To get a good understanding of Australia’s convict history, visit Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks Museum. An UNESCO World Heritage site, the Hyde Park Barracks Museum shows how the convicts lived in the 19th century.
Until the U.S. won the American Revolution, England sent convicts to the American colonies. After the U.S. became independent, England had to find a new place to get rid of its convicts and with the recent exploration of Australia, that became the place.
At first convicts could live wherever they liked, but in the early 19th century the governor of Australia figured it would be better to put them in barracks. In 1819 the Hyde Park Barracks was completed and opened.
Over the years it was used to house convicts, Irish orphans, and poor women before becoming a court house. (For more history see: http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/hyde-park-barracks-museum)
The Hyde Park Barracks museum is a bright, well curated museum offering well designed exhibits that provide facts and narratives so that visitors get a good grounding in the history from a wide and personal perspective. You’ll learn about Bennelong, an aboriginal man who was friends with Australia’s first governor, Arthur Phillip and about a woman who managed the women’s dormitory while raising 14 children.
When you pay for your ticket, the clerk will offer you a free audio guide in the language of your choice, this guide enhanced the experience giving still more interesting insights into the history.
Admission: Adults $12, Families $30, Concession (not sure what that means) $8
On of the jewels in Suzhou’s crown is the Humble Administrator’s Garden. Suzhou has many, many terrific which were first designed in the 11th – 16th centuries and maintained (with varying care) to this day.
Visiting in December, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy a classical garden all that much. However, because the design is so harmonious, I found I immensely enjoyed strolling through the gardens. The underlying structure is ingenious so there’s beauty whether they’re seen in full bloom or with the stark beauty I saw in December. In fact, since the crowds don’t flock in the winter, I think my experience surpassed what I’d feel jostling with summer tourists by the busload.
From mid-April through October entrance fee is 70 rmb. From November 1 to April 15th, it’s 50 rmb.
The Buddha shown above is the showstopper at the Longmen Caves in Luoyang, Henan, China.
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Autumn Festival in China is next week so it’s time to make travel arrangements. The smart thing to do is to leave the country as in-country travel will be overcrowded, but we don’t have multiple entry visas, though we asked for them. Thus we’re here and this is the only vacation time so we need to make the most of it.
A friend and I decided to visit the Longmen Caves near Luoyang. They’re massive Buddhist sculptures carved into the sides of caves. That won’t take a week to see so we wanted to seek some sights in neighboring Kaifeng.
Last Wednesday I asked for the train tickets. In China you can’t buy tickets more than 10 days in advance. We planned to leave on the 30th. On Friday the Foreign Affairs assistant called from the travel agent. All the overnight sleeper cars were sold out. It’s an 11 hour ride to Kaifeng and more to Luoyang so sleeper makes the most sense. We asked for October 1. Sold out. The 2nd? Only hard seats. Really? Really.
Flying isn’t an option because there are no flights to Luoyang from Jinan. We’d have to go via Beijing or Shanghai, both of which are completely out of the way.
Well, okay. We don’t want to miss a chance to explore more of China. You’d think you might be able to to book the return ticket, but you’re wrong. Since it’s more than 10 days till the Saturday we want to return we have to wait till this Wednesday. Thus we live with that nagging question of can we return in time for school?
So we’ve got our hard seat tickets and await news on our return tickets. I’m praying for soft sleeper. Dare I?