Australia & NZ 2011 (24 March)

The apartments we stayed at in Canberra were amazing. I was in charge of organising accommodation for a bunch of Sydney people and after a bad experience (paying $90 per night for an average hotel room with old carpets) and a bit of online research (mainly Lonely Planet) I decided to play it safe and book at Aria Hotel. We got a special group rate thanks to a friend, and got an extra bed in two of the rooms, so the cost per person per night ended up being around $65. Not bad for a fully equiped apartment with new appliances and all the frills.

Additionally, we were entitled to use the facilities of The Pavillion Hotel, just behind Aria. That morning I went to the gym there but unfortunately it was not what I was expecting. It had 4 old pulley machines, a bike, an elliptical, and a treadmill. Not a single dumbbell. I stayed anyway, to try to burn off some travel calories.

We hadn’t bought anything for having breakfast at the apartments, so we walked under the rain to Tilley’s, pretty much the only eatery in the vicinity of the Buddhist centre. That day I was in sweet craving mood, all I wanted was a big bowl of fruit salad but they didn’t have anything similar. I chose the muesli instead, a homemade blend of oats, dried fruits, toasted seeds and nuts, with sides of plain yoghurt and cinnamon-berry compote with cold milk.

The serving was huge. I wasn’t expecting that and certainly I didn’t need all the calories (remember the pizzas I had the night before?) but like a good Third World girl I finished it all.

Tilley's - Muesli

Muesli ($9.90)

Carina and Sandra had poached free range eggs, which looked pretty good. It seems that the two slices of sourdough (from Brasserie Bread, by the way) were too much because both of them left some.

Tilley's - Free range eggs, poached served with hollandaise with mushrooms

Poached free range eggs, served with hollandaise and mushrooms ($14.50)

I had also a skim latte and I must say it’s better than most coffees I’ve had in Canberra.

Tilley's - Skim latte

Skim latte ($3.80)

After the morning lecture we went back to Tilley’s for lunch (did I mention it’s the only decent restaurant in that area?). At this stage it pretty clear I needed something light, more specifically a salad. The roast beetroot salad sounded good to me: slow roasted organic beets tossed amongst mixed leaves, goats feta, Spanish onion, cucumber, finished with aged balsamic and roasted pinenuts. It was indeed good, but it didn’t arrive with pinenuts. I don’t know why I didn’t complain, perhaps I was too busy chatting with the girls.

Tilley's - Roast beetroot salad

Roast beetroot salad ($18.50)

Carina ordered the smoked salmon open sandwich, with lemon dressed rocket, cucumber, capers and cream cheese. Classic combo, hard to get it wrong.

Tilley's - Smoked salmon open sandwich

Smoked salmon open sandwich ($15.50)

Dinner was included with the price of the course we were attending, and served in the backyard of the centre. It was a vegetarian Thai curry (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, texturised soy) with rice and chips. It was terrible. Not the worst meal ever, but not as good as it could have been. I guess I should have expected it, given the average quality of food in Canberra.

Vegetarian Thai curry, chips and rice

Vegetarian Thai curry, chips and rice

1/94 Wattle Street
Lyneham ACT 2602
(02) 6247 7753

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