Saturday, June 22, 2013

Post-Adelaide Review

We left Adelaide a few days ago and are now on Kangaroo Island. More on that later, but I wanted to share some thoughts about Adelaide while they're still fresh.

Adelaide is smaller than Sydney. It's a much more relaxed place - more informal, slower paced, less crowded. However, the traffic is not much better. In fact, so far the traffic here is the biggest drawback. It's pretty bad, at least in the cities. Once you get outside of town it's much better.

Adelaide is home to a couple of large universities (U. of South Australia and the University of Adelaide, along with a few smaller ones). So there is a part of town that has a quirky, bohemian, college town feel - outdoor cafes, an eclectic collection of shops and art galleries, and of course plenty of pubs. Known locally as the East End, the hotel we were staying at just happened to be located within walking distance. How convenient...

As far as food goes, Adelaide is one of the best cities I've ever visited. We didn't have a bad meal the entire time we were there. In fact, we didn't even have a good meal. They were all great!

The first night we went to dinner at a place that was recently named Adelaide's worst vegetarian restaurant - The Stag. It's a carnivore's delight; meat, meat, and more meat. I had the triple bacon cheeseburger; three different types of bacon piled high on a huge beef patty, accompanied by perfectly cooked chips (that's fries to you yanks). Others in the group had a wonderfully prepared steak, a tasty steak sandwich, and an order of Texas beef ribs (!). All of it was delicious, with plenty of good cold beer to wash it down. If you prefer they have a very nice wine selection.

The next night we went to a little Greek restaurant called the Eros Ouzeri (not to be confused with the Eros Café, which is right next door). It was there I had what has to be one of the top three pieces of beef I've ever had in my life - a beef fillet that was savory, juicy, tender, grilled to perfection ... I'm drooling over the keyboard just remembering it.

I'll stop talking about food now, other than to say that if I lived here my weight and my bad cholesterol numbers would both soar above 300.

Adelaide has more to offer than food. There is a beautiful and well-maintained green belt that encircles the center of town. It has a river that winds through it, which we hiked along one day. In addition to the usual assortment of ducks one might expect on a river, we attracted a pelican and a couple of black swans. I guess they were used to being fed by walkers because they stalked us for a while until they figured out we weren't going to give them anything. Then they squawked indignantly and flew off in a huff.

The next day my wife dragged us to the Adelaide Botanical Garden. I was prepared to be bored out of my mind by a bunch of plants, but was pleasantly surprised. There was, of course, a bunch of plants, but they were exotic (at least to us) and attractive. The trees are unlike what we're used to, the flowers were bright and beautiful, and there were little surprises everywhere - kind of like Easter eggs in pop culture. One of them was a little grotto off by itself with a couple of old, worn plaques dedicated to the Americans that lost their lives fighting with the Australians in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. It was a very quiet, peaceful place, well suited to its purpose. Another interesting find was across the street from the Gardens. It was an old horse trough dedicated to the Australian horses that were killed in The Great War (WWI for all you youngsters). Right next to that was a small marker commemorating Gallipoli (the battle, not the movie).

We took a day off from the kids and toured the Barossa wine region just outside of town. A hired car and driver took us to several wineries for a bit of wine tasting. At Penfolds we got to make our own wine, blending several of their varietals into our own unique blend. The wine was then bottled and presented to us as a reminder of our visit.

We drank it the next day...

We also dropped into a cooperative of several small artisan vineyards for a tasting. In fact, the place is called Artisans of Barossa. A wide variety of excellent wines - wish we could get some of them in the states.

Lunch was at a place called Maggie Beer's. For once "Beer" didn't refer to a cold refreshing adult beverage. It's Maggie's last name (insert your own joke here). She's a well known and very popular Australian chef, similar to the U.S.'s Paula Deen. I had the Game Terrine - a delicate puff pastry filled with bits of pheasant and mushroom. Excellent!!!

While we were visiting wineries we made arrangements for the kids to take a tour of their own. The mode of transportation was a three-wheeled motorcycle  referred to locally as a trike (someone else drove - they rode on a bench back seat). Instead of wine, they toured a chocolate factory and a few historical sites. They had fun, but I think my wife and I had more fun.

Those were the high points of our Adelaide visit. Very enjoyable town, and I would love to come back again some day.

We left Adelaide on a bus for a two hour trip to Cape Jervis, where we caught a ferry for the 45 minute ride to Kangaroo Island (KI). KI is a good-sized island (approximately 1700 square miles) located about 70 miles off the south-central Australian coast. It's sparsely settled -- about 4500 permanent residents -- and home to several wildlife sanctuaries and parks. There's around 14.5 million kangaroos on the island (hence it's name). That works out to about 3200 kangaroos per person. We've been here for three days, and leave tomorrow for Brisbane. I'll have another update in the next day or two.

I hope everyone out there is having half as much fun as we are. It's going to be tough to leave this place.


Old NFO said...

Glad you found The Stag, I'll be there Wed night... And concur on the weight and cholesterol... sigh...

Toejam said...

Go easy on the food and booze, CTT.

I hearthe airlines are putting a surcharge on passengers who have to be coated with oil in order to get into their seats.

CenTexTim said...

NFO - enjoy ... and hit the gym the next day.

Toejam - I've been eating and drinking like a king. However, we've been doing so much walking (literally hours every day) that I think I've lost weight so far.