There was great disappointment when we got off the Ghan in Adelaide. The souvenir shop had sold out of Ghan stubby holders and tea towels showing the trains route. Allthego looked around the shop two or three times for stuff but there wasn’t even a postcard! Lucky he got a Ghan postcard in Darwin. You could get jig saw puzzles, key rings, soft rubber train models, history of the Ghan books etc etc but no stubby holders or tea towels were to be had, maybe we can get them online later. So shaking our heads it was off to Adelaide city in a taxi and our hotel just off North Terrace, not far from the Torrens River. This has subsequently proved to be a great location, close to buses and trams to all parts. Now, I will not make comparisons to a certain establishment in Darwin except to say that in Adelaide we are at 40% of Darwin’s cost and it also includes breakfast! No more comparisons.
We had decided to ‘do’ Adelaide by avoiding dusty museums, over indulgent art galleries and old buildings by going to the natural environment. Looking around the town to appreciate it’s natural beauty, albeit some what manufactured since colonial times. The Torrens river flows through the city centre, ‘flow’ is a loose expression. In the centre of town it is a bit more like a lake, two weirs are at either end controlling water flow to keep the lake full year round. Various craft float around on the lake, it is a pretty setting with the City skyline as a backdrop and the Adelaide Oval dominating the other side of the river. Road and footbridges crisscross the river thereby providing walking and biking loops of varying lengths along the river. River Red Gums, gardens and grassed areas adorn each bank. We did strolls around the river bank taking in the river action and views. After European settlement the river banks were heavily eroded as the land was cleared and the area apparently became quite degraded. Prior to colonization the river was ephemeral, flowing strongly in the wet and then falling away to a series of billabongs in the dry times. During the late 1800s and into the 20th century various beautification schemes enhanced the environment.
We escaped one day up to Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills for a look around the old German heritage town. A very well maintained main street provided an insight into early settler life in the district. A highlight here was lunch. We thought we would have some schnitzels for lunch in one of the local hotels. Well they were enormous, the same hotel also promoted its metre long hot dog with German dressings. We avoided this. In these sort of towns you also find some curiosities. On the outside wall of the information centre was a photo reproduction of what was a 1920s scene, but the people were wearing masks. Allthego immediately thought that it was the time of the Spanish flu epidemic. But no, it was an artist having a bit of COVID ‘fun’. Very real though!
There was also a little trip down memory lane when we caught up with Ewin and Karen Davis for dinner one night. They are old friends from our Sydney days. We had last seen them when they came to Brisbane for EXPO 88, thirty three years ago! So there was much reminiscing about old times and others, as well as what was happening in our lives today.
I think one of the must dos in Adelaide is going to the Central Markets and having a look around the food halls. These are not unlike what we have seen and so like in Europe, particularly France. Great displays of produce, meats, cheeses, spices, bakery and pastry items and the list can go on. We had lunch here at an Algerian food bar. Allthego had a slow cooked lamb tagine, with prunes and nuts. Really good. Homealone had a slow cooked lamb and brown rice dish, also good. There were also big pans of paella simmering away enticing the taste buds of passers by. Great morning wandering around. We bought a few bits and pieces from the stalls and put together a ploughman’s dinner for that night instead of eating out.
We moved from our first hotel over the river to the Oval Hotel for our last two nights in Adelaide. The Oval Hotel is built into the side of the Adelaide Oval stands. It has not long opened and is a bit of a step up from the Darwin establishment in all respects (still less expensive though) and is very comfortable. The restaurant overlooks the playing surface of the Oval.
A good reason for staying there was so that Allthego was on the spot to do the ROOFCLIMB at the Oval, Port Adelaide was playing Freemantle in an AFL game. This basically involved climbing up some ladders and crossing over the top of the stands. At the highest point we were fifty metres above ground. There were thirteen of us on the climb. There are seats up the top were you sit and watch the game. Our tour saw the first quarter of the game from this vantage point before having to head back. Great spectacle from up there, Allthego was positioned such that he looked down into the goal square right on top of the posts. A little edgy at times up there, Allthego almost Allthegone! No, he lives to climb another day. The Auckland Bridge climb beckons!
And after all that folks, it is time to return to Brisbane.