Travel Journal

Arrival in Adelaide, Laziness and My Birthday

(Tuesday 20 October 2009) by Al/Alvin "Poison" Challis
So after being on the Indian Pacific for 2 whole days, we arrived into Adelaide at around 7am on 9th October. I have to wait an hour or so at the hostel for my room to be prepared, so that i could get into my bed. I was so tired. The journey had ruined me that was for sure. I need day or so to recover after such an arduous train journey. In fact, the only thing during the day i did constructively was to go to Cole's (Aussie Supermarket in order to buy food for the forthcoming week) and to go to bed. Boring stuff for the blog i know but essential for my wellbeing.

In the evening i ended up going out with people from the hostel and managed to get on the guest list of a band who was staying at the hostel. They were called the Mourning Ones and they were from Melbourne. They were a pretty good band actually and sounded a hell of a lot better after a few drinks of the local brew Coopers had been sunk. I ended up having a few too many actually and stumbled back to the hostel knowing that a hangover was on the horizon in the morning.

I got up the next day sure enough with an absolute whopper of a hangover. Still i decided that i must make my first forage into Adelaide to see what this city was all about. I headed for the river area of all where the River Torrens curves and looks towards the Adelaide Oval which towered over the river in all its glory like a goliath of an arena. It was a cracking spot and i stayed there for a few moments just to get a grasp of the surroundings and how nice they were. I continued walking up past the Cathedral and skirted round to where a Monument called Light's Vision was. Named after the City's founder, Colonel William Light, it was a great spot in which to view the city and to take photos.

To be honest, i was still tired from taking the train still at this point and wondered if i had overdone it whilst i was in Perth. My feet were still recovering and one of my hamstrings had gone as i had continued to walk around 6-8 miles a day or so i reckoned. I had pretty much written off Adelaide at this point s being a place where i could take things a little bit more slowly.

For the most part of my trip i have pretty much drunk every day. Not because i am obliged to as i am on holiday but because i wanted to and wanted to try as many different beers as possible. Today was no different. I headed down to the beach district of Glenelg where i cruised around for abit before i met my friend Sally whom people from the University of Southampton had set me up with as a person to show me Adelaide. She had previously worked at the University, and was down in Glenelg to do a first aid course and asked her if i wanted to join her after it had finished for a couple of sundowner beers and dinner. How could I refuse? It was great. Glenelg was beautiful due to what i didn't know at the time was going to be the best weather of the week and the fact that it was a really nice beach suburb which i could only imagine to be absolutely rammed full of people during the peak summer months.

I said goodbye to Sally before i heading back to the hostel to se what was going on. It didn't like anything was occurred so i called it an early night and got stuck into Bill Bryson's "A short history of nearly Everything".

Continuing my lackadaisical attitude to Adelaide, i woke late the next day and decided to walk again to the north of the city taking in the Botanical Gardens and walking around the National Wine Centre. This area of the city was really nice and contains most of the touristy free attractions that Adelaide has to offer.

I was at this point that i realised that i had seen what most of the city had to offer, and due to the crappy weather (It was the first time that i have unpacked the rain jacket) i decided to head for nearby shelter at a pub called the Exeter Hotel, which had been recommended by the Lonely Planet. I loved the pub due to the fact that it was one of those no-nonsense grungy type of pubs which did not try to be anyhting that it wasn't. A good old fashioned boozer which did not rely upon gastro-bullshit food to get in the punters but good quality beer and heaps of atmosphere that made you feel instantly at home as i soon as you walked in the place.

I sank a couple of pints and then headed back to the hostel when there was a break in the weather. I could not really be bothered to do anything else upon getting back to the hostel so i watched an Australian film that the others were watching called Kenny. For those that have seen it, you will know how funny this film is, and for those that have not watched it, then i thoroughly recommend it. It is absolutely hilarious and one of the funniest films that i have seen in a long time.

Monday 12th October was my birthday. And i had planned to met up with Sally and had planned to take a drive down to the south coast of the Fleurieu peninshula via a place called Hahndorf. Hahndorf was a pretty little German town set in the Adelaide Hills and was nice albeit with a lack of authenticity that comes wth mass tourism. It had some nice traditional looking German buildings which had been built back in the 1830's when the original German settlers had arrived. We stopped to buy some cheese and then a pitstop to a vanilla slice at a bakery which was delicious :-)

Next stop was a place called Goolwa which led to a place called Hindmarsh Island where you can see the Murray River met the Ocean. We got down there and the weather was terrible and was set to continue like this for the rest of the day. One minute it was raining, the next it was glorious sunshine. However, this did not prevent us from getting out of the car and getting out to take photos of the area. It was a pretty impressive sight and one i can imagine would look amazing on a beautiful clear day.

Next stop was Middleton where there had been reports that Whales had been sighted in the area and 1 whale and her baby had been spotted there. Unfortunately we were not able to see them ourselves when we were down there but again it was a lovely spot to laze in on a hot summer's day. We then stopped for lunch at Port Elliott and made a spot to get lunch at another bakery where i bought a Ned Kelly pie. i was told that it had a whole egg inside it. However, upon eating it all i could see was meat. But it still tasted pretty damn good.

Port Elliott was a lovely place and again a great spot to sit and chill if a little warmer and to swim. Afterwards we headed to our final stop of the day, Victor Harbour, which again was more of the same albeit with a shopping centre and a horse drawn tram which connected the town with Granite Island, where you could go for a walk and a pleasant look at the ocean.

We headed back to Adelaide hoping that we would get back in one piece after being pelted with hailstone showers and dangerous South Australian driving. Sally dropped me off at the hostel and i wished her well for the future and the completion of her studies at University.

I found out that upon returning to the Hostel that Ramon, from Switzerland had cooked me dinner so i was fortunate to get fed for free. It was a day where there were many new faces at the Hostel and word soon got around that it was my birthday and where i planned to go out. We decided upon the Grace Emily Hotel, a little pub just up the road from the hostel which was similar in style to the Exeter in both decor and atmosphere.

i had a great night and met some great people there from all over: Canada, Holland, France, Germany and a good time was had by all. Bandwise, the highlight of the night was Billy Bob's BBQ band who played a mixture of covers and also had a BBQ at the back of the pub, where for a bit of a small change you could get a hotdog as a bit of post-drinking fodder. Woofing down a cheap hotdog was the highlight of a great birthday and my first away from the shores of Blighty B-)

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