I spent this St. Patrick's Day exploring the city of Brisbane, Australia! It has been on my list of cities that I want to travel to, and since Autumn and I had no plans for the day, we made a spur of the moment decision to just go. Everyone had been telling us how easy it was to get there so we figured, "why not?!" Brisbane is located about an hour north of Ashmore. We figured that we would take this opportunity to, if nothing else, learn how exactly to get there.
We thought it would be simple, but boy were we wrong! We woke up at 7am to get an early start and hopefully have a full day in Brisbane. We left our apartment with enough time to walk to the bus stop and catch the bus to the train station. As we were sitting and waiting for it, we saw a bus pull up on the other side of the road.. our bus!, and before we could even react, it was pulling away just as fast! We certainly would have caught it if we had just been on the right side of the road. However, I am still not sure how you know which side of the street a bus is going to pick up and drop off. We looked into when the next bus was going to come, and since it was a Saturday, it wasn't coming again for another two hours. We agreed that we couldn't sit around waiting for it and waste all that time, so we decided to call a cab to take us to the Nerang train station. When we got there, we weren't sure exactly what to do. We got in line to ask if all we needed to do was swipe our 'go cards' (which we had done) or if we needed to buy a ticket for the train. Once we got to the front of the line and asked what train to catch to get to Brisbane, the man smiled and pointed to the train that was right next to us that was just leaving! So now we missed the bus and the train by seconds. All we could do though was find the humor in it and laugh. We had to wait a half hour for the next train to Brisbane. Once we caught it, it took about an hour, making fairly frequent stops along the way. The last stop was at a town close to Brisbane; everyone had to get off and then you were bussed to your end destination. We were let off at Central Station. At this point we were tired, hungry, and feeling a little defeated, but as soon as we took a look around, we realized how awesome the city looked and we became super excited again! We were let off right by a memorial building with an eternal flame inside. There were also lots of statues around this area; it was really pretty. We decided to grab some lunch and a coffee at a cute cafe across the street. After the perfect pick me up, we asked to be pointed in the direction of shopping! We made our way to the main streets and we spent the afternoon browsing through numerous outdoor shops, as well as stores inside the mall.
It was really cool that we were exploring Brisbane on St. Patrick's Day because the city was filled with festive people, dressed in green, celebrating the Irish culture. There were Irish music performances going on as well. It gave the city a really cool vibe.
The weather turned on us later in the afternoon, and making our way back in the rain was not fun. We had to catch a bus to get back to the train station, and then catch the train back to the Gold Coast. Since it was raining, and "the tracks were wet", we had a very long delay on the way back. What should have taken about an hour, ended up taking two hours. Since we were so delayed getting back to Nerang train station, the busses were no longer running. We had no choice but to call a cab again to get home. I don't think this would have normally been a problem, but since there was a local Rugby game that evening and since it was also St. Patrick's Day, there were a lot of people waiting for cabs. It also wouldn't have been a problem if the cabs were consistently coming and going, but none were coming at all. We called a couple of times for one, as did other people, but no cabs were really coming through. After over an hour's wait, we finally got one!
We ran into unexpected delays and setbacks, and some bad weather, but we still had an amazing day and I am so glad that we went! This spur of the moment day trip gave us an experience, some good laughs, and the chance to explore a new city. We plan on going back to Brisbane again and staying for a few days and nights so that we can see and do more of the city. Now we know how to get there and back, and hopefully we won't run into the same problems next time; although it made for a funny story and great memory :)