The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Around the World (Again) Adelaide Saturday to Monday

Adelaide 30th Nov flight 1404 to Brisbane
I had actually booked out long before 10:00, but Becky gave me a day pass so that I could use all the amenities in the YHA complex until I left.  I had had a good breakfast quite early, I also skyped with Linda just after 06:00 Brisbane time and everything is ok back in Stockelsdorf. I had booked my Airport transfer (it was raining so I had decided against walking to the Roma Transit Centre). I had a second breakfast of banana, pear and blueberry bread and a cup of flat white.
Because of the rain the YHA crew had put on a whole day of films, the first one starting at 12:00 was Nottinghill, I had seen this many years ago and do like Hugh Grant and Julie Roberts so it was no  problem to watch it again. After this I popped out for a bite to eat, I had noticed a nice little Indian restaurant just across from the Victoria Barracks. I decided to give it a try, they had a nice looking set of about 10 readymade, Dahls, Rogan josh goat curries.  I had a the 3 meat curry choice with Basmarti rice and a garlic Naan all washed down with a mango Lassi, well worth the 15 Bucks for the lot.

Eventually it was time to leave the pick-up bus came along I and a few others hopped on after packing our backpacks into the trailer and in half an hour we were at the airport. Brisbane airport is very well situated for the city and the highways North and South.  I had already booked in online, but when I checked my backpack in (only 12kg) I was given another boarding card, I then went through the security, domestic is no way so rigorous as international. I had a wine (well I am on holiday) at the bar and watched a bit of sport on the tele.

Time to get loaded, flight was quite uneventful, though there was a wonderful Sunset over the desert.

We had a bit of head wind so arrived a few minutes late, straight to luggage collection, out got a taxi(loads of them) and straight into town (only 20 minutes even closer than Brisbane). The taxi driver was of Indian origin and we had a good chinwag about the coming Ashes. I was into town in no time at all and got myself booked into the YHA at about 22:00, 6 man room this time, but I suppose that doesn’t matter in the least as you only sleep in the room, the rest of hostel life takes place either in the outdoors or in the kitchen or common rooms. The hostel seemed very empty, funny they had said that it was chocker when I had booked.
I had asked about food at the reception, oh no problem, we have mini market with stuff here if you wish to cook yourself or you can go two blocks down the road and there are all the food outlets.

This was Saturday night so I decided to have a walk, now I know Newcastle on a Saturday night, with gaggles of scantily clad lasses, roaming from club to club, followed closely on their heels are packs of drooling young males (they have changed in the last 20 years, they no longer have holed vest, sawn off jeans and thongs, they are very respectfully dressed). At every club door there is a security type of chappie (why must they all be clad in black and have shaved heads), they are very strict on selling alcohol in Aussie though no doubt the underage drinkers will find ways around it.

The Adelaide YHA
 The old and the new
I had been up all day (I suppose it is better than being up all night) and was feeling it so I found a Turkish kebab shop and had a nice tasty with all the works Donna, I then walked the two blocks back to the YHA, as I approached I saw a load of people sitting on the steps chatting and drinking (illegal of course), one of the lads asked “how was it mate have a good time” my blank stare must have set him thinking and when I said a good time where? He said “on the pub crawl mate”, oh I said,” No I have just arrived in town “(it had been a long day so maybe I was looking a bit worse for wear). I later found out that the YHA arrange with certain pubs for discount and on a Friday or Saturday night they go out mob handed and tour the pubs having a pint in each of the discount bars. I did hear one of my roommates returning at about 03:00 and he certainly was the worse for wear.
I took myself to my bed and  slept soundly (well until 03:00), but I am not easily put off and turned over and slept until my normal waking time of approx. 06:00.

I got up, showered and thought I would give myself a familiarisation tour of first the YHA and then the area surrounding the immediate vicinity, it had been dark last night when I had arrived and everything looks different in daylight. I got myself a map of Adelaide that are provided on a tear off block at reception, it became clear that someone had put a bit of thought into planning Adelaide as it is almost a perfect square and is set out like a chess board, unlike in the states they do not number the streets but do give them names (I find a much simpler system to remember names as opposed to loads of numbers) there are also 5 squares (places of greenery, blue flowering trees and statues), the large one in the centre is called Victoria Square, the one right outside the YHA is called Light Square,  I found out later the reason (on the wine sampling tour, so you will have to wait to find out why).
Adelaide Main Railway station
I returned and had a flat white from machine in the reception area (comfortable settees), I then decided I would go and have a bite of breakfast out and stroll down to see the Adelaide Oval, which would be the scene of the next Ashes Test. 
I was still thinking of going, but accommodation would be the big problem, there was none. As I neared the River Torrens with its black swans and pelicans.



I noticed that not only was a lot of working going on to the King William Road bridge that lead across the river to the Oval, but also the place was crowded with, running, jogging, walking bobbing Santa’s, Santa’s in every shape, size age, colour and creed, all bobbling along, now as my way to the Oval was blocked, I decided to follow a couple, I caught up (they were pushing a pushchair with a baby Santa on board) and asked what was with the Santa’s and was informed it is a yearly event on the first Sunday in December to have a Santa fun run for Variety  a mixture of children’s charities, Bloody Gud on Yer Cobber, I found my way to the finishing area (not hard to find with a couple of thousand bodies all clad in red) and was just in time to see the final few arrive at the finishing line, then there was the presentation ceremonies, no such thing as a winner, there were prizes for the stupidest dressed Santa, the youngest, the most pregnant, all good fun. I got myself a sausage all in the aid of charity, bought myself Gold Heart the symbol of the charity. It now adorns my hat band along with the Munich beer festival krug (a miniature ya bleeding fools).   That done I decided to check out a few of the nice looking buildings (both old and new), so visited first the railway station a fine Victorian building, attached is the Casino built in the same style. There is the ultramodern Convention Centre and exhibition hall, as well as a very modern Festival Centre (just missed Madame Butterfly and will miss Leonard Cohen on the 11th).
Next is the Old Parliament House and then the Government building all built in classic style (not Australian classic as there was not a sheet of corrugated sheeting in sight).
It was then that I noticed a very nice looking Church across the road (those that follow my blog will notice I do like Church architecture). So I popped across the road and saw that here were lots of families and little children going in, I thought it may well be a Carol service, now I am partial to a nice round of Carol singing, so I popped into the porch, a pamphlet was immediately pushed in my hand and another hand was put out to be shaken, “I’m Paul, do come in and take a pew, we are about to start, and you are”?  Now those of you that know me of old will know I was brought up in a very strong Anglican catholic house (High Church, incense, Morning song, Mass and Evensong, with Sunday school threaded in somehow, this every Sunday come sun, rain or hail). So In know a bit about religion, something did not look right in this Church of the Holy Trinity, no organ, but a 7 piece band, no incense, no clergy dressed in Albs and Chasuble’s or servers of the sanctuary dressed in cassocks and surplices, no burning candles, no red light burning above the altar, strange with a name like Holy Trinity I thought that it would at least be a bit Churchy. Then it hit me as Paul, the one that had shaken my hand started to talk from up front, I looked at the pamphlet and there was a photo of him, the Minister now this to me meant one thing and one thing only, “Wor mam” would be turning in her grave, I was amongst Low Church, these were Anglican Episcopalian’s. I was tempted to leave but I being broad minded I decided to stay and hear what they had to say. The first part was the indoctrination of the young, very cleverly done, they were then lead away to their Sunday School, this I remember well.   Then came the adult re-indoctrination, the reading of St Pauls Letter to the Romans (well verses 1 to 17), this of course had to be explained in great detail, with its hidden meanings, twists and turns. All very well, then there came the back slapping how well and how good the church was (they are the missionary wing of the Anglican Church). As I left (I had told Paul that I thought that it was a Carol service and that was the reason why I had entered in the first place, he popped a flyer in my hand about the multi denominational Adelaide Carol service to be held at the Town hall the following Sunday, I said alas I would be down in Port Elliot. But is there no escaping, I was then cordially invited to have Christmas Dinner with one of the parishioners, in fact would I like to come to their house, now I may just take him up on that!

I turned down the offer of meeting the rest of the Happy Slappies for tea  and biscuits,  I have been to too many in my life, though “Wor Mam” would never miss a one, I cannot for the life of me remember what was talked about after the Mass, strange how these important things in one’s life fade first. I headed out and into town as I suddenly remembered that there was football on, round the corner was a sports bar with wall to wall televisions, so I watched the Norwich game and had a few pints and felt all the better for it.

My next move was to find out how I was getting to Port Elliot and from there to Kangaroo Island as I wanted to spend a few days sleeping under the stars  and fishing and cooking a sort of roughing it (though not too far from civilisation).  I had been informed by the reception the only way was to go to Port Elliot and then return to Adelaide, this I thought rather strange as they are only about 20km apart and the round trip would be about 250km. Here is the case never believe the local experts, go and find out. It turned out that you can get a bus to Port Elliot and that there IS a pick up bus that stops at the YHA to take you to the ferry to Kangaroo Island, So there! I then went back to the YHA and informed them of this, they thanked me and said they would put this into their information pamphlet of useful information and what to do! I then booked a wine tasting tour to the Barossa Valley for the next day, it looked just the job a whole day of free drinking (well not really free it cost A$ 93 to get on board). I then popped down to China Town for a quick meal, I think it was just a chicken noodle of something in that vein, I then  went for a pint and popped into the common room to have a bit of a chin wag with some of the other guests. It was then time for beddy byes as tomorrow would be a strenuous day.

Monday 02 Dec

Up with the birds, always am and suppose I always shall. Showered and ready sat down in the foyer at reception drank some coffee and read my SE Asia travel guide.  Then along came the bus, there was another guest from the YHA going along as well, we got on talking, it turned out she was from Donegal, a  place up near the coast called Letterkenny, we had actually passed through it when we went to the Dunfanaghy Oyster festival about 5 years ago, she was amazed that I knew about the town.  Anyway we set off picking up the rest of the tour guests from their Adelaide hotels, that is except a couple that had got stuck in the traffic and was following in a taxi, but because of the traffic had great difficulty of catching us up, but at the last pickup point they finally made it, so all aboard for the wine tour.

Our Guide a young slip of a lass (mid 30s) called Amber, began by telling us a bit about the History and Adelaide came to be where it is where it is and also a lot about the reason for its very sensible structured format.

So before we get started on the wine and you all get to intoxicated I shall give you a potted history of Adelaide.

Adelaide is the only Capital of a state in Australia that was not built with the aid of convict labour or released convicts, this was meant to be Perth, but they told the settlers lies from the UK , when the ships landed there was nothing there for them, they had been promised a everything, but when they arrived they had to make do with tentage. So convict labour was brought from NSW and Queensland to aid in building Perth.

The founding fathers of South Australia were determined that this would not happen with their first city and capital so they actually sold the land to investors and landed Gentry back in great Britain before they had even seen it. But a certain Col Light Surveyor General had been tasked with finding a suitable position and laying out the design of the city (town), so it is this gentleman’s determination, forethought and expertise that Adelaide is in the position and laid out in such a formal manner today. His design was simplicity, a grid system consisting of wide boulevards interspersed between with smaller streets. The city was to have, fine planted squares and be surrounded by a girdle of parklands (the green lung). There is fine farmland in the rolling hills and valleys beyond, this is ideal for fruit, wine and sheep to feed the population and for export. Clever fellow that Colonel Light (he got his first training in the Navy before joining the 4th Dragoons serving with distinction against Napoleons army in the peninsular wars, he later returned to Spain to ward off the second invasion and was badly wounded. He also helped Mohammad Ali (no not boxer) the founder of modern Egypt to form a Navy.

It was originally going to be called something quite different, but William IV got his way and the Capital was named after his wife, the Queen Consort Adelaide von Saxe-Meiniinen. This area has a very strong German population, due to the city offering land to the persecuted Protestants (Lutherians) from East Prussia and it still is today, there is even a wonderful little German town called Hahndorf, that is more German than many German towns in Germany , it was actually named after a Dane, (who was born in Westerland on the Island of Sylt which was at that time Danish) the Captain of the Zebra  Meinhertz Hahn (sounds pretty German to me though).

Right enough of the history let’s get back to today’s happenings.
The road traced the flow of the river Terrane as it winds its way up through the wooded hills interspersed with farming pastures and fruit trees (it is here that the cherries that will grace the tables of Australia at Christmas will most likely come.

Our first stop was for a cup of coffee at the largest Rocking Horse in the world, you can also pay 2 dollars and climb to the top of the horse (I wonder if the Greeks had to pay to get into the one at Troy), it is here that wooden toys are made (I didn’t go into the shop either as I think I have out grown wooden toys). Into the bus (Amber was keeping us to a tight schedule) our stopped off was  famous(they said so, not I) for its dried fruits, the farm shop was in a small town called Anguston.

But I did here buy a bag of Müsli for no other reason than I needed some.

Into the bus and away we jolly well went, Amber giving us the patter (very interesting patter, she should try doing this for a living). We at last entered the Barossa Valley for real, here they came miles and miles, sorry Kilometre upon Kilometre (Australia is metric, may be some others should try it!) of vines, you name it they have it, of course many are heavily influenced by the German influence (they being the first settlers in the region).
The first German settlers actually came from Silesia in what is now Poland, but was in the Mid 1800’s part of Prussia. The had been offered passage (500 families) on board three ships chartered by the then South Australian Company (who had been tasked by the British Government to settle the colony), these settlers where farmers and so tried various crops until they settled on Vines (Silesia is not known for its wine). They being Germans tried the Riesling vine, this took like a duck to water to the sunny, coolish winters and the hot arid Summers. In fact it was a little too good and had a dark brownish hue due to the high sugar content , they therefore done what they did in the Rheinland home of the Riesling, turn it into Spirit, Brantwein or Brandy.  About the same time they had been experimenting with other vine types and had found the Shiraz and Grenache was doing very well, they added some of this brandy to the Shiraz and hey ho  the Australian fortified wine industry was born (Port style fortified wines). The wine industry in Barossa  went through a hard time as red wines from cooler regions like Coonawarra started to predominate the market. But lady luck as always plays a part, along came a little the little beastie Phylloxera this decimated the European and the holy of holies of wines the French vineyards. They became relient on imported wine for a good few years until they were able to get their wine production on the go again (they used resistant roots and grafted their vine on top). The Phelloxera did not destroy the Australian vines and so to this date Australia has some of the oldest in the world.   

Oops sorry slipped into a bit of history! Wonderful what you can find out in Libraries.

Now where was I, ah yes the vineyards, we passed Penfolds and Jacobs Creek, these are I suppose the most famous of the Barossa Valley wine producers, but an up and coming one is Wolfs Blass, this is one of the largest of the small producers, but has been taken over by Mildara to become Mildara Blass, this was then taken over by the Fosters group and Rothbury group (A fine Northumbrian name if ever there was a one). It is a very young winery only formed in 1966 by a young German called Wolfgang Blass, he had little money but a vision, and he coined a saying that his wines would “ make strong women weak and weak men strong”, he also said that Barossa should produce what it did best and produce full bodied Shiraz. He also said that no table wine of over 15% should ever win a medal , anywhere in the World.
We arrived, we sampled and as it was the first, a lot of sensible conversation took place, I had been chatting with a nice couple from San Francisco, this of course degenerated into a slurring later on the tour, enough to say at the moment we were all budding sommeliers (some more budding than others). We sampled about 6 or was it 7 various wines and those that had filled in a form saying we wanted more information and gave your e-mail address got to taste the real top notch drop, from the barrel (I did, I would sell my soul for a drop of poitín).

Time to leave we needed photographs with the eagle and I managed a one against the entrance wall. 

Amber was driving a hard bus, but she kept on with the facts and figures, I was able to keep up with her at this point. She then informed us that our next port of call would be lunch, she had handed round a list earlier and everyone had ticked what they wanted for lunch; it was a two course with a salad bar (so really a three course if you piled your salad plate up, wink, wink, we backpackers know these things). We arrived at the Vine Inn (original eh!), it was a very respectable place and we were ushered to our tables, I ordered a bottle of white New Zealand Marlboro pinot blanc ( I love to see the Aussies squirm). I had ordered the Kangaroo, this came with mash and a nice pepper sauce, you could then helped yourself to potatoes and cauliflower cheese (which I did). The meal was way above my expectations, I have been on these type of jaunts before and the meals are not of the finest quality, this was also not of the finest quality, but it was way above average. The meat wonderful and juicy (you cannot eat kangaroo anything above medium, and I really mean you cannot eat it, it is like a lump of shoe sole) full of taste and the cauliflower has still a bit of bite, the spuds also well cooked. The Kiwi wine just rounded it off.

For dessert I thought the Apple Strudel, I am so glad that they called it that as it was anything but Apfelstrüdel, it was but a roll of puff pastry with an apple filling no thin blatterteig spread with apple, raisins, sprinkled with spices of the orient and brown sugar. It came with a squirt of cream (you know what I mean and I mean not nice). I had expected in this area with its strong Germanic heritage to at least get some warm vanilla sauce, nope a dollop of reconstituted oils and fats with artificial colouring, I was disappointed.   

We all trooped onto the bus once again, that wine was going down well, we now headed for the next watering hole, and this was a small producer called Kaesler, here one discovers the difference between a larger producer who can afford to employ Somliers to give you their undivided attention (even though it is in a group) and know their stuff. Here was a small counter  and only one lady, who though certainly knowing her wine was flitting from guest (s) to Guest(s), though this did not5 do a lot to getting information about the specific wines, it did have the  plus point in that you could always pour yourself another drop when she went to the other end of the counter (not that I would ever even think of doing such a dastardly thing, no not I, it was the German couple from München that I was now attached to).

They also had a wine called the “Old Bastard” and have a post card to prove it (I shall be sending a one to my children).  The name actually has a meaning, it was not only thought up in jest, but is from one of the oldest if not the oldest vine in the valley (sounding a bit like Great Brittain). Right that was it off we go, Amber could I just finish this glass of Shiraz, won’t be a sec, thanks you are a lovely driver.




The next winery was a one that produced a “Port” it is called Grant Burge, it doesn’t only produce “Port” but this is its claim to fame, by now all decorum was lost and the traveling sommeliers had become more like the Traveling Wallabies and had no qualms of asking for seconds or even can you put a drop more in the glass luv. I am no longer going to try and explain about the velvet texture of the wines, or its peach and mulberry flavour, as by this stage, my palate was a fudge of differing tastes and I could not have told you if it was chateau aechim  or a bottle of Broon that was trickling down my throat.

The next and last was my favourite, Kies, not because it was a vineyard of distinction, or even had excessively knowledgeable sexy ladies behind the bar (notice how low we are stooping), but it was a hole in the wall type of place, the walls festooned with all manner of bric-a-brac most of which had little or nothing to do with the wine trade.

The sun was hot by this time and it was making me feel a little drowsy (did I hear you say something about amount of wine may be?). I took a couple of photos, of Jacquie (she’s the lass from Letterkenny, remember)playing with the vines and miniature grapes.  There was also a tea room at this place, but who needs tea on trips like these, we headed for our last stop, nothing at all to do with wine, well I suppose it does in reality as without water there would be no vines), it was the whispering wall, this is the dam wall and because of its shape if someone stands at one side and speaks quite quietly people at the other end can hear quite plainly. I did not want to take part in this nonsense as I have done at various structures at various places throughout the world, the most famous being the whispering gallery at St Pauls Cathedral, I also wanted to take some pictures of the dam and reservoir and I needed a pee.

That concluded our days entertainment, it was all a bit of a blur by late afternoon, but I suppose that is the idea of the exercise, if you wanted to do an honest to god wine tasting (like at Dirk’s for those that know him) you do not tour the country of South Australia with a bus load of lushes getting your monies worth, but it was fun.

I didn’t buy any wine (I think I had consumed quite sufficient without having to BUY any), but I did buy a wine pourer with a cooling piece and aerator, I will see if I can get that home or if it manages to become separated from me, I also bought some drop stoppers, I bought these as souvenirs as they had the Wolfs Blass emblem on them.

I must stop now as by popular request I am going to post this tonight. (Popular from Mrs Smith (Berlin Division) and the Girls at Dräger). I am at the moment writing this on the bus from Adelaide to Port Elliot and also needs to get the photos down sized it is not an easy life being a traveling correspondent for the daily nowt!  

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