Another early start, the airport was a local and domestic one rather than the main airport and quite a distance from Melbourne. I was advised it could take an hour in the early morning, and was told I should be there two hours before. Uber arrived and loaded off we set, there was no traffic and it took about 35 minutes. I arrived to a virtually empty airport and no one even on the checkin desks. It wasn’t even 7am and I could probably have had another hour in bed. There were about four other people already there when I arrived and I joined them in the paltry, well to be honest, non existent seating area. I had to sit in one of those massage chairs. Seven o’clock struck and staff started to man security and the desk and passengers started to arrive. I was already checked in so got into the queue and got rid of my baggage. I then went through security, they put my bag through twice but didn’t search it, strange I thought, afterwards I realised I had gone through with a bottle of water, what can I say!
The departure lounge was fairly empty and I ordered some breakfast and found a seat, which wasn’t too difficult under the circumstances. The airport started to fill a little. I was travelling with Jetstar, the cheap subsidiary of Qantas. I had heard several times on my travels that’s they were terrible from a service perspective and you had to pay for everything on board. This is clearly new to Australia as a concept, we have been living with it for years. Anyway eventually we board and take off. The flight was only an hour and as I was up so early thought I would get a bit of shut eye, well at least try to. I was in the window seat and the stewardess starting addressing me by my name, I opened my eyes and she said, sorry to disturb you but you have a complementary 10 dollar voucher, would you like to choose something from menu. I can only assume that somehow this was because this was part of my round the world ticket, but really have no idea. I should have asked, but didn’t so we will never know will we.
The flight was only just over an hour and the clocks moved by half an hour, this really confused my, I haven’t experienced a half hour change in time ever before, oh well. My landlady at the next AirBNB said I could turn up whenever I wanted to, which meant I was able to just jump into an Uber and go straight there. Always a releif when it’s an early arrival, that I don’t have to try and find a way to fill my day with a load of luggage. Below are some photos of Adelaide taken from the plane and one of the tiny departure lounge at the airport. I think there are only two gates.
I was soon settled into my room and we had the cricket on so that I could follow the test match after watching the day before. I have discovered that the Boxing Day test match is an institution and whenever I mention I went to it people say oh brilliant, we usually go, or we always went with my father, or I was there too. The Australians clearly are cricket mad it’s on the television all the time. I should, also mention there is a lot of other sport on as well. My landlady suggested I go for a tour of the Adelaide cricket ground, called the Oval, what a surprise, during my research on the Adelaide oval I discovered that there are Oval cricket grounds all over the country. I found one in Fremantle this week too.
Anyway I have to admit at this point I wasn’t feeling too well, I had a sore throat at the cricket match and by now I was feeling a little worse. I went to the local supermarket which was pretty awful I have to say and got one or two things, it was probably one of the most uninspiring places I have had the misfortune to shop in since I have been travelling. I actually got a frozen pizza for my dinner. That was a first. There was another couple staying there as well. So after everyone had done their cooking I did my pizza and felt throughly ashamed I have to say. It was pretty awful too. So it wasn’t long before I had excused myself and took to my bed. Then the coughing started. For most of this week I would just about be feeling human by the afternoon and then I was awake during the night coughing, horrible, I did get some cough medicine from the chemist and that helped. All I could think about was that I was going on the Indian Pacific train journey and I was going to be in a little cabin and I did not want to be ill for that.
The next day I wandered into town, got myself a bus pass and found the bus station where I had to be picked up for the wine tasting outing I had booked. I then went for a wander and I passed Chinatown and then the main shopping area. I found the art gallery and went in. It was 4:30 by now and it closed at 5:30 so it was a bit of a whistle stop tour. Of all the galleries I had been too this one gave me the least pleasure. I found it quite muddled. It transpired, I found out later, that it was organised by mood and I had not spotted that. I did see some good pieces though and photos below. There were a couple of pieces I would like to talk about, the first of which I didn’t take a photograph of, because I simply could not bring myself to. The piece was made of two horses, they were headless and their bodies arranged in such away that they were vertical with one placed upside down to the other and they were interlocked in a way. I love art but I found this piece really macabre, I don’t know what it was about it, but I really did not like it at all. However it is still in my head and when I was on the train we had a big conversation about it because other people had seen it too. Maybe I should have taken the photograph as it seems I am not going to be able to get it out of my head.
The other piece I wanted to mention was in the same room, I did take some photos of this, well there were two of them. They were models and a photograph of one of the models doesn’t tell the story. It’s the detail. Minute figures, I am not going to say anymore, you can see for yourself. In the close up photographs. I couldn’t imagine the amount of work that must have gone into these pieces and again they were extremely macabre but I thought they were amazing.
When I came out of the art gallery it was raining a little so I waited a while and then decided to go and get something to eat at Jamie’s Italian which I had spotted nearby earlier and yes he’s here too. I was quite early, so didn’t think there would be a problem, but they told me they were fully booked and then agreed to put me at one of the counters to eat. That was fine by me, so I had a good view of all the people coming in for dinner and the place did fill up quite quickly. The food was welcome, nice bit of fish and heritage tomato salad. I took my leave and then managed to find my way to the bus stop to get home. But I must first tell you that I when I was waiting for my bus there was a youngish man across the road, the streets are very wide so difficult to guess his age. He was screaming the F word at a couple of younger men at the bus stop, continuously for about five minutes, I have no idea what it was about but I found it quite disconcerting. Eventually the others got on a bus, which must have been why they didn’t just walk away. Then he sat there for a minute or two and someone spoke to him and he walked off. More on that later.
The following day I was booked on the morning tour of the oval and I am going to admit here that I managed to get myself lost, well not lost exactly, I was going to the Oval and the was a Southgate on the map on google, which was where I had to go in. When I got there I was at some local Oval. I couldn’t believe it, I had been using the bus app to find the way and clearly just got it completely wrong. It was a cricket ground, but that was all really. What a shambles. I rang them up and said I wasn’t going to make it because I had gone to the wrong place and asked if I could go on the afternoon one instead, he had a little chuckle and said of course. This is one of the reasons I know there are a lot of ovals....
So I got to the correct address and discovered a whole area that I hadn’t spotted the day before which was was cross the river. They are developing an Arts Centre and the Theatre was there too. I had seen that the musical the Rocky Horror show advertised all over the place. I went to see if I could get a ticket, Craig McLaclan was starring in the show, and it was only on for two weeks. I got a ticket for the following Tuesday night and then had a glass of wine and a lovely beetroot salad in the bar. The theatre had just reopened the day before following refurbishment and it was very plush, the carpets were so new I almost bounced along on it. The barman didn’t have a clue what he was doing, but in this instance it was almost comical. He apologised for his inept behaviour and one of the women also behind the bar said Read into that its only day two! We both had a bit of a laugh, it was so obvious. The chef was coming out and telling him how to serve me my salad. Yes chef !
Anyway some pictures of the area, with its new very expensive footbridge linking the cricket ground to the festival centre and the station. This bridge has water running off the end of it. Very picturesque.
Refreshed it was time to make my way across to the real Oval. I went to collect my credentials and the young man who I had spoken to in the morning said, oh you managed to find us then, ha ha, yes I did I said, that will teach me to trust Google . I think it was because I wasn’t very well therefore not finding on all cylinders, that is my excuse.
The tour was absolutely fascinating, there has been a complete redevelopment of the facility in the last few years, with new stands and new facilities. We were taken behind the scenes and went into the area which Audi uses for hosting events, complete with a car in the area. They also have seats in the stands. It is on the second floor I think and they get the car in through a special window which has to be removed. Then it has to be lifted down to the floor below and the doors removed so it can be taken out. Apparently one day a man said he wanted to buy the car, and Audi said certainly sir we can order one for you, but the man said, no I want that one. So they obliged, that will have added to their cost of sale.
The cricket ground has an old scoreboard which is a listed structure and still fully working. When matches are on, both football and cricket, it is used alongside the big digital display. I should mention that the ground is shared equally by football and cricket. There is I think quite a bit of tension between the two sports as well. Anyway back to the scoreboard. It is operated internally by levers, pulleys and handles. All the names are made up of individual letters a bit like an old printing press, and at half time they swap them all around. We were being allowed inside to look, but the Adelaide women were playing that day so we had to be completely silent in there as they were working and we were only allowed in four at a time. They watch the game through holes and are able to recognise all the players even from that distance. The main watcher recognises people by things like the way he wears his hat, the colour of the soles of his shoes. It was absolutely wonderful to watch. The funniest thing about it though was that we were all asking questions about how it worked and people were asking if you could get an apprenticeship to do it and work your way up in the organisation from there. Our guide who was quite humorous kept a straight face and answered it was certainly a possibility but it wasn’t a full time job, as cricket wasn’t played all day everyday. When I actually got inside I realised that he must have been having quite a laugh to himself, the two men I saw were about 70 with white hair. They need four altogether to run the scoreboard and the other two were upstairs and we were not allowed up there. The digital scoreboard is run by an outsourced organisation and they have programs which change words all around the pitch and stats are put up on the board, we all know the sorts of things that technology can do. They probably have one person running it, maybe they even run it remotely. Of course it will cost a lot of money to set up, but I am sure most of it is standard software. Then there are these four guys watching the match, lighting lights, changing scores, changing names on the scoreboard all manually. I did wonder what will happen when they die. There didn’t seem to be any succession planning in place.
Walking over the bridge back from the Cricket I was approached by a young man and I realised quite quickly that it was the guy from the bus stop incident the other day. I was in the same area. He was clearly high and giving me some load of bullshit which was clearly leading to asking for money. I was extremely polite and then he saw someone going in the opposite direction who he clearly thought would be a better bet than I was. Phew I thought. I was off to check out a hairdresser so carried on walking down the road. A few minutes later I heard this man shouting from across the road. I looked across, he was an aborigine, and the man he was shouting at was my new best friend who was now just behind me and had started to run for his life past me. The man on the other side of the road was trying to cross a road full of traffic desperate to catch this guy. It was comical to watch but a bit scary to I have to say.
I found the hairdresser I was looking for and made an appointment for the day I was catching the train. Even though I had coloured my own hair, there was still a lot of white, but it wasn’t just that, I felt that all the layers the last hairdresser had cut into it were making it look a real mess so had decided to get it coloured and tidied up. This time I wanted to go somewhere which had good feedback not just the first hairdresser I came across. In my defence, she says, why am I defending my need for a hair cut, it had been something like eight weeks so it was due. From there I went to china town for some dinner, I didn’t intend to go there but ended up there as I couldn’t find anywhere else I wanted to go on the way. I am starting to realise I spend a lot of time walking past places, indecisive as to where to go, but other times my decisions are instantaneous. Funny woman that I am. It was a little early for dinner and I found where I was going to eat, having walked passed lots of places. There was a bar next door and I got myself a glass of wine and went to sit outside. I don’t know what it was about me this particular day but a drunk came to sit a a high table near to my low table, he could barely carry his drink, was wearing Ugg boots and had his arm bandaged, his chat up line was I like your shoes. He was from Liverpool, single, looking after his Dad you had had a stroke and was lonely oh and did I mention he could barely stand. Again I was trying to be polite, then he came and sat at my table, my queue to get out of there pdq, bye then. I am off for dinner now. Straight into the restaurant next door, no I didn’t want to sit outside thanks, no I don’t want to sit in the window, back here somewhere will do. I haven’t been approached in all the time I have been away and suddenly two men under the influence of something or other in one day. Deep joy.
The next day was given over to a beauty appointment in Brighton, yes Brighton. I caught the train, just like being at home really. The station before Brighton was Hove, good to see they are still together in Australia, would be awful if they were separated after all these years wouldn’t it .
I will mention at this point though even though it’s next week that Scarborough in Western Australia is in the city of Stirling, moved north quite a bit! I can’t help it, having lived all over the U.K. and travelled a lot of it as well, I find it amusing to have twins and cities displaced.
Anyway I had a wonderful chat with the lady in the beauticians, she was one of the people who was talking to me about women sofa surfing upon the breakdown of their marriages. We talked about Mr Trump and Brexit and Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and much much more. It’s just great when you meet a complete stranger and can have such a big conversation. She gives back by supporting women in shelters, not that there are enough of them. There are not enough of them anywhere. Watching TV a bit today there was a section of #me too. Interestingly Craig McLaclan has had to step down from his role in the Rocky Horror show after allegations of sexual abuse which he completely denied, stating these women were lying. He also stars in a TV program called Dr Blake Mysteries and this has been put on hold too and more allegations about him have come from that show. #Me too is going to keep on rolling it is cropping up in conversation a lot on TV here. Oh by the way #me too.
After beauty came lunch and the beach, except lunch became a very long drawn out affair due to the Fawlty Towers nature of the cafe I chose to eat in. It took them an hour to deliver to me a plate of mussels, they gave the last portion, my portion to someone who ordered after me and I had to wait for more to be delivered from the fishmonger who was only five minutes away. Free glass of wine and reduction in the size of the bill, but I really would prefer to have service as it should be. I know what sort of trouble I would be in if I delivered my services they way some of these places deliver theirs. This time it was Manuel’s fault, he was new and gave my mussels to the wrong person. But actually I saw him ask the more senior waitress and that’s what she told him to do. She was having a hissy fit because the boss had given her something to do that she didn’t want to do. As for the boss she had to go and apologise to so many people, so she was obviously running a very tight ship. It’s fun people watching.
Then the beach, which by now was only really going to be for an hour or so, but it was quite nice, good to see Brighton got rid of all those awful pebbles.
The next day I was off to wine tasting in the Barossa Valley. The day got off to a bad start because I couldn’t find my house key. I had done a bit of shopping in Brighton and gone straight to the fridge to put it away, and was sure I had put my key down there. I was still quite poorly so clearly hadn’t thought about it when I went to bed. So I searched everywhere and couldn’t find it but knew I had come in with it. So I asked the landlord and he got me a spare as I had to catch the tram. That was the other problem, I had checked on the route to the bus station the day before and even remembered putting in the following day arrival time into the app. But when I checked that morning, no buses only the tram and the tram was quite a long walk. So I set off but just missed it by a minute, the next one wasn’t going to be for 20 minutes and I wouldn’t get there in time, so I ordered an Uber. It kept saying it was a minute away, finally I realised that it was on the other side of the tram tracks. I just got to him before he abandoned me. In the mean time the next tram had come in. Nightmare morning, I was gong to need plenty of wine to get over this.
I got to the bus station in time, and we had a long drive out to the first of two stops, which was a winery called Seppeltsfield. we were taken in for a tasting, these days they specialise in fortified wines but supply many wines to other companies. I bought a nice port, it reminded me of Madeira and all the fortified wines we drank there. The winery production area was built on a hill so that everything just flowed down from one production point to the next. It is a unique production plant. This winery had been privately owned for many years and had eventually been bought out by a corporate but was now back in private ownership. They were letting out parts of their buildings to other small outlets and were concentrating on their fortified wines. They still make wines too but they sell it on within the wine industry. It was a beautiful setting and is also know for all the palm trees which were planted on the road side approaches. It was founded by German immigrants who farmed something else, and couldn’t do that so started a wine business instead.
Then off to Wolf Blass, we passed Penfolds on the way. Most of these wineries are now owned by big corporations, including Wolf Blass, another German immigrant, but his winery is full of him, and apparently even though he is in his eighties he is still very active in the industry. We had a wine tasting there and then went in for lunch which was excellent. I had opted for the steak and of course there was more wine tasting with lunch. I bought myself a nice bottle of sparkling rose, shame I couldn’t have bought more, but traveling light and they don’t deliver to England free of charge. I have to admit that even on the way there I was having a problem keeping my eyes open. We then had to drive for two hours to get to the town of Hafndorf which was established by German immigrants. A cute town which was clearly different in its architecture. By now I was really ready to go home, there were lots of shops, I had a walk up and down the Main Street but when you are not buying things shopping becomes very boring, not that I am ever that excited by the prospect. I settled for a beer in one of the bars. Then back to the coach at the appointed time and the drive back to Adelaide. I made my way home and was met there by the other couple who were staying there and we had a glass of wine to celebrate the new year, yes it’s New Years Eve already.
New Year’s Day, the first day of 2018, my plan was to spend it writing which is pretty much what I did. I think I have mentioned before that I get behind when I spend time with people and then it starts to become daunting if I have a few chapters to write. I have to take care not to try and rush it because then I forget to talk about some of the things that I want to mention. I am thoroughly enjoying the process once I start and there is a lot I want to write about. I am planning when I arrive in Bali to change the tempo of my trip and I hope to be able to settle into the writing of my story which I have promised to do.
The following day I walked into Glenelg which is a seaside area. Adelaide used to have a great tram system which was mainly dismantled some years ago and replaced by buses. The only tram line to remain is the one into Glenelg and it has a cycle and walking path along side it, so I walked along this path to the seaside. There has been a big furore going on in Adelaide because they have closed some of the main roads from today to extend the tram track. Everyone is up in arms, bus routes have changed, bus stops have changed, but I suppose if they are going to do it no time is a good time. I have received two text messages from the Theatre to tell me that the normal entry will not be accessible and I will need to use a different entry because of the road closures. Anyway back to the beach, good walk down there and then I found a lovely little seaside town, I went for a bite to eat and then wandered down to the beach. It wasn’t too busy, but none of the beaches are ever that full. I spent a happy couple of hours relaxing there and then needed to get a move on back because I was going to the Theatre. I had to put my best foot forward because I had to walk over 5kms. Then when I arrived and was ready I was trying to make sense of the buses and it turned out yet again I had picked up the wrong destination inadvertently. Leonie, my host, set me on the straight and narrow. I set off with not too much time to spare, and the road closures had of course affected my journey but I made it in time. The Theatre was buzzing with excitement and it looked like it was a full house. As for the performance it was ok, to be honest I thought it was a bit pedestrian and relied very much on the star to carry it. The music was too loud a lot of the time, drowning out the words. Don’t get me wrong I was glad I went, I had never seen it before, but I suppose I have been spoilt by the Theatre in London. Interestingly after Craig McLaclan stepped down I read one article in relation to #me too where an actress didn’t go for a role because of his reputation.
The next day was going to be my last full day so it was taken up with the usual housekeeping chores, washing, packing and writing and I spent time by the pool, yes there was a pool there. The fourth was the day I was going on the Indian Pacific train and I was very excited. I got up early and went for a bike ride on the track to Glenelg and back but had only done 8 Kms so continued in the opposite direction and in the end did over 13 Kms, a new personal best for me. I felt I could have gone on. My plan was to get a cab to the hairdressers and have lunch next door to the hairdressers. Then a cab to the Australian wine centre where we were to offload our luggage and had been invited to dinner before being taken by coach to the train station where we would be leaving from. The hairdresser was from Switzerland but lived most of his young life in Germany. He had worked for Vidal Sassoon in London and Toni and Guy, had worked for a high flying hairdressers In Los Angeles before coming to Australia. He had his own Toni and Guy salon for many years in Australia but when he had to move locations he decided to leave them and they have since lost their footprint in Australia. This was a huge salon and he was the only one working actively, there were a couple of others there but they spent most of their time in the back room. It was also a licensed premises so I was offered a glass of wine. Obviously it would have been rude to decline. They actually had optics up behind the counter. It was quite an experience all in all. He told me my hair had been cut to a point at the back, deep joy, and he agreed with me that the layers had made a mess of my hair. So he gave it a good tidy up and dried it really straight, which was a bit strange. Anyway job done I was feeling much better and off to dinner before my train journey.
I think the train journey really deserves a section of its own. I must first of all say though that I have enjoyed Adelaide enormously, it’s a lovely city, very different from the others I have visited so far. So thanks Adelaide for having me, I have enjoyed the people, the city and the beaches. Maybe see you again one day. So bye for now.