Canberra is a city that seems to arouse strong emotions in people. Whilst a small proportion of the population may simply think it's 'okay' or 'nice', the vast majority appear to either love it or hate it. I certainly know plenty of people in both camps!

Me? I am firmly in the 'love it' category!

I lived in Canberra from 1999 to 2002. I moved there from Melbourne to take up a position with a large government department as part of their graduate program. I stayed for four years, working in a variety of jobs and work areas, and living in a couple of different suburbs. Aside from the expected pangs of homesickness for my family (and the stress of maintaining a long-distance relationship), I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Canberra, and would happily live there again.

Let me tell you some of the things that I love about Canberra (yes, another list!) :)
  • the excellent job and career opportunities
  • the beautiful outdoor spaces to explore and enjoy
  • visiting national institutions for free - Parliament House, the National Gallery, the War Memorial, the National Library, the National Botanic Gardens, etc.
  • blue skies in winter
  • the weekend markets at Fyshwick, Kingston and Gorman House
  • being close to everyone and everything else in Canberra
  • the high quality restaurant scene
  • walking or running around Lake Burley Griffin (exercise with a view!)
  • regular fireworks events (just about every public holiday)
  • the beautiful floral displays at Floriade each year
  • only 2 hours to the coast / the snow / Sydney
  • walking up Mt Ainslie and enjoying this view as a reward:
View from Mount Ainslie (2004)

But the main reason I love Canberra is the friendships that I formed while living there. Many of my closest friends are people that I first met during the graduate program in 1999. Some now live in Melbourne or Sydney, but several are still in Canberra. They have established careers, bought houses and put down roots. And I am always happy to visit Canberra so that I can see them and renew my connnections with them.

On that note, Tim and I were in Canberra a couple of weekends ago, and had the great pleasure of catching up with good friends over dinner, drinks and coffees. We visited the Canberra Museum and Gallery, and enjoyed lovely meals at the cafes in Canberra's CBD. And given the season, we also went along to Floriade - always enjoyable! I've posted some of my photos to Flickr, and you can view them HERE.