Call me slow in the uptake, but it took two ruined suitcases to make me realise that even expensive brands are not meant to race around with on cobblestones or pavements. The first victim was my chic Mandarina Duck "business cabin trolley" that had a stuck wheel, but was repaired on MD's expense ultimately. It's a long story that I'll spare you, but UPS definitely made a profit from it.
On Friday night, Mum and I walked to Sydney's Central Station where we caught the Greyhound bus to Canberra. We had contemplated taking a taxi, but then decided to walk. I should add that it's a 15 to 20 mins walk, which is not what suitcases are made for, see above. Two traffic lights away from the station, I noticed that my suitcase had got considerably heavier and felt like I was dragging along a petulant child. A quick check revealed that this was due to the fact that 50% of its "wheelage" had gone awol. Oh-oh. I told Mum to hold on to the mutilated suitcase and went to retrace my steps. Not far behind, I found the wheel on the pavement, just as a young man was about to kick it onto the street. I picked it up and tried to force it onto its metal...suspension (?)...whatever the technical term may be. Said metal was hot. Very hot. What must have happened was that the metal got so hot from the constant friction that the wheel's plastic got soft and the hole widened enough to make the wheel fall off. Unfortunately, I couldn't force the re-hardened and slightly deformed wheel back on again. At the Greyhound station, I asked an employee if he had a hammer, which he did, and tried using force to reunite suspension and wheel. Without success. So I tried the universally successful "blonde-helpless-foreign"-approach that also works well in Toronto
and the nice guy obliged and managed to press the wheel back on again. Alas, it wobbled and looked about to fall off again any time. Not keen on having to carry the suitcase again and having it destroyed on our plane journeys, I decided to buy a new one in Canberra.
The nation's capital is not exactly a shopping mecca, but we eventually got lucky at the department stores and after some comparison I settled for a somewhat bigger, but still very lightweight one by Antler, a brand not known in Austria, but apparently renowned. Mum wanted to pay for it and declare it a Christmas present and I didn't object. Still, I was sad to leave my trusty Travelite suitcase behind - we saw a lot together, the two of us.