I was up at 06:00 as normal ready for a new day; it was quite over cast so I think that we got the best of weather yesterday. I needed to get supplies so a trip to this covered market that everyone was swooning about, I had a load of post cards (aren’t you the lucky ones, but don’t expect anymore) that needed posting, no big deal but no stamps. So on the way to the market we must pass the main post office, no problems but they were not open. So I thought I would go to the market, have a spot of breakfast and then return to do my posting.
The market takes up a full block between King George street and some other street, now it was open for business, it opens early for the wholesale market and then the stalls selling to the normal punters open at 08:00. It was still just after 08:00 so all of the stalls looked in pristine condition, I browsed for a while, I knew I would be making a fish dish that evening, so headed to the fish stands, to get there you have to walk the gauntlet of fruit and veg, butchers, bakers, delicatessens, coffee stalls, nations of the world unit and come to Adelaide Central Market, they have, they are all here.
Those devoured, I then browsed a bit more and chanced upon a Russian stall, I stood and watched the chap making dough balls and filling them with various concoctions, these were the famous Piroshki these looked fantastic, so I thought I must try one. I asked (Boris, Ivan, Igor?) if I could photograph him making some, nod in the affirmative, so I did. I then got him to explain the various fillings of the Piroshki, there was sweet and savoury ones, I wanted to try one of the savoury beef and rice filled ones, wonderful, not heavy and stodgy that I thought it would be, but the dough was fluffy and life and the filling was divine. (note to myself must try and replicate).
I picked up a pamphlet about the Cathedral Hmm next give away, St Francis of Xavier’s, next missed clue (our lot do not have Francis called Xavier, ours is Assisi, but then I got the whole of the clues, a lady popped another pamphlet in my hand, Heading read Calibration of Holy Eucharist for St Ael girls school , the penny dropped like the bells from the belfry, I was in the halls of the other lot, the RCs. Twice in two days this is getting a bit much, but at least this time I heard some, nice Carols, I didn’t stay long and I didn’t get invited for either a cuppa or for Christmas dinner, I do believe I prefer the Happy Clappy lot. (Note to self) Before entering another ecclesiastical building big or small, check the denomination, check if a service is or is likely to be in progress during your visit and foremost check if there is a free meal to be had.
Enough of this being saved Thing, it was time to get back across to the market halls, to get my supplies for that evening, I went green grocer type shopping first, spring onions, baby asparagus (green), sugar snap peas, some red chilli's The Asian stall supplied me with Soy sauce and 3 small head of Bok choi. I next went to the fresh fish stall that I had breakfasted on that morning and purchased a ready cooked blue swimmer, 500g of large shell on raw prawns, and some ready to cook salt and pepper squid, all wrapped , I legged it back to the hostel to get the stuff into the refrigerators (food goes off very quickly in these temperatures).
I shall not go into a lot of detail here as I intend to do a whole blog about it and also the botanical gardens, enough to say it is a super exhibition housed in a very nice un-modern building, I spend about 3 hours wandering through from room to room, well worth the free entrance.
It is as if they have to push a thousand years of not being there into 200 years. There is a statue to anything and everything on most street corners. Never mind they are a proud folk(s).
After the Art gallery it was back to the hostel to get my food prepared, cooked and eaten before the rush of potnoodle cooks appeared on the scene.
I was then able to catch up on a bit of news, do a bit on my blog and just laze around until it was time for bed.
I had the Botanical gardens in my sights today, I had had it in my sights ever since arriving, but now I could give it my undivided attention. I was up at my normal time, showered and ready to roll long before most were out of their beds. Though as I sat in the foyer (sounds like a cinema) quite a few of those backpackers that had not booked well enough in advance needed to make way for the Barmy Army, quite a lot had to move much further afield as there was not a room to be had in the whole of Adelaide.
Never mind I was safe until tomorrow and then I was off to the seaside.
But for today I was out in the greenwoods, I walked into town and along North Terrace, same way and direction as yesterday, so I shall not bore you with the same spiel. I stopped off at one of the many restaurants advertising breakfast and had the full Aussie breakfast, much the same as a full English but cooked Down-under.
The Adelaide Botanical Gardens
I then walked to the entrance of the Botanical Gardens, there wasn’t many others around at 08:30 so I had the plant and bird life to myself, though I was a little too late to catch the wallabies, though I was able to see the remains of their evening activities, their droppings. (I am not going to show you a photograph of Kangaroo poo).
My first encounter was with the wood ducks, we have met those before in Brisbane so got on like a house on fire, there was also my old mates the crested pigeon ((Ocyphaps lophotes) these were in far greater numbers, in fact the last time I had seen more pigeons was at a clay shoot.
I know, I know we are not here for bird identification so I shall get onto the flora now, as this was just the start of the summer a lot of the plant life was still bearing a lot of flowers, the first was a vivid vermillion bottle brush tree and always a couple of parrots clowning around in the branches, I am sure that these are natures clowns.
The park landshaft was interspersed by mighty trees, Norfolk pines, Kauri, Eucalyptus and many other trees native to Australasia.
I then saw what seemed to be a half-finished project, boulders and pipework lying randomly along dried water courses. I was later to be informed why, what and where this was leading.
I walked past the large Bottle tree, the Aboriginal people would knock on the tree to find at what level the water was at and then bore a small hole and tap this.
It was truly a wonderland as I walked into a clearing a kookaburra flew just above my head and alighted on an old Gum tree.
Right now I have your attention a bit of history of the Adelaide Botanical gardens;
Dr Moritz Richard Schomburgk 1811-1891
I will deal with the second director of the Botanical gardens as I think he laid down the gardens and done much of the work that we can see today. He studied botany at Berlin University (Humboldt) and also in the Royal Gardens of Potsdam Sanssouci).
Richie (if I dare be so familiar) was born in Freyburg in the then Freistadt Saxony, he was the brother of a quite famous German naturalist (British nationalised). His brother Sir Robert Herman Schomburgk, carried out various botanical, entomological and geological surveys on behalf of the British Government in British Guiana, Brazil and West Indies, his younger brother Richie accompanied him. Robert was also fulfilled diplomatic missions in Thailand and Dominican Republic.
It was while on one of these surveys that he brought back the giant water lily (not the ones in the pond today, the water lilies get genetically weak after a few generations and die), but the pond is the original. He also planted the alley of Morton Bay figs. He was Director of the Botanical gardens from 1865 until his death in 1891 a good innings matey! Now back to today:
The path came out at the entrance to an Allee of massive trees, I know that I have used the term a bit loosely in the past, but these trees were truly magnificent, I had seen individual ones at various locations in the park, I had also seen them in their native Queensland, but never in such a formation as this, awesome.
These were the Moreton Bay Fig or to give it its botanical name Ficus macrophylla these had been planted in 1866 the first one (or the last depending on your direction of travel was supporting a massive vine with large trumpet like flowers.
I also found (trod on) a large ripe fig
And so this brought me to the Schomburgk Pavilion, in front of this is an ornamental water course, this runs between various sectioned off botanical enclaves. On entering, along the path , I had seen Mediterranean gardens, I expected to see plants etc; from Southern Europe, Near East and North Africa, I then saw , Californian, Mexico and Australia, I walked back to the front and looked again at the direction and species boards, the penny dropped, the term Mediterranean does not mean from the Mediterranean area, but refers, to the plants from a like climatic area, a bit the use of Alpine, Savannah, Tundra and the like, so that is that sorted that out!
I was just walking up the steps towards the museum, when I was accosted by an elderly lady (enough of that now), she inquired if I was going on the guided tour, I said I hadn’t planned to, she said would you like to come along (the tour started at 10:00 and it was only 09:30), I said I would very much like to. Now this lady had a very cultured BBC English accent, it took me a while to catch a hint of an Aussie strain.
I said I would return, I think she was glad of a bit of company because it looked as if no other punters would be turning up.
I returned and found others had been captured and so seated outside of the museum were 10 likeminded souls ready to head off into the botanic.
Our guide returned, she was all of a tither, she said we are very lucky, the Giant Water Lilies from South America had opened in the night, so we would immediately head to the hot house and have a look see.
We entered and before us was a large lily pond, this housed 2 of these monsters (Victoria Amazonica), also housed in the pond were several dainty (in relation to the Giant Amazonian one) Nile water lilies (Nymphaea caerulea) these are water lilies that where much revered by the ancient Egyptians .The only other plants in this tropical house were some of the most spectacular Halconia I have ever seen (the lady guide was also most ecstatic about them) .
We left the water lily house (especially built and opened on 2007 to house the Giant Victoria Amazonica), the group had by this time grown to over 25, our Lady called for help and another guide appeared and we were asked to split into two groups. This we did and I elected to stay with the BBC lady. She said that today (with the exception of what had already happened) she would concentrate on plants and trees native to Australia, or at least Australasia. So away we went, most of the ground I had already covered, but of course she could explain it all in such detail (she with the silver tongued eloquence).
We arrived under a tree, she informed us that this tree produced seed pods of very large dimensions (they are often turned into, pencil cases, ladies compacts and spectacle cases),( I have forgotten what tree this was but I will research and put it in).
They are now wondering whether to cut down every second tree and replant new ones in their place, this way if they do all decide to die, then they would have not lost the entire alley. The discussion goes on, but for the moment they are looking wonderful.
Our leading lady said, as she searched in vain, there are normally ripe figs that fall from this tree over night, but it looks like we are too late and the birds have had them all, shuffling of feet and feeling of guilt from the back row.
She did tell us that the vine wrapped around the tree could grow up to 30ft in height and her neighbour had just planted one, did I see a wry smile cross her lips?
I think I was exceedingly brave, don't you?
We walked back to the piece of new build (you know the ones I told you about earlier), this is in fact building for the future as not only will it be a wonderful section of the Botanical gardens, with its water features and play area for the young but when the underground artesian well is full (in 7 years’ time) it will supply all of the gardens water needs, a very well worth project indeed.
Our last call was to an old friend of mine, the (Wollermia nobilus) Wollermia pine, the story attached to this very ancient tree, starts back in the 1994, no it starts 200 million years ago when ferns and lichens governed the earth and no trees yet existed. This tree is not actually a true pine (Pinus) or even of the of the pine family (pinaceae) but belongs to the ancient Araucaria line of plants.
Prior to 1994, the Wollermia pine was known only from fossilised remains. In 1994 a young rock climber was out climbing in the Blue Mountains just West of Sydney, he abseiled down into a very narrow gully, he knew a bit about botany and thought this is a strange looking tree, what he had discovered was the long thought extinct Wollermia pine. There are the rest of the details about going back with others in a helicopter all except he and the pilot (phew) were blind folded to protect the exact location of the gully.
They have now started a programme of building up a stock of these very rare plants ( I first saw it in Sydney Botanical gardens many years ago), these are then sent out to various Botanical gardens to start their own breeding programmes, Adelaide is one of these.
Then it was through those garden gates, did I hear a " but that is the same photo as the first one", and I shall but reply " of course it is ye bleeding fools, it is the same gate"
But it is time to get this blogged and I have already outstayed Adelaide as I am in reality about to leave Port Elliot, and I still have the entire Art gallery to do and then bike rides and train rides and fishing trips! You may not believe this but I am Kangaroo Island as I put the finishing touches to this.