lot of fun, despite the fact England were hopeless. As with yesterday, we had two tickets for the general seating area (though premium seats I reckon) and two in the Brisbane Gabba Club. The seats in the BGC were acquired by Colin through his reciprocal membership of the MCC, but he couldn’t join us so the second seat went to Peter today; I took it yesterday.

I was sat with Kim in the general seating area, though by lunchtime we were both in the BGC bar, and by mid-afternoon as England looked set to lose we had 7 in between 2 tickets. Not bad going, and our group really added to the crowd in the bar. Lots of laughs, lots of drinks, except for me as I was driving Peter and dad home.

The afternoon took a funny turn when talk turned to when Clarke would declare. Everyone (group of 7 – 5 Brits, 2 Aussies) had a bet, resulting in some Brits actually cheering Australia on to score more so they could win the pool. Ultimately, Kim won, choosing the highest of declarations that was a good 30 below what the declaration actually was.

Ultimately, we had dinner at the Norman again and I chose not to have the vegetarian meal again. The salmon was nicely done, so I was happy.

Towards the end of the drive home the rain came bucketing down, too late for the English.

Headed Home

I think we all had a good sleep last night, in slightly comfort beds, separate rooms with a fan and despite the aircon not being overly powerful, liveable temperatures. It certainly wasn’t freezing this morning, but it was baking outside.

Last night I’d tried to take photos of the skies above, littered with stars, but even with a 15-second exposure on a point and shoot camera I simply got a black canvas. I did slightly better with the moon, constantly disappearing behind far off cloud. Unfortunately none of the photos came out to the point I’d want to upload them. Instead, here’s a quiet street this morning.

A street in Longreach

Dad had ventured out early to refill the car and buy some breakfast, so when he got back we had a home cooked bacon and poached eggs, which all up cost less than one portion of bacon and eggs at the Roadhouse across the street.

Following breakfast mum dropped us off at the Qantas Founders Museum, before heading into town I believe to look at art galleries. Sze Sze, dad and I took in the museum very quickly before heading out on the tour of the 747-200 Classic, VH-EBQ. Admittedly I don’t think they had the full experience in the museum, being in such a rush, but I’d been before and had spent two days absorbing it so there wasn’t much new for me inside.

Outside however was a different story, with the museum recently taking delivery of a Catalina, parked where the DC-3 was last year. The DC-3 was also therefore open to be looked inside, so I had some new experiences. Personally I’d like to see a Short C Class flying boat, but with only 42 built I doubt there’s any left, plus how would they land it at Longreach?

I think Sze Sze and dad enjoyed the tour of VH-EBQ, especially as it was a lot more hands-on and listening to facts and figures than reading. It was more interactive I should say. Having done a more in-depth tour last year I pretty much knew it all already and was helping to point out things to Sze Sze and dad.

Dad in a 747 engine cowling Sam and Sze Sze in a 747 engine cowling Qantas Empire Airways DC-3

Thankfully the tour finished reasonably close to on time and we made our way back to the museum and McGinness’s Cafe to meet mum. She’d already checked-in the bag and was having a cup of tea, enjoyable on an already hot day, and still heating up. Likewise was the aircon.

Soon we were in the air and bidding farewell to Longreach and the outback. It’s been an enjoyable holiday, something different, but perhaps best done when towns haven’t closed down for summer.

The flight landed in Brisbane on time and we were quickly out and on our way down the motorway home. One more sleep at home for the year.