back to city life, complete with blankets and showers
18.07.2009 - 20.07.2009 14 °C
Saturday, 11 July
We left Kingston bright and early to discover a fun surprise at the petrol station: Larry the Lobster! There are tons of huge creatures scattered all over Australia (the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour, Uluru at a rest stop in the central coast, etc.) Grabbing a coffee (for me), we hit the road for Adelaide.
It rained for a good portion of the drive, but luckily Paddy had burned 11 cds for the journey, so we just rocked out through the small towns, over the Murray Bridge, and into Adelaide. I had toured the city on a bus with Miriam during our train's two hour stopover on our way to Perth, but hadn't had much time to walk around it at all. The city is lovely: it's only about a mile wide, but packs in enough bars, cafes and churches to satisfy its million residents. The layout, as I mentioned before, is ideal: all grids and right angles, but what's annoying is how often the street names change: halfway through the city, Franklin St. disappears and turns into Flinders St., and suddenly you have no idea where you are. Other than that, it's fairly easy to get around.
We arrived int he city with time to spare, so we checked into a hostel called My Place (the first backpackers accomo I've seen that has a sauna!) and dumped our stuff so we could clean out the van and take it back to the depot. A pair of English girls staying at the hostel with us has just done the ocean road in a Wicked van too, so they went with us. I must admit, I was happy to get rid of that leaky, expensive gas guzzler by this point.
Since we were starving, Paddy and I walked into town to explore the Central Markets: another maze of food stalls selling produce, fresh bread, coffee, etc. We grabbed cheap loaves of bread and a container of yummy basil-parmesan yogurt sauce and almost devoured the entire thing before grabbing a few fruits and veggies to last us the few days we'd be in the hostel.
Being that it was Friday, we spent that night checking out the bar scene, starting with the Grace Emily just across from our hostel for schooners of Cooper's beer (South Australia's signature beer; each state has one) and to listen to a folksy guy sing with an acoustic guitar. We then proceeded to Rundle and Henley streets where the action was just heating up, but when exhaustion kicked in early, we returned to the hostel after just a few beers.
Sunday, 12 July
A chalkboard near the hostel's reception suggested renting free bikes from a shop on Franklin St., so Paddy and I decided to take advantage of the sunny day and this awesome opportunity. We pedaled around the city, through some of the parks, and make our way out into a nice suburb called Belair, where the town was very Danville-like and the houses were straight out of Diablo. We pedaled across the city, through the Rundle Street Market to smell the handmade soaps and sample the kettle corn, then into the Botanical Gardens before returning our wheels and hopping on the tram to Glenelg.
Adelaide's only a few kilometers from the water, and Glenelg is its prime seaside town. We walked out on the jetty to watch the waves roll in (at this point Paddy was craving a surf, but he said the Southern Ocean is full of great white sharks, so he wasn't going to be doing it here!), hit up a bar for schooners of James Squire's new Sundown lager (it actually tastes lie sunshine, mmm), then split a couple scoops of ice cream at Baskin Robbins (to which Paddy had never been) before grabbing the tram back to Adelaide.
Monday, 13 July
Movies seemed to be a couple bucks cheaper in Adelaide, so we caught an 11:30 screening of Sacha Baron Cohen's latest, Bruno. I had expected it to be pretty dumb with some good laughs, but I watched most of the movie through my fingers: some scenes were ridiculously outrageous and uncomfortable, and others, (particularly the one involving the baby photo shoot in LA), I pray were scripted. It wasn't really worth the $12.
Yesterday, we'd biked past the National Wine Centre of Australia in a corner of the Botanical Gardens, and I was keen to get back (since we were out of time and money to check out the prime wine regions: Clare Valley, Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale), so that was our next stop. We walked through the different rooms to learn about the different grapes, where they grew best and what they usually smelled like as a wine, then had the opportunity to blend our own computerized wines. it was tough: we had to choose the temperature we'd keep our wine at, the type of barrel we'd use, how long we'd keep the wine in those barrels, when we'd ferment it, etc. etc. I ended up with "average" and "terrible" blends, while Paddy's won silver medals. Hrmmph.
After grabbing a couple sandwiches, we headed back to the hostel to grab our bags and wait for the bus to come pick us up and take us to the airport. It had been a fantastic trip, but I wish we'd thought to grab blankets for the oceanside portion!