<<  Adelaide, 9-Oct-2013  >>

Crossing of Australia complete. Let's drink!

Flashback of days of fine wine, some bla bla bla about agriculture and weather. Back to city, so long desert.

Have you ever heard that Australia is the country of sheep? So have I. I was expecting to see sheep all around this country, but it was only few days ago when we entered South Australia that I finally saw sheep. The same goes with wheat. Australia is one of world’s largest wheat growers but I have seen none until South Australia. And it’s almost the same story with wine, although in this case I had seen few vineyards and wineries before: in New South Wales. So pretty much South Australia is where Australia’s agriculture lives.

We were quite lucky, and although sending few requests just one day before our arrival to Adelaide we managed to get a “couch” via CouchSurfing. We were hosted by Sam (Sam for Samantha, not for Samuel) who showed mercy to our last minute request, although she already had another couchsurfer at home.
Sam is another “professional CouchSurfing host” (like Natasha in Melbourne and Amanda in Darwin), she has hosted almost 150 people during last 4 years, but despite this large amount of people that have passed in and out her door she keeps the energy and attitude as if we were her first hosts. Sam is really interested in people and shared practically all her free time with us and Ronan, the other CouchSurfer who stayed there. Ronan is Brasilian and studies in Adelaide and will stay at Sam’s place for few months probably. Brasilian in da house, watch out!
We stayed in Adelaide for quite long, for 5 nights. We actually didn’t spend too much time in the city itself, we simply had a lot things to do. Ehm, a lot of things to do… by our standards :-)

First and foremost: wine tasting!
South Australia has Australia’s leading wine regions and it would be grave sin not to indulge ourselves with some fine wine. Again credits go to Sam for making it happen. She told us how to reach one of the 2 regions – McLaren Vale – by public transport and we were just about to leave the house to go there and maybe see 1 winery and a center of the village, when Sam decided to join as and even do the most unpopular job on this planet – be a driver on a wine tasting trip. So all of us – Irene, Sam, Ronan and me – headed to McLaren Vale to delight our taste buds. You have to know that here in Australia I drink mostly shitty box wine, which is the only cheap (I mean acceptably expensive) alcohol that one can drink in Australia. My snobbish heydays of drinking fine Moravian wines on wine trips with colleagues are gone and over. Back to student’s years, back to box wine. But this time, it was gonna be different, it was gonna be short flashback of the days of finer wine. The region’s prime wine variety is Shiraz. We visited 4 wineries and got reasonably tipsy (except for poor Sam who was driving) and I extended my wine checklist by few new items, like sparkling Shiraz, “white Shiraz” (actually it was more rose than white, but still strange sight to see, pale Shiraz), sparkling Moscato rose (bit of a wine for children, but very tasty and refreshing!) and fortified Moscato. We bought couple of bottles priced completely out of our normal drinking budget, but finally it was nice to be purchasing wine which I actually KNEW how it tasted, instead of buying anonymous bottles (or boxes) in shops. Irene was laughing at me when she saw my snobbish myself swirling and sniffing and rolling the wine in my mouth, but hell yeah, I like it! She on the other side considers wine drinkable only when it’s mixed with Coke (aka Kalimotxo, mentioned few months ago in my posts from Byron Bay) so we probably seemed like a sitcom couple: a wanna-be snob and a girl form forest :-)
But it was not all about wine. One of the wineries has a sanctuary for orphaned kangaroos and the super-friendly girl who was pouring us drinks during the wine tasting of all their wines (at least 10 samples) took us inside their enclosure and we could feed them and pet them. Oh, how cute they were! And they were perfectly domesticated and would follow the local girl everywhere she went.

Second item on our plan was car hunting. We wanted to buy a car here in Adelaide, because as we found out from other travelers, South Australia has cheapest and most straightforward legislation for car registration. We borrowed Sam’s car and went around few dealerships and private sellers, but no success, the cars that we wanted to buy (we found them on internet ads) were either in really bad conditions or sold. And it took ages to get from one place to another, so finally we gave it up and decided to continue without own car.

Adelaide itself is neat, but not very surprising town, kind of what we expected. High rises, but not too high, few colonial buildings but not too many. The downtown is delightfully surrounded by parks and greenery and on the day we arrived to went to one of them to wait for Sam who was going to pick us up there were at least 3 weddings / wedding parties taking place around us.

One strange thing about Adelaide was that its streets seemed very empty and downright dead in the evening. Not a single hot dog stand, gyros, or fast food pizza was open, after long search we found at least Burger King (alias Hungry Jack’s as Burger King is called here in Australia). The center of the town really seemed bit like a ghost town.
They do have a very nice museum and gallery in Adelaide, but who wants to read museums, right?

The day after we arrived we went to see a concert of another CouchSurfing host in Adelaide who told us he would play with his reggae band in Crown and Anchor bar. While the streets were suspiciously empty, once we arrived to the bar I knew that we were back to the City. Urban faces, urban clothes. Urban landscape, urban cityscape, urban people-scape. Black clothes. Trendy hairdos, carefully trimmed beards. Lots of fancy tattoos. Skirts. Boots and high heels. Everyone beautiful or rebellious, no place here for greyness of the mob. Ain’t no wankers here, if you know what I mean. Cool and cliché everyone. All that jazz of urban culture. I missed it, I admit. I’m a city boy, and long periods without urban faces make me bit lost. It was good to be back to city safari. Many months was I gone, ever since I had left Brisbane back in June. Live music without yodeling again! All-girls punk band, and rather a good one, not that average three-chords punk music but well thought out music schemes, and then 10 member reggae band, including that guy from CouchSurfing who invited us in the first place. Good music mate. Too bad we had to leave before end, to catch the last bus to Sam’s place.

But let us know turn to other important matter: the weather.
Zeus knows that I love spring. Everybody from Slovakia must love springs. When the fucking winter is finally over, the humid and cold air goes to bother some other regions of this planet, yep, I love Slovak spring and it’s one thing I’ve been missing on this journey. I swing between tropics and winter, but ever since I started this journey I was almost always much closer to the equator than anything in Europe can be and so the climate during these 10 months was nothing like Slovakia. And here, in Adelaide, well down south it was finally waiting for me. Spring. Spring of my understanding of spring. Real Slovak-like spring. 16-20’C during day, cold at night. Green. Lots of green, flowers in bloom. Bees buzzing. But most of all, AIR. That air. That spring air! The sweet fragrance of spring, of nature’s awakening. Pollen and that indescribable smell of the green. Oh my god, my body loved Adelaide’s climate here and now. Thank you Mr. Weatherman. Even if only for few short days, I had my dose of spring, I can now go on for months and months, running on this energy boost.
And apart from Mr. Weatherman, thanks again to Sam for the great time she made possible for us. And for that “pavlova” dessert, oh my god!

PS: One more remarkable thing happened in Adelaide. My computer died. Not completely, but it became a zombie. For no apparent reason, one morning it refused to start and since then I was trying to resurrect it with help of black magic and drops of holy water, but only with minor success. This is by the way also the reason why the blog is heavily delayed, instead of using the computer I had to be healing it.

Footnote after post scriptum: Another reason why my blog was so delayed was that the journey from Darwin to Adelaide was by far the busiest time on my whole journey since I’ve left Slovakia. Before, I usually stayed at least 3 days at the same place, but this run across Australia was a frantic run: every day on the move. It was only here in Adelaide that we finally rested for a while.

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak