Travel Journal

More of Adelaide and the Barossa Valley

(Wednesday 21 October 2009) by Al/Alvin "Poison" Challis
I felt dog rough after the escapades that existed as part of my birthday and i had high hopes that i could get to the Adelaide Oval to be able to watch cricket. But i knew that when it started raining that my day was going to turn completely to shit. I watched the start of play for about an hour or so before the heavens opened. However, it allowed me to to catch up on my journal and to people watch the randoms who had rocked up to watch the cricket. Big retarded guys with beer bellies or fellow british elderly travellers who spoke in broad Yorkshire or Manchurian accents, they were all here to see and hear.

After about the 2nd or 3rd rain delay, i thought enough was enough and left to head back into the city where i ended up a the museum of South Australia. It was a standard museum as far as they go, but it had some interesting bits in their Pacific Islands collection. I have always been a big fan of Polynesian culture and it was great to see lots of good artefacts and things. The rest of the museum contained the standard stuffed animals which with all of their unusual facial expressions looked as though too illegal substances had been consumed and had died and been stuffed in the process.

It was a quiet night at the Hostel. It involved sitting around talking to folk and meeting people. I did some reading and the highlight of the night was finding the sauna in the hostel. I had been in the hostel for 4 days and never knew that it was there at all! It was awesome.

Over the course of my time in Adelaide, I have come to the conclusion that the Germans are slowly taking over Australia. There are simply thousands of them in every hostel that you go into. A fellow Pom girl in the hostel said that she spoke to a fellow German backpacker in Broome (on the North West Coast of Australia) and said in these certain words: "We are taking over the World!" Possibly not the best thing to say considering past historical events, but could certainly see her point in regards to Australia. If they start breaking over the Maginot line again well then yes we could have a problem.

Not that i have against the Germans at all please don't get me wrong, but i thought that the hostels here would be teeming with British backpackers and the like. However, there is a really good mix of people within the hostels that i have stayed at thus far. It is great to get out there and to speak to people of different cultures and backgrounds alike.

Weds 14th October: today was another day where nothing much new happened drastically but still an enjoyable day nevertheless. Me, A German girl and a Swiss guy looked and walked around the Gallery of South Australia in the city. It was pretty good to at art and i have started to develop a real like of Aboriginal art. I am yet to find out what any of the stories contained within the art actually mean but the intricacies and the detail of the art are great.

Adelaide is a place i can't decide whether i like or not. In terms of physical aesthetic appeal it does not really have that much going for it. The parkland areas to the north of the city are nice where the River Torrens flows and meets the Adelaide Oval, but apart from that i have not been too inspired. It has not helped with the perception that the Adelaidean locals have given either. Most of them have been grumpy in the shops and not really having too much life in them you could say. It could be the weather which has been abysmal whilst staying here, and i hoped Melbourne improves in that respect.

I was pizza night at the hostel followed by the watching of a film. For 6$ i pretty much ate the equivalent of a truckloads worth of pizza. It was good to get a full meal inside of me. We ended up watching Kenny the film again and ended up laughing as hard as i did the first time i watched it. The guy who plays Kenny is an absolute hero. Apparently he has a new film out where he plays a father and son duet with Paul Hogan. Sounds like comedy genius to me. God know what the film is called though.

We chilled out on the Hostel balcony with a couple of beers and i went to bed knowing that i had the wine tour in the morning.

Thurs 15th October: Today was a big day as i entered the Barossa Valley for a wine tour of the region. I was picked up bright and early by the tour guide for the day, Glenn, a Queenslander, and i knew as soon as i met him that a great day was in store. "I am going to get you slaughtered! he said as i entered the bus. "Is that a guarantee?" I said. "Oh yes!" he replied as we drove off to collect the rest of the folks on the tour.

Our first stop on the tour was Gumeracha, which was just outside the Barossa Valley and was home to the World's largest Rocking Horse. It was enormous and probably about 20 feet high. We stopped for breakfast and then headed into the valley for real. The next stop was the Whispering Wall which is the wall of the dam which provides all the water from the reservoir for the Barossa Valley region. However, they call it the Whispering Wall due to the fact that because of the shape of the wall you can whisper something from one side of the wall and it will carry to the other side of the wall. So after berating Glenn from the other side of the wall and stating that he was a wanker (not my words), we were promptly told we would all be walking back to Adelaide which was around 70kms away. Bugger. (of course he was mucking around but the heart skipped a beat for a second).

The first winery that we went to was the World famous Jacob's Creek, and it was huge. All the different types of grapes located within the vineyard were clearly marked with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon etc. Also, I did not realise that Jacob's Creek was an actual place and an actual creek. Pretty cool.

The wine was tasting pretty cool. We tasted around 7 different wines in total ranging from a sparkling Chardonnay though to a fruity caramel tasting Port. After the first winery, the effects were beginning to set in. Next stop was the Vinecrest vineyard where it was more of the same, there were more people showing more visible effects of alcohol consumption. The banter started to increase also, with other people on the tour and it especially got going between myself, an aussie and a Brazilian guy. It seemed as though every winery we went to exported half of their wine to the UK which made it look as though the Poms are in effective a bunch of pissheads and degenerates. I explained that this could possibly be the eason that Gordon Brown has taken us into financial meltdown, and everybody is flat broke back in the UK at the moment.

The next stop was Richmond Grove. I had not heard of this winery, but the ever-knowledgable Aussie said that it was a famous winery in Australia. It turns out that they do not export out of Australia, bar NZ, hence it was probably the reason that i have never heard of it. Anyways, it turned out to be a cracking winery with the tour guide making up with her lack of knowledge with an abundance of physical natural beauty. She did a good job considering that she never took the tours that often.

It was at this point that i was really beginning to feel it. I don't really drink a lot of wine, especially White. I am a Red wine drinker by trade if you can call it that, and i was a bit disappointed that there were not more Red wines to try than there was. But hey ho, i suppose that is what wine tours are there for.

I found out a band was on the Wine tour and a guy in the band was trying is best to make informative comments but also at the same time he made himself look like a bit of prat. "This tastes like a good year!" he said for pretty much every vino he tried. Nice chap but i reckon he was a bit of a tit for sure. We stopped for lunch at a pub called the Clubhouse in the town of Tanunda, which is the biggest town in the Baroosa Valley region. I had Kangaroo for the first time and it was delicious.

After lunch, we headed to our last winery, Seppeltsfield. This was probably my favourite winery of the lot in terms of history. The initial founders it was told had 20 children between them which were designed to keep the winery going after the two founders had passed away. However, i am not too sure how much wine was made during this period where the founders were going at it on a regular basis. There were lots of fortified wines at Seppeltsfield. But all of them were really good. We had the chance to try a 100 year old port but had to pay 50$ for 20ml of liquid for the privledge. No thanks i thought. I want to try it but not that much.

Glenn our guide witnessed a bit of an incident in the car park of the winery. A guy who had been into the winery on a tasting tour proceeded to shout at someone within the cellar door from the entrance. He said the conversation proceeded: "Why the f**k shall i wait for you you f**king slut, i don't wait for anybody!" and then burned off in his car out of the winery knocking over a sign in the process. It seemed pretty random and God knows who he was talking to and whether he had a few drinks on board. It was pretty funny though how Glenn told the story. With the wine tour finished, we ended up at Mengler's lookout which offers a fantastic view of the Barossa Valley and a great photo opportunity.

We turned for home and i was feeling a little worse for wear after a heavy day on the vino. Pretty much the entire tour feel asleep on the way back to Adelaide. It had been a long day. But that did not stop me from heading out in the evening with people from the hostel. I swear that i am going to need a new liver by the end of this trip as the amount i am drinking at the moment is incredible. But it did not stop me from having another great night. It also gave me the opportunity to meet a french girl whose name was Adelaide. I said to her that it was an awesome coincidence to meet someone who had the same name of the city i was staying in. She actually seemed a little pissed off that i pointed this out, but i took that to be a typically french response. If you want to get pikey my dear then fine.

Knowing that i had to get up at some ridiculous hour to get the train to Melbourne, i headed back to the hostel happy with the day's drinking exploits and happy in the knowledge that Melbourne lay ahead of me and new city in which to explore! B-)

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