I have yet to speak about my impressions of Brisbane as a city.
In some ways my impressions may well be unbalanced after only sharing one day in Sydney and no time in Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, Canberra and Cairns. Sydney did not impress me as much as I thought it would, but I do not think i gave it a chance.
Entry into Brisbane is like any other modern city with its maze of entry and circling freeways, ramps, underpasses and overpasses in its fight to manage traffic flow along with modern initiatives of mass public transport such as many buses, light railway trams and frequent commuter trains. Management of people both in residence and in business is through a cluster of very high hi-rise buildings.
Viewing both the traffic and people flow I must admit that as much as I generally do not like cities I think Brisbane administrators and planners have done a remarkable job. I love the bright happy sandstone blocks that have been used for the construction of most high buildings which surprisingly connect and flow well with the older colonial style architectures. There is a remarkable feel of clean-ness and lack of clutter here. However, the most recent built buildings are of the hideous all glass tower structures and I hope this is not now a trend. They just do not fit and risk causing Brisbane to loose its identity and become a clone of other world cities.
The surroundings of Brisbane are very picturesque with its rolling hills and uncluttered communities. From my apartment window here I can see a lovely flow of nature, trees and flowers that roll with the eye from the distance to the centre of the city. I wonder if planners planned this or whether this is a coincidental achievement. What ever the reason it does enhance some peace, relaxation, healing and balance to what could become a tense and volatile culture. I am impressed, and relieved!
As a tour operator in Ireland one of the challenges I receive is the pricing of hotels in Ireland that I am told are far too expensive. Having now experienced hotels in the USA and Australia I am surprised to learn that Ireland provides exceptional value in hotel pricing. To start with actual pricing of guest houses and hotels in the USA and Australia are quite level with hotel pricing in Ireland when currencies are converted and aligned. Actually, Australia is a bit more expensive. This means ireland is of better value when we align hotel rates to the income levels of people in the USA and Australia.
So, I can now advise travellers from USA that when they come to Ireland hotel rates are the same as back home and travellers from Australia can learn that hotel rates in Ireland are a bit cheaper than home.
Now where Ireland is ahead is savings with the cost of extras.
Laundry service in USA we found averaged about $20, meaning €15 or €16. In Australia this service is a staggering $50 to $100 or €25 to €50. In Ireland this seems to range from free to €10.
Internet service in the USA ranged from $5 to $20 a day, meaning €3 to €16 a day. In Australia this is a staggering $20 to $40 a day, or €10 to €20 a day for what is often slow service while in Ireland this is only free to €5 a day.
Evening meals in USA are good value, though, with a good three course meal from $25 to $50, or €20 to €40 euros. In Australia this is $80 to €160, or €40 to €80 while in ireland €30 to €70.
Transport in the USA and Australia is about 25% cheaper than in Ireland with car rental and guided tour transport but public transport about the same.
All in all, I have discovered that people of USA and Australia can still afford a vacation in Ireland compared to a home based vacation if they are guided the right way. Ireland is not as expensive as they think or interpret it to be, especially with the current $US 1.37 to the euro exchange rate, the best for USA visitors for about two years. This is what I aim to serve with Celtic Ways .
This was an unexpected extra Blogcard today and i look forward to publishing Brisbane part four on Friday or Saturday