Mon 9th November
Madness. I had to set the alarm for 4am to take my first dose of travel sickness tablets!!! Then back to sleep until 5 when we both had to get up. Talk about a change from the normal routine of going to bed at 2 or 3am! We threw the final things into our cases, had a cuppa and off to Morley where we left the car at David’s parents’ home and rang for a taxi to the airport. All went well and as usual I took the cabin luggage through the scanners to make sure nothing was knocked back and rang David to say it was OK to check the suitcases and then he joined me.
It was a wonderful short flight. Less than 3 hours and, although we’d been told we wouldn’t get a movie for that length flight, we did get one. And a nice breakfast. And the next thing we knew we were starting our descent! The flight path took us next to the city and we could see that Adelaide is smaller than Perth – awwww, sweet!
We landed at 1:50 pm, the exact scheduled time, and took a very short taxi ride to the Rockford Hotel, quickly settling into our room. We’d booked an ‘executive spa suite’ which was nice – our only complaint being that there were no net curtains at the windows! How very strange! It had an entrance hallway and a large room with the bed in it, and a strange, diagonal partial wall of ceiling height which housed a wide-screen TV. Behind this, next to the window and really squeezed in was a desk and chair and the other side of it, also squeezed in, was a table and 2 chairs. We had a microwave, kettle, tea and coffee and 2 lounge-style chairs. Then there was an open ‘room’ with the spa in and, off from this, a separate bathroom. For any privacy in the bedroom or spa you had to shut the heavy curtains and use electric light.
Anyway, we donned our walking shoes and went off to explore where we were and soon found Rundle Mall, the central shopping precinct of the city, and enjoyed a general walk around the surrounding area. We found a tourist information kiosk and got some details on the public transport system for some trips that I’d planned. It was 37°C so pretty warm and we were grateful for our hats and eventually came back to the hotel to enjoy a cooling swim in the rooftop pool followed by dinner in the hotel restaurant which was very nice, and it always feels so decadent to wave a hand as you leave saying ‘please charge it to our room’. During dinner I’d been blinded by the setting sun through windows with no blinds or protection, but better sun than rain and cold.
After dinner we went for another walk in the cooling evening and found the tram terminus so hopped on board. The tram was free within the city block so great fun to just use it for the sake of it! And an added bonus on the hot days; it was colder than the average fridge!!! After reaching the southern boundary of the free zone we just hopped back on the next tram for the return trip.
And so to bed for our first day. We tried to snuggle up but the large bed was actually 2 singles pushed together so the ridge down the centre of the beds was high and hard and we gave up.
Buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant. David had managed to get these included in the cost of the room; my little bargain seeker. Breakfast consisted of toast you made yourself, bacon, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, dried-up looking eggs Benedict, baked beans, soggy hash browns, mushrooms, cooked tomatoes, cereals, sad tinned fruit, natural yogurt and fruit juices – orange, pineapple or apple. Oh and a very small basket of pastries which showed signs of having been freshly baked the day before LOL These included some small croissants with assorted jams and, if you got in early, some tiny, bite-sized chocolate muffins. We happily ate our fill whilst being blinded by the morning sun streaming through the window and made a mental note to sit in the shaded part of the room in the future.
We asked at reception where the nearest stop was for the free city loop bus and found it to be just 20 metres or so from the hotel. The bus showed 99C on its destination display which of course I always referred to as the ’99 cent bus’. David got chatting to the driver and it turned out he had relatives in Perth. Not only that but I used to work with the wife of one of them. It really is a small world isn’t it? Amazing! He told us where to get off hehehe for the Botanical Gardens and we found ourselves a map of the gardens just inside the gates. We’d timed it to get there for the guided walk at 10am but were a bit early so wandered along admiring the view and the many statues. We also found a greenhouse full of lilies in a large raised pond. Only one flower was to be seen but it was very pretty. Then we attempted to find a spot labelled for the beginning of the walk. We should be so lucky! It was pure guess work and we imagined ourselves waiting past 10am at the wrong spot while the walk began from elsewhere. Eventually I persuaded David to ask the girl in the kiosk if we were in the right place and her reply was that she didn’t know but thought perhaps we were. Huh?
We sat at one of her tables in the shade as it was already warm and reached 39° later that day. And listening to the sound of a hugely raucous steam cleaner working just feet from us we waited for about 20 minutes. Eventually, David saw a man put a sign out just near the souvenir shop and we idled over to read it. ‘Walk cancelled due to heat’ it announced. Urgh! By this time there was a lady talking to the man and it seems that she’d come a long way for the walk – her second attempt. She had even rung up to make sure it would be on and the person on the other end of the phone must have been the girl in the kiosk as apparently she’d been completely vague. Poor lady was not amused, but was still very polite all the same. I asked the man, the volunteer who would have conducted the walk, if he could at least write on the garden map where he would have walked us so that we could do it ourselves.
Believe it or not, the answer was no! We pressed further, along with the disappointed lady, and he did give us a vague idea so we set off anyway, keeping largely to the shade and had a bit of a wander around.
Inside this glass house were various cacti and a lovely ‘natural’ style waterfall made of the most interesting rocks.
But we soon decided ‘enough of that’ and the next thing on the list was an Aboriginal Gallery named Tandanya on Grenfell Street. As we’d come in on the 99 cent bus I’d seen a street sign pointing to it so off we strode confidently. And we walked, and walked, and walked, and never did see it. Eventually, stopping to look at the street numbers and getting the brochure out of my bag, we discovered we were now the absolute wrong end of the street. I would still swear the sign had been pointing this way down Grenfell but obviously it hadn’t. So, dodging the crowd that all huddled on the shady side of the street, we retraced our steps – not only to where we’d started, but beyond, almost to the outskirts of the city block. At least when we found it, it was welcomingly cool inside. There was a gift shop with all sorts of Aussie artefacts, and then a gallery of art and sculptures which we enjoyed looking at. There was one beautiful painting in the ‘dot style’ that really drew me to it but unlike some of the others it didn’t have an explanation of the meaning. I’d still love to know what drew me to it so much! Something to Google one day when I have time, perhaps.
One art work will remain in our memories forever. It was about 8 feet high by about 4 feet wide, made in this pattern, repeated over and over…
Each of the squares had a little ‘tag’ on each corner because… it was made entirely of white bag twist ties. At a price of $1,200.00!!! Obviously the price was for labour and not material costs! (Photographs were not allowed so that is my interpretation of the work!)
From here we walked back along Grenfell Street, which now seemed very familiar, and then to Rundle Mall and the Myer Centre and had a look around. There were glass lifts so David suggested going in these. I don’t like lifts, they make me dizzy, but the hotel one was gentle and I foolishly presumed this one would be too. Let’s just say that as soon as it started moving I said a mildly naughty word 😉 We came back down using the escalators thank you very much! We also went into Harris Scarfe and bought a sun hat for David, a very light-weight shawl for me and also 2 dresses, 1 tank top and a pair of ¾ length shorts for me. I don’t have many hot weather clothes so these were all good buys as they had a sale on. We went down to the food hall and had a light lunch, watching the workers eat theirs quickly and feeling wonderfully relaxed ourselves as we dawdled luxuriously.
Next to find the Charm Shop which was wonderful. They have gold and silver charms for bracelets and I’ve never seen so many in my life! You name it, they had a charm to suit, it was so interesting and I saw a beautiful bell one that I’d have loved – but I’d been spoiled enough already with the new clothes.
It was a lovely day of exploration and from there we went to see the Sky City Casino which is in the old Railway Station building. David checked with the very hunky guy at the door that our dress was acceptable – we were pretty casual – and he said we were fine. The entrance hall was massive and they’d kept the place exactly as it used to be, complete with station clock. It was interesting walking around watching the one-arm bandit devotees and even some people playing black jack etc. Seemed very strange to us at this early hour of the afternoon. There were 3 floors, all with people gambling away.
We walked back to the hotel for a cool drink and to cool off a little before venturing out once more, this time for a walk up Morphett Street, which became Montefiore Road, to Light’s Lookout. Along the way we crossed over a railway bridge and couldn’t believe how many tracks there were.
We were later told by a local that the rail system was pretty abysmal. Well it looked impressive anyway! And on up the hill to find a tall monument to Colonel Light, immortalised and looking over the city as was his vision.
We took a route through a park back down the hill and I loved the bell shapes on this tree enough to take a picture. So pretty!
On the way back to the hotel we decided to pop in to the Jam Factory. We’d seen it a few times in passing now and decided now was the time but it was too close to closing and there wasn’t a lot going on. We guess it used to be a jam factory but these days students blow glass objects and many are sold in the shop attached. If it wasn’t hot enough outside at 39° it was even hotter in there with all the furnaces going, and sitting up high on the viewing platform! We didn’t stay long and retired to our hotel room for a wonderful cool spa. Bliss!
Eventually we felt ready to venture out for dinner and went to the 99 cent bus stop. After about 10 minutes’ wait David rang the info line to see if the buses did run after business hours and, after being on hold for plenty long enough while on a mobile phone, a guy told him they run until 6:30 at 15 min intervals. By this time we’d waited at least that but waited more to allow for traffic hold ups. After 35 mins standing in the still-hot late afternoon sun we gave up and walked down to the tram stop instead, wondering why we hadn’t done this in the first place. And then we accidentally stayed on the tram one stop too many LOL
After that we found our restaurant of choice very easily. It was named Alphutte and, described on the website I’d found it on, as Swiss. The online menu had shown it to be very meaty on the whole but there had been sufficient non-meat items that I felt I could chose something yummy for myself. We arrived and announced that we had not booked but asked if they could they fit us in, and they very hospitably did just that. It was a memorably beautiful meal served by very cheery and friendly staff including a nice chat with the Swiss owner while we awaited our desserts. I’d had a Pumpkin & Broccoli Roulade for mains which was delicious, and David had Emmentaler Poulet.
We also had a dessert each – it was always going to be so after seeing their menu online and the only pity was having to choose just one!
I chose Chocolate Profiteroles and David had Chocolate Mousse. Both were amazing.
David tried 3 different beers during the meal (they served each beer in a correctly labelled glass!) hitting on one named Moo Brew which he declared the best. And then he had another just to be sure, so I shocked us both and finished with a glass of port. I truly adored this restaurant, it was the best meal and the friendliest service I’ve had for a very long time.
We walked back to the tram stop and took the tram the rest of the way back to the hotel. At this hour the tram was actually freezing and we were glad to get out after the 10 minute journey.
David began to jump up and down with joy saying “Look, look!” and it was a small white car with a camera mounted very high on a roof rack. It was the Google maps vehicle that takes the photos as it drives along. So exciting to actually see it.
And again we slept well but on opposite sides of the bed.
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