Saturday, September 30, 2006

Adelaide 2006 - Day 5 (250906)

Today, we had our other half day tour with Enjoy Adelaide. What was good about the deal was that with any purchase of a full day tour, we get $10 off a half day tour. Our half day tour is "Enjoy S.A in half a day".

The truth be told, we went on this tour because we saw the words "free samples of delicious Haigh’s chocolates". They had us at "chocolates". And we got Gayle as our guide! Yay~ Looked forward to her entertaining stories.

The first half of our tour saw us travelling around Adelaide city. We were shown the popular sights such as the Botanic Garden (which we would return to shortly), St Peter Cathedral (which we did not return to), and the Parklands the surround the city. When I saw the park, I thought to myself: If this is in Singapore, it would no longer be a park. Vast open spaces are hard to find in Singapore. In Australia, you have no shortages of locating a park anywhere.

Finally, the stop we had been waiting for: Haigh's Chocolates! We listened to our guide as she showed us the steps involved in making chocolates. Oh my! As soon as we went into the shop, we were in heaven. I think the euphoria switched my mind off. She probably mentioned that chocolates are best stored at temperatures between 13 to 15 degrees. I agree! Chocolates from fridge suck. Plat!

There are a lot of intricate steps involved in making chocolates. At Haigh's, they make all their chocolates by hand, which is why it is more expensive. I even saw chilli chocolate. Hmm... Heard D said that it is surprisingly good. I don't dare to try. Maybe in Melbourne. Anyhoo, we got free samples!

Our tour guide who gave us the samples said I have a beautiful smile. Must be me smiling in anticipation at the free chocolates. Woohoo!

Because we have a full day ahead and the sun was shining brightly, I decided not to get too much chocolates. They have a few outlets in the city anyway. :P

I succumbed to one tiny packet.

The highlight of the day was over too soon. Mount Lofty was our next place to visit.

Enjoy this short clip of Gayle's "Hee-hah"-ness

Although the sun was high up in the sky, it was cold. Brr...

No idea what this stands for, but look at the fluffy clouds in the sky! Happy clouds! On my flight to Adelaide, the girl sitting beside me asked her mother, "What is it like to touch the cloud, mummy?". I imagine you get a handful of vapour. And then you fall to your death.

We took the mini-van to Hahndorf at Adelaide Hills. Beautiful journey because it is spring and the blossoms were blooming.

Water wheel on the way.

Hahndorf is a small German village where the early immigrants settled. If you rather not be restricted in the time you get to spend there, you can reach it through public transport.

The wonderful smell of leather. I tried to look for an old horse shoe for dad but couldn't find it. Any idea where I can get one?

I bought a magnet in this shop. I'm a sucker for souvenirs. x:

According to Gayle, most of the stone houses are the original houses the immigrants built. I assume this is one.

Hand-made knives! Who do you plan to slice today?

The peh-peh outside this tavern urged us to go in to take a look because this is one of the originals.

He must be sad when he realised we couldn't stay for lunch.

Instead, we headed back to the city to drink Wendy's!

I think it's the same Wendy's as the one that makes burger. Anyhoo, I ordered a large cookies and cream shake. Gosh! A meal, a MEAL!

It's strange that I have been to the Botanic Garden in Sydney and Adelaide but not the one here in Brisbane. I must go there before I go back to Singapore. Have a picnic or something! No regrets!

We saw lots of ducks and swans at Adelaide's.

They just came back from the pool. Ready to towel off.

White fluffy clouds again! That way to the wine centre.

They do have closing times, so take note! What's spring without a little flowers, eh?

Girls love roses? I like sunflowers; big and chirpy. But no flowers as gifts for me please. No place to put, cannot keep, and it dies.

Just take pics with them at the International Rose Garden can already.

Australia has many poisonous animals. Don't go sniffing the roses or you might end up with a fat nose from a sting!

Remember the postcard I sent to my housemates? On it was the Bicentennial Conservatory.

It is a greenhouse. Need to pay to go in so the misely me was left outside.

Being the city of churches, you cannot do without this.

No Tom Cruise in sight.

We cruised around the city, wondering what to eat. We thought of curry and were heading for it until we saw Sushi Train. Mmmmmmm! Sold!

This is the best sushi I have ever eaten. Aburi salmon. It is a piece of raw salmon on rice. Mayo is added to the top and the chef used a blowtorch to lightly char the fish. Lastly, a brown sauce was added. Oh my!!!

They have an outlet in Brisbane!!! Yay!!!

When we left the shop too full, we saw the supermodel of dogs.

Check out its long legs! Cheekie would be quite intimidated.

From Chinatown, we walked back to the city to take bus. I realised that in most cities in Australia, Chinatown is just right next to it or in it. The one in Brisbane is really a sorry excuse for a Chinatown although Jackie Chan filmed there before. It is really tiny. My dad was disappointed when he visited it last year. I don't care so long as I get my lovely auntie asking me if I want to refill my soup! Woohoo!

Victoria Square is beautiful at night.

Since it was going to be my last night in Adelaide, I cannot go home too early. But this is Adelaide; there's nothing much to do at night. We decided to head back and go out for desserts later. WY and C were home watching the Australian Idol. Not exactly my favourite show in the world.

We wanted to try Gusto at The Parade for desserts but it didn't have much of a selection. In the end, we went to Primo to find WY and C, who joined us for desserts, with C at the wheel.

Spat's cafe. Sold on its decor, not food, ambience nor service.

Sad desserts. Plum pudding tasted like fruit cake and had JY screaming in pain. Waffle about 6" by 4". Nothing to wow about. Lady who served us appeared pompous and put us under the stairs (WTF?). This is the first time I feel obliged to tell people how negative it all was. Please eat at Freestyle cafe if you're in Brisbane. Best sticky date pudding ever!

Only there for the quaint decor. Otherwise, spit at Spats!

I don't care. I am going to spin a tall tale of a wild night of clubbing with 50 yandaos trying to pick me up. Throw in a couple of chio bu trying to get me into bed too. Blah!

Adelaide 2006 - Day 4 (240906)

Every night, we keep wondering what to do the next day. Although I am not a beach person ("bitch" is another matter), I thought that since I have visited so many beaches in Australia, I might as well see another one in Adelaide. So Glenelg was the beach of choice because it's suitably near to the city.

When I woke up, JY decided that she needed some TLC from her bed. She flopped onto her bed, which I had recently vacated. I decided that Cheekie needed some TLC from me. WY was up and tut-tutted when I told her JY was still in bed. So, she decided that I needed from entertainment from Cheekie.

Boy, was the girl good! Cheekie is the most fantastic dog I have ever met. Not only is she obedient, she can perform a series of mean tricks too. Besides being toilet-trained, she could sit, stand, turn, roll, put out her paw, and even crawl! The paw trick is really something. If she puts out her left paw when you tell her you want her right and you say no, she immediately switches to the other paw. Power! And even when you put the treat in front of her and tells her no, she will not eat, but her eyes can melt your heart! Really something considering she only went for two training. That girl is amazing! Makes you want to get a dog and be all disappointed when you realise there's only one Cheekie.

JY and WY like to keep a running commentary of Cheekie's internal monologue. "This is what I do for food! Come and do your worst!" That's their description when Cheekie does this pose. And their voices rise higher and higher and higher until it becomes just a series of squeals and giggles. Girls! :P

Most people know Melbourne has trams. But Adelaide has its tram too! I think they were considering expanding the tram route, which is hotly debated in the state. Is it a waste of money?

"You can find us in the tram, heading for the beach, yo yo yo."

I have never taken a tram before. It was nothing exceptional except that you get to be in a vehicle that has its own dedicated track. Which was under some construction on the day we took it. So we had to switch to a free shuttle bus that would take us to the beach.

Having never been to Glenelg, JY asked the friendly bus driver to let us know when we should alight. We were supposed to meet WY and C for lunch there. However, we soon realised that we were heading back to where the tram stopped. Gosh! We had gotten lost on a bus! But the kind peh-peh said he would take us right back to the beach. You must understand that it is not because we cannot recognise the beach. Like with many beaches in Australia, there's a bustling shopping area near Glenelg that blocks all sight of the beach from view.

Poor WY and C were famished by the time we got there. And it took quite long for our food to arrive. Considering the quantity of the food, it was expensive. We didn't feel full at all.

Our surf and turf. Wonderful sauce but too little!

After our "snack", JY and I headed for the beach. Bleah! The wind was howling mad and the scenery was quite blah!!!

We got a headache from standing 20 minutes there. Zzzz...

This photo makes it look nicer than it actually was. There were a few guys surfing, but other than that, the beach was empty. The guys though, have very nice asses. :P

Footprints on concrete is the new footprints in sand.

"Why is the wind so strong, mama?" "I don't know but it's messing my hair!"

We went to seek shelter from the wind at a nearby museum. It has a few interesting machines to ask for donations!

This is "The Haunted House". Cute!

By then, it was almost 5pm. We went back in C's car to take a rest before dinner and to feed Cheekie. And ourselves.

Apple chip! So pretty!

With only a miserly meal in our stomachs, a buffet was the ONLY choice.

Korean BBQ! We like!

An uneventful day almost spoilt by the wind. Nevertheless, we got to experience the hospitality of South Australia's bus driver. We like!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Adelaide 2006 - Day 3 (230906)

The good luck of finding a $10 note yesterday gave me the impetus to rise early on Day 3. Rather, the appointment to go on a day tour to Barossa Valley served as the key driving force. In the end, I also woke up late. From the 7am alarm, I slept till 7.20. Yikes!

We missed the bus by just a minute or two. Blah! With 30 minutes to go till the next bus (now you really know to appreciate bus schedules in Singapore, which rarely exceeds the 15 minutes interval), we jumped across the street to get brekky. I saw "hot dog" written on the board but wasn't sure if it was served on bread. So I asked the friendly guy behind the counter.

"Can I have hot dog with the bread?"

He gave me a perplexed look.

"You want it on a bread?"
"You don't want it on a roll?"

Hmm... I never realise people call that a roll. I thought it's called hotdog bun. You know, the one that's long, like a... erm... roll? Anyhoo, I got my dog in the roll, and we crossed back to sit at the bus stop like the kiasu people we are.

Me with my roll, JY with her pie.

Today, we were going on a $64 tour with Enjoy Adelaide Tours. By the nick of time, we made it for our appointment with them outside Haigh Chocolates at 9.10am. In our cosy little group were 4 other couples, three girls about our age, and another guy. I like travelling with small groups. Groups that are too big suck because it feels less personal. Leading our tour was Gayle with her male understudy, Dennis. We really like Gayle because like her name suggests, she was very chirpy and happy. She cracked lots of jokes. Too bad with our shitty memories, we forgot to ask her to take a pic with us. Blah!

Many people know Australia as the country with lots of koalas and kangaroos. Although viewing either of them was not on our agenda, Barossa Valley decided to give us a treat anyway.

The kangaroo en route to Barossa.

The poor thing was quite lost. It hopped along the main road which we were travelling on, not quite knowing what to make of the metals horses that were zooming past it. We stopped behind it for a while before it hopped across the road into somebody's yard. Gayle decided to pull over and go over to knock on the house to notify the owners, and call the police. After she ran across, the roo came bouncing out again and almost got hit by a car.

It also managed to scare a man carrying a box.

He was wearing a plastic apron and we joked that he was a butcher and could come chasing the roo with a cleaver. The roo hopped away and onwards we went towards the valley.

The valley offers much better views than The Blue Mountain in Sydney. Do you know how many "Big Things" there are in Australia? In South Australia, the world's biggest rocking horse resides.

It doesn't rock.

For $2, you can climb up some stairs to see the horse and get a horse's eye view of your surroundings. In the souvenir shop, you get to buy miniatures and even the rocking horse manure, which are wood shavings.

You know spring is coming when the flies are out.

You can also get your bearings when you look at this. I was trying to point to the sign which says "Singapore". JY was pissed that KL was not stated.

We were treated to a story of the old gum tree where the Herbig family of 18 (parents with 16 children) lived for 5 years in the 19th century.

You can catch some of the story in the commentary by Gayle.

How can 18 people live in this? Amazing. How can someone have 16 children? Even more amazing.

At Angas Park dried fruits, I wandered around, wondering what to get. How to choose when eveything looked so good but was so frikking expensive! In the end, I settled for dried mangoes ($6), chocolate sultanas ($4.95), and a chocolate log cake ($14.95). Decisions, decisions!

A short ride later, we stopped for lunch. As promised by the tour, we "tantalised our taste buds with their delicious lunch. Selected from magnificent platters of virginian ham, home style salami & wurst, smoked kangaroo, hot chicken pieces, fresh crisp salads (vegetarian), cheese, olives, dill cucumbers, freshly baked bread, hot wedgies with sour cream & sweet chili sauces, fresh fruit and German cakes".

I had no idea which is the dried kangaroo.

With our full bellys, we were ready for some wine tasting. I have never been much of a drinker because I don't like the taste of alcohol. When I was 17 or 18, I had a couple of hard liquor and promptly suffered an excruciating rash for 2 weeks. Not cool to be scratching till you bleed.

The first of the wineries we went to was

Chateau Dorrien.

The family-owned winery serves one of the tastiest white port, according to Gayle and a fellow tourist. We stupidly left that one out of our wine list. We just sipped here and there and went out to hog the scenery for photos.

We sipped here and there and didn't like most. Sweet wines please!

Winery number two was

Richmond Grove.

Here, we got a guided tour that offered a brief commentary on how wine was made. Richmond Grove has one of the best ports I have ever tasted! YUM! But I didn't buy because I was ready to pee.

A tour of the Barossa Valley is not complete if you do not visit one of the best known wine-makers in Australia.

Jacob's Creek

It's huge, huge, huge!!! After we left, we continued driving for about 10 minutes, and were still in the brand's vineyards.

Sadly, I don't remember much of its wines because I was busy looking at the scenery and making pseudo-intellectual poses.

Thinking up some poetry perhaps? Nah! Wondering where to go tomorrow!

Ah, yes! Some proof of Adelaide being a windy state.

Forget styling your hair. Tousled look is the ONLY look here.

At the final winery, we didn't bother trying anything. Some of our fellow tourists however, seemed very excited to be at this particular winery.

Chateau Yaldara

I was more interested in spotting sheeps?

Chateau Yaldara is a beautiful place. Lots of them bought stuff from there. I saw a box, some beer, and some bottles. You can even get opal there. And see sheeps of course.

All too soon, we were at the last stop for our tour.

The Whispering Wall at Barossa Valley.

View from the reservoir

See the video to believe it!

Gayle said that the reservoir is almost always full. Surprising because Australia is the world's driest continent. JY asked me later, "If it's always full, why don't they just drink the water from there?" And started the ball rolling for our keeping-our-national-treasure-at-all-costs theories.

When we told Gayle we wanted to drop at The University of Adelaide on our way back, the girls turned to us and asked in awe, "Don't tell me you're going back to school!" Nah! Just for photos to show we went there, done that. To entertain us on our journey home, Gayle asked everyone to do a short introduction at the front of the bus. A few of the couples were retirees, something I look forward to. Imaging touring your own country with a loved one after you have stopped working permanently. Sounds like quite a plan.

We asked a girl to help us take photo while we posed in front of the sign "The University of Adelaide". For some reason, she stood very far despite us asking her if she could come closer. Blah!

I take better pictures myself.

Right beside the university is UniSA's east campus.

Not easy to do this kind of pose when the red light is on at the nearest junction. Many amused looks thrown our my way.

We walked and walked and walked, thinking all the time for a place to eat. My phone rang halfway. YAY! I AM POPULAR!!!

WOW!!! IT WAS S! She was back in Perth to attend her convocation. Wow! Had a long chat with her about shopping in Australia and the boringness of convo in general. Latest sales, nice clothings conversation punctuated with lots of "OMG!". I think JY was twiddling her thumbs and suck the air when I finally got off the phone.

Church picture of the day.

Did I mention how nice Adelaide bus drivers are compared to some others I have met? When I got onto the bus and asked for a ticket to The Parade, the driver struck a conversation.

D: Which bus stop in The Parade?
Me (looked at JY in question and JY looked back at me in shock): Ermm... Around the middle of The Parade?
JY: Bus stop 9?
D: That would be $20.
JY and me: (silent screams of "Oh no! Not Julia's bad bus driver karma again!!!") Huh?!?!?!
D: Just kidding. That would be $3.80.
Me (heaved sigh of relief and paid with a $5 note)

Then the bus driver started his entertainment. When giving me my change, he did the disappearing coin act. Boy, was he fast! That was a fun thing to do. Take time off and put the silly girls who didn't know where they were going at ease. I like! *stamp of approval*

Our cheesy smiles on the bus.

Had our dinner at Cafe Buongiorno. One of my best meals in Adelaide. It serves excellent pasta, although I would prefer my Fettuccine Bosciaola to be al dente. JY's Con Pollo would be an excellent choice if you prefer something less creamy and a little more sour. Yum!

It rained halfway through our meal and blew our pasta cold. It was still good nonetheless. Fantastic Day 3!!! Something I thought I wouldn't enjoy since I don't know how to appreciate wines!