Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Grand Slam Plan - "I come from Yorkshire..."

This morning's run is a hot one. Overnight the temperature has soared by 10 degrees and even at 8.30 am it's a scorcher. The city is buzzing because today is the Tour Down Under - the Aussie equivalent of the Tour de France and it finishes here in Adelaide. My run takes me down to the start/finish and food stalls are set up in the park with plenty of stuff for the kids.

Once I'm back and showered we head out for breakfast at the Adelaide Gallery where we can sit outside in the shade and read the papers whilst enjoying a modest breakfast. Then it's off to the Press Photography Exhibition at the State Museum. The photographs are inspirational - from sport to war, refugee crises to medical triumphs - definitely worth a look. Meanwhile, outside, the temperature is climbing into the mid-thirties.

Heading through the crowds in the park for the cycling, we cross the river to the Adelaide Oval. Five minutes on foot from the city centre - now that's the place to put a stadium. It's a really magnificent stadium and we decide - well, I do - that we'd like the tour. But because of the cycle race, a rather serious (grumpy) young man in charge says that there will be no more tours today. Now, you will know that I don't take 'No' very kindly so whilst my man with the camera went for a wee, I headed into the other office - this one offers roof top tours. Now I don't want to put on a climbing suit and boots but I do want to go up top and take a photograph so here's how it goes...

"Hi, can you help me? I've come all the way from Yorkshire - the home of cricket, home of Joe Root and Tim Bresnan. My son loves cricket and we just want to go up high enough in the stands to take a photograph. Can you take us?... Please?... Are you crumbling yet?" He crumbled. He took us up to the top of the stands to take some great pics. It was pointed out to me by my travelling companion that I had completely embarrassed myself but at least I didn't get as far as Geoffrey Boycott.

By the time we get outside it is properly roasting. We walk back up through the packed streets and decide that rather than boil in the heat to watch the cyclists go past in a nano-second, we will pack our bags and drive up the coast. The city sprawls unattractively for miles along the coast and whereas the centre of the city and the residential areas are charming, the miles and miles of discount stores, casinos, fancy dress shops (yes, really!) and tyre warehouses are depressing, but eventually we arrive at Wilunga - a lovely family beach of almost Portuguese proportions where we toast in the sun before joining the flocks of Adelaide weekenders eating at the Star of Greece. Delicious salt and pepper squid with chips and salad in the sun.

Then we wibble our way back along the coast road, rather than the main road, to the city. Too full and too tired to eat out we find the hotel guest laundry and do the necessary but we do make a short outing to Scrolls, just behind the hotel. Scrolls is a Vietnamese ice cream parlour where you choose the flavour of your ice cream and they make it before your very eyes on the freezing equivalent of a griddle, pouring cream onto the frozen surface which immediately freezes. Then it gets wrapped into scrolls, hence the name, and put into a pot. Delicious!

Night all!

Monday is the designated wine tasting day - yes, another one! - and without even pausing for brekkie we are on the road to the Barossa Valley and wine heaven. As soon as we reach an area where vines grow on both sides of the road for as far as the eye can see, one of us becomes very excitable!

First it's time to stop for brunch or 'carb-up' big style. The little town of Lyndoch lies near Humbug Scrub Hill (seriously contemplating renaming our home and environs with so many great names here)  and boasts a sweet coffee shop which does an excellent French toast and fruit and a lot of cooked breakfast options to fill even the largest tums. While we are parking the car, I notice a lot of knitting...?! On telegraph poles, bins, road signs...woolly mice, spiders, striped scarves and even SpongeBob SquarePants! Once we've ordered, I have to ask the waitress what it was all about. Yarnbombing, apparently, in honour of the Tour Down Under. Remember all those yellow jerseys folks knitted in Yorkshire - well, similar but more random. Yarnbombing - I like the idea! It would make a change from the Scarecrow Festival...

Then it's back on the road to find the first of the wineries recommended by the waitress in the tapas bar. Miles and miles of vines, interspersed with the occasional small town and signs identifying which winery we are passing. Finally we luck on Tscharke which was the most highly recommended and spend an hour tasting at this organic winery in the company of Skye whose tattoos and piercings might suggest to you that she wasn't a wine expert. Appearances can be deceptive - she was very knowledgable indeed and there is a danger that I am turning into Gilly Goolden - 'I'm tasting red fruit, burnt sugar, toffee, turkish delight' - yes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Meanwhile, the proper wine buff in the partnership is asking all the intelligent questions about irrigation and composting! Skye looks at our list and sends us on to Sieber Wines which is beautiful and our host very welcoming.

Even the boss agrees that two wineries is enough and we head back to Adelaide using the 'path less travelled'! Now, this seriously drives Mavis, the sat-nav, round the bend - literally! We've been on dirt tracks, single track roads and the sides of gorges. At one point, looking for a town called Cudlee Creek we are sent down a No Through Road where the gate at the end had been spray painted with the word Fools! Clearly this is a regular sat-nav meltdown spot!

Back at the hotel we discover that in Adelaide, not a lot is open on a Monday night and every restaurant we check out on the internet isn't open. Then we find Hide 'N Seek, a Thai restaurant not far away where the decor is basic but the food sublime. Crying Tiger (probably Weeping Tiger back home) is superb. More ice cream on the way home? Well, I don't mind if I do - this is, after all, the ice cream capital of Australia.

Tomorrow we move on the Melbourne and even without Murray, I am properly excited!

No comments:

Post a Comment