Keeping with our pattern of having hosts very often in Australia, (upon leaving Adelaide we’d only stayed in backpackers/hotels 8 days out of 41), we had a place to stay here as well. Nick's ex coworker's ex tennis coach moved to Australia 2 years ago and he very kindly allowed us to stay with him, sight unseen! He and his wife live in a lovely area just outside the city, and they have an adorable 3 year old who I mentioned briefly a few posts ago (the boy who loves to draw "big busses"). They were unceasingly accommodating and staying with them was wonderful. We are so blown away, they hadn't even met us before!
Upon arriving in Adelaide our mindset was pretty much: "yeah, there's a city, sure. No idea what's in it, but it's surrounded by wine country! We arrived on a Sunday evening after being on a train since sunrise. It's always shocking to me how exhausting it is to sit all day, especially while traveling. All day on a train, bus, plane, or in a car and I always just want to go to bed. After a phenomenal meal prepared by our hosts, we did just that.
The next day when we woke up we realized that with 2 days until our car rental started we had no idea what we wanted to do. Robin and Manoj said they were headed to a famous nearby German village, a very popular tourist spot they hadn't seen yet, if we wanted to join them. With hopes of strawberry picking and handmade German bric-a-brac we piled into the car.
We were not disappointed.
He was very proud of picking good strawberries.
The best bric-a-brac places had a no photos policy. So you'll have to just trust me, they were awesome.
The strawberries became a delicious (if I do say so myself) strawberry shortcake that Nick and I prepared in thanks.
The next day (only 1 day to rental car wine tasting bliss) we went into the city to something called "The Wine Center". It had a nice wine museum there where you could listen to recordings of wine makers talking about processes, make your own virtual wine, and read about all the myriad types of wine grapes.
Looking at very old vines.
A giant phylloxora. (The pest which wiped out nearly all the French vines in the 1800s)
They also had an info center with brochures and maps of all the surrounding wine regions which we needed to choose from. Lastly there was a tasting room where we could buy small tastes of many different wines, helping us narrow down the 3 regions we wanted to experience with our car. The winners: McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, and Barossa.
The rest of the day we spent in the Botanic Gardens, relaxing and having a cup of tea on a rooftop, giving us a great view of a guy climbing the parking garage across the street.
Yes, climbing up the outside onto the roof.
In our car the next day it was my turn to drive, so I had to spit out the wine tastes. It's surprising how much this actually doesn't detract from the experience for me. I still get to try heaps of great wines, hear about how they're made and what makes this one unique, etc.
McLaren Vale region.
3 days of tasting. It was great, but by the third day I was pretty done with it. I think 3 days was a perfect amount, and turning in our car and spending the next couple days back in the city was not sad.
I don't actually have much to say about Adelaide city. It was fine, it was another city, but it didn't strike me as having much unique character to set it apart from the other cities in Australia. I had a great time there, but it didn't stand out for me so much as a tourist.
The Botanic Gardens are beautiful and relaxing.
The 3 day train journey after Adelaide does stand out.
Lots of nothing...
That was a looong time on a train, but it was great, and now we're in Darwin.