SA Day 2: Wandering to the Barossa

 Having woken occasionally in the night to the sound of rain pelting down on our roof, we weren’t expecting to awake to a world of sunlight and warmth.  Which is good as we didn’t.  Being on holiday, we enjoyed the luxury of staying in bed past the time we would usually be in our offices, then got up, checked out, and hit the street.  The first order of business was to get to the post to send Swedish chocolates off to my parents.  Then we had a mission.

Scott has food fantasies.  When we travelled in the US he fantasised about enormous portions of good but deathly unhealthy foods, stacks of pancakes so large he could only eat an infinitesimal part, and home made pies that were so good it made him cry.  The reality didn’t really meet his fantasies.  We did have an enormous meal or two; I remember one Mexican meal we took leftovers from that lasted us for 2 more meals.  He had some decent but not gigantic pancakes.  However the only ‘homemade’ pies we ever had definitely came from the kitchens of people who used tinned pie filling.

Scott’s Hahndorf food fantasy was for decadent German pastries.  Not some soggy supermarket pastry, but for something flaky and luscious.  We’d done a bit of research in the dark the night before, however none of the bakeries or cafes we passed seemed like they’d have what we were looking for.  Disturbingly, as we passed one of the pubs on the way to to the Post we saw some very convincing looking pastry, but that just seems wrong.  It’s the pub!

Scott asked the woman at the post for a recommendation, and between coughs and wheezes she mentioned one or two of the places we’d passed and ruled out as well as Otto’s, at the other end of town.  So we headed down there for a look.  To be honest I wasn’t terribly impressed by the looks of the place, however it turned out the pastries were good and the coffee was great.  Hahndorf was settled in 1839, so I assumed that the town was banking on a German-ness that had long since been Australianised, however the baker at Otto’s is (according to his daughter who works behind the counter) from Germany.  It made for a pleasant breakfast. 

Caffeinated and back on the wild main street of town, we enjoyed the autumn colour and noted a bit more about the buildings of the place.  Aside from the stone-with-heavy-mortar-and-brick-framed-walls style we had seen in Adelaide, there were two other things that seemed distinctive to the area: fachwerk and huge columns on porches.  The fachwerk had a distinctly local flavour: between the timbers would be the same style of stone and heavy mortaring we’d seen in other buildings.  I wondered if these were more modern buildings, which had been done  in a half-timbered style when the town thought it could cash in on it’s German heritage and grab some tourists’ dollars, however they seemed to be of a genuinely old.

Odd Architecture in Hahndorf

Check out the half timbering with stone! The Art Deco top to the building makes this one particularly 'special'.

The other distinctive architectural folly of the town was a habit of putting large, elaborate columns onto porches that must be more decorative than structural.  Large, wide columns – that support only the most modest of beam.  We saw this several times on Main Street and thought it was a local peculiarity, however as we travelled around we saw it everywhere – in the Barossa, in Adelaide CBD.

Asian Restaurant in Hahndorf 

A House in Hahndorf

Scott was interested in going to the candle maker’s shop, however they weren’t open yet – so we took a walk to another cache.  It wasn’t apparent how to get there from Main Road, so we ventured into some of the back streets of Hahndorf (yes – there were some!).  I must say the stone buildings and autumn leaves were most fetching.  Of course I decided I’d get the cache first and take photos later, however once we were at the cache site it was apparent that there was easy pedestrian access over a creek,so we didn’t Lottie Loves Budgiespass that way again.  By now the candle maker was open, so we looked around, I spent quite a bit of time petting the dogs and wondering what Lottie was doing.  (Most likely she was busy watching Naomi’s budgies.)   In the end we wound up getting two stained glass/ Moroccan-ish candle holders.  As our major purchases at Ikea the day before had been a candelabra and a lamp, we decided to name our trip the Luminosity Tour.

With our Hahn now truly Dorfed (Am I the only person who seems to think this town name translates to something like ‘Chicken Village’ and is therefore rather comical? Sorry Captain Dirk Hahn.), we were ready to head on.  We had no plans other than to make it to Tanunda, where I’d booked our accommodation for the night.  So I just told the GPSr to head there and we just drove and picked up caches as we came across them.  We were driving through hilly, agricultural land.  In the rain.  Occasionally the rain would REALLY pelt down – usually when I was headed to a geocache and had left my Gortex in the car.  But the drive was pleasant and beautiful.  A bit rainy to photograph well; lots of raindrops on the windscreen and sideways rain when outside the car!

Autumn in the Barossa

Galahs, huddling together in the cold and rain

Even the natives wanted to huddle from the rain!

 

We arrived in Tanunda in early afternoon.  Nothing exciting food-wise struck us in town, so we headed out to Maggie Beer’s, which Scott had visited on his brief trip to South Australia in November.  We had a pleasant lunch of yummy nibbles – a collection of pates, chutneys, cheeses, breads, etc. with quality coffee.  Her farm shop has views over an artificial dam, which I’m sure is gorgeous in sunny weather but which looked grey and cold and made our seats indoors all the more cosy.  We headed on after tasting her other products and after I took a silly number of photos of peacocks and different varieties of pheasants.

Peacock at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop  Lunch at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop 

When Scott was last in South Australia, he and his brother-in-law and sister took their mum on a wine tasting bus trip to the Barossa.  Scott’s favourite winery was Langmeil, not just for their delicious wine but also because he was impressed by their vines – some of the oldest in the world.  When we first arrived at the winery, Scott took me on a walk to see the old vines.

Langmeil Winery's Old Vines
Langmeil’s Old Vines: from the plaque on site  ‘One of the early settlers of the area to emigrate from Europe was Christian Auricht, a blacksmith. He and his family arrived in South Australia from Prussia in 1839 and in 1842 secured land in the Barossa Valley.  Like many of their countrymen they came because of persecution, political turmoil and war, seeking freedom of worship, peace and contentment.  By 1843 Auricht had built a small pug home for his family and planted some of his first vines.  This is the site fo that early home.  His adjacent vineyard still produces premium fruit.’

Langmeil WinerySince we were at a winery, we did some wine tasting.  Tough job and all that.  It was great.  Not only were the wines delicious, but it was cold and wet outside and warm and cosy inside.  Our favourites were the Blacksmith Cabernet, Orphan Bank Shiraz, and The Freedom 1843 Shiraz.  It was a bit cold to get too excited about white, but the Eden Valley Riesling was nice too.  Scott got 2 bottles of the old vines wine, one Orphan Bank and one Freedom.  We didn’t want to get any more and have to carry it back on the flight home.

 

It was getting late, but we headed to Tanunda Castle Winery.  We doubted the tasting room would be open, however when the sign was still out at the road we headed in for a look.  They were just closing so we just had a look at the building, which in any case was what Scott wanted me to have a look out; from his experience in November he said Langmeil’s wine were much better anyway.
 Tanunda Castle Winery   Tanunda Castle Winery   Tanunda Castle Winery
Hmmm. . .what to do, what to do?  Wineries closing, too early for dinner – time for some caching!  We grabbed a few finds around the town, my favourite being Tanunda Swings 😉.  Very simple cache set by my friend Cached; it just sits there with its camo and proves what muggles don’t see!  When it got a bit too dark and wet to make the caching pleasant we headed to our accommodation.  Nothing exciting, but at least it was warm and dry!  Scott decided to get take-away, so headed out on that mission.  There wasn’t a great deal of choice, so he came back with some pizza and lasagna.  Then we had another evening of listening to rain hitting the roof.

SA Day 1: Hobart to Hahndorf

As is traditional for Tasmanians headed to the mainland for a long weekend, we woke up early to make it to the airport in time for the 6 am flight.  (Note for non-Tasmanians: arriving at Hobart ‘International’ Airport half an hour early for a flight is more than enough time!)  And as is also usual for Tasmanians, the gent seated next to us on the flight to Melbourne recognised us; he was one of the cyclist friends of the bloke who’d come off his bike near our car at Shoobridge Bend.

It’s a short flight to Melbourne, we had a short transfer in Melbourne, and it’s a short flight from there to Adelaide, so even with the 1/2 hour time difference we were in Adelaide by 9 am local time.  We only had one checked bag, which was the 3rd to appear on the baggage carousel.  The car rental counter was just a few steps away, so I soon had the info about our reservation out, then we went to the office outside to pick up the keys.  We were on the road and free to go where our fancy took us by 9:10!

Ikea Adelaide!And where did our fancy take us?  Firstly to the cache Flat Pack, which was in the car park of – yes, you guessed it – Ikea.  After finding the cache we proceeded inside for breakfast.  And then we went through Ikea.  Scott and I enjoyed ourselves.  There were so many brilliant things we couldn’t possibly get on our flight home.  So we were restrained, however this stop also set the theme for the purchases we would make on the trip:  it became the Illumination Tour.  I got a lamp, and Scott got a candelabra – and some vases.

Chocolate Then we hit the food section.  My mum had commented on some  Swedish chocolates I posted a photo of on Flickr (Lye Yee and Clayton gave them to us), so I picked up a couple boxes of those for them.  And a couple more for Scott and I.  We also got some Daim chocolates and Annas Pepparkakor.  Warning: both are HIGHLY addictive.

Our Ikea needs taken care of for the moment, we headed off to Adelaide Central Market so I could grab my first ever webcam cache!  I loved the markets.  I love seeing gorgeous looking fruit, hundreds of different cheeses, stacks of different loaves.  We’re not the sort of people to do a huge shop at a large chain grocery store once a week.  We usually get what we need for dinner on the way home from work, and I prefer to stop at smaller shops.  When I lived in Paris, I loved going to the market street in my university’s neighbourhood; I don’t see anything wrong with stopping at a different place for the different types of groceries you need if it’s conveniently located.  This market was just my sort of place!

I had my misgivings about logging the webcam cache.  Online it switches between several different webcams in the market.  I had watched it for a little while once to try to get some landmarks I could recognise, so I found one of these and stood there while logging onto the internet using my netbook.  My timing was stunning; the webcam being broadcast when I went to the website just happened to be the one I was standing in view of!  I quickly grabbed the image – hooray!

Toledo: Honest Weight at the Adelaide Central Market Adelaide Central Market Adelaide Central Market Adelaide Central Market

We weren’t ready for lunch, so we headed off for a walk outside to explore / cache.  It had been raining when we landed, but the sky was now sporting some blue.  We walked from cache to cache, and of course I spent the walk juggling my camera and GPSr and wishing I had more sets of eyes to watch the arrow, read the descriptions, and check out buildings.

I’ve been through South Australia before but not into Adelaide.  When my father and Tante Sandra came to Australia in 1997, we came through SA between visiting Uluru and the Grampians.  But our trip was more about seeing the bush than cities (especially as we were camping), so we avoided Adelaide.  (And Melbourne, and Brisbane. . .)  So it was interesting to see Adelaide – and especially as now I see it through ‘Tasmanian’ eyes.  The architecture is definitely Australian, however with local differences.  In Hobart our older buildings are pretty much all sandstone.  Adelaide has its share of them, but buildings seemed to be more commonly made of non-sandstone stone walls with heavy grouting and with bricks surrounding the windows and ‘framing’ the walls.

Building in Adelaide

We found a few caches and wandered in the sunshine, getting wet bottoms when sitting on benches to log caches as it was hard to remember that a short time before it had been pouring with rain!  One of the spots we visited was Light Square, named after Colonel William Light.

Colonel Light was one of Adelaide’s founding fathers and deserves at the very least a mention here.  Adelaide is a planned city, with the site on the Torrens River and layout by Light.  Adelaide has a grid design interspaced by wide boulevards and many public squares.  It is then entirely encircled by parkland, which survives to this day (unlike in other planned cities).  It really makes for a fetching and easily navigated city.    Just when you’re getting tired of walking through blocks of city, there’s a square or park with some green and usually some interesting sculpures to divert you.  And, well, a geocache.

The Knot

Modern Sculpture at Light Square

We worked our way back towards the markets and wandered through a sort of Asian section adjacent to it to the west.  I was looking for a certain type of Vietnamese lunch that I haven’t found in Tasmania, however we passed a Japanese lunch restaurant that looked too appealing to pass on, so we had udon soups for lunch.Lunch at Domotachi

Lunch finished, we had to get another cache at the markets.  I didn’t think we’d find it as it had a few DNFs and it wasn’t in a spot with great reception but find it we did!  However while we did this it started to pour down with rain again.

Scott really wanted to visit the Adelaide Botanic Gardens at some point during the trip.  We debated going to them now in spite of the rain, but in the end decided against it.  We would be back in town on Saturday and have part of Sunday before heading home; if one of those days had better weather it would be nice.  And it’s doubtful it could rain harder than it was at this point!

So the new plan was to cache our way towards Hahndorf, where I’d booked accommodation for the night.  We did a few, had some adventures knowing exactly where we were and where we wanted to go – but not always which lane to be in!  Eventually the early wake-up was beginning to tell, so when the cache Crazy Urban Caching turned out to be located right outside a cafe, we went inside for a coffee stop.  They were understaffed, however the coffee was good and it was warm and dry inside.  A nice break.

Caching our way towards Hahndorf also involved picking up a few puzzles I’d solved while planning the trip.  Gadding in Glenside was the first of these, which is rather appropriate as I think it was the first of the puzzles I solved.  We did a few other caches in the neighbourhoods along the way, then decided to do the short walk to WTF: Muggle Deception Techniques.  The weather was behaving when we parked the car, so we decided to risk it and leave the Gortex behind.  So of course just as we arrived at GZ it absolutely bucketed down with rain!  However it wasn’t too cold, we were on holiday, and we could see the humour in the situation so we headed back to the car in a cheery, if wet, mood.  I could even muster up a big grin for the cyclist who said ‘Nice weather for it’ as he zipped past.

Only 1395 km to Sydney

We continued on to GZ of the puzzle cache Gridlock.  It didn’t seem the idea hide to me; difficult to park near and up a crumbly embankment.  But having solved the puzzle I certainly wasn’t going to give it a miss when I was that close to it!

We continued on Hahndorf-wise.  When planning the trip I’d thought hitting the cache Lofty Peaks #1 would be a good idea as it’s a drive-by on top of a mountain so hopefully would have a nice view.  We went up despite the pouring rain and were rewarded with views of the inside of clouds.  But we also found another cache and had a short, moist walk in the bush.

Onward to Hahndorf!  We arrived and the plan was to find our motel before heading out to look at the town.  The motel was nowhere near where it had been shown on maps, and as practically no buildings had numbers on them we drove through town without finding it.  Back  into town we went, parked in the middle hoping the tourist info place could help, but then realised the motel was behind some of the buildings on main street – right there in the middle.  We checked in, then headed out for a walk around town in the dusk.  With shops closing and no other destination  in mind but to wander, I of course thought some caching was in order.  First we went to a multi which my awake-at-4:30am mind just couldn’t take (sorry, but multis that seem to make you do obscure maths for no real reason annoy me), then we went to a traditional that we DNFed.  But I was happy enough wandering up and down the town.  It was rather lovely in a ‘rainy but lovely yellow autumn leaves’ kind of way.

Autumn in Hahndorf

Autumn in Hahndorf

On the way back to the motel we visited a bottle shop and got some very nice ‘Bird in Hand * Two in the Bush’ Merlot Cabernet, Mt Lofty Ranges.  It was dark but a bit early for dinner, so I had a shower then we watched Grand Designs while having a glass of the red.  Very nice drop.

We’d already checked out menus during our earlier walk, so we headed off to the German Arms Hotel.  We hadn’t realised Thursday is their $10 schnitzel night, so it was rather busy.  However we had nowhere else to be, and it was warm and faintly sauerkraut-smelling.  We shared Rindsrouladen (German style aged beef, rolled and filled with wood smoked bacon, mustard, gherkin, onion, matured cheese, poached in Cooper’s Stout & served on a bed of sauerkraut accompanied by rhine potatoes) and Chicken Krakau (chicken breast filled with smoked cheese, polish wurst, wrapped in smokey bacon & capped with a rich cream sauce made from the juices of the pan).  I took photos but won’t include them; German food isn’t the most visually appetising!

And so ended Day 1 of our trip to South Australia.  Of course on the way back to the motel I tried taking a few night photos; none of them were terribly good but at least I amused myself.

SA Prelude: Snuva's Evil Plan!

OK, this post is a bit of a cop out!  Yes, I haven’t even gotten Day 1 of our long weekend to South Australia finished.  I haven’t even finished logging geocaches!  However since the post draft had a rather long intro before I even had us leaving Hobart, I decided to separate it out into this post.  Just to try your patience and ability to read boring blogs without falling asleep.

For our 3rd wedding anniversary, I decided to surprise Scott with a trip to the mainland.  I try not to mention a lot of the unhappy things in this blog, but I’ll just say that by coincidence since our wedding we haven’t had the bestest of luck and have been through some rather difficult times.  As these things have kept us from doing much travel or even getting out for as much camping and bushwalking as we like to do, I thought a break from it all was in order!!

So one day almost on a whim I contacted Scott’s manager to negotiate a couple days off for him, then booked some flights to Adelaide before she could change her mind!  I didn’t really know what we might want to do in Adelaide.  The reason I chose Adelaide is that Scott had been there last year when his parents were in an accident, and he hadn’t had an opportunity to see much .  There were many places and people in South Australia that I would have liked to visit, but as we were only going for a long weekend I thought it would be best to not stray too far from Adelaide.  I booked our accommodation and a car, but left everything else free and loose.  Oh – and made certain I had enough Pocket Queries to cover caches we might pass. 

One extremely important question that needed answering was ‘who would look after Lottie?’.  I’ve never put a dog into a kennel, and although one had been recommended to me (and I’m sure they do a great job) I just hated the idea of it.  Luckily in the end I didn’t need to!

Ever since I’d met Naomi we’ve been meaning to get our dogs together for a play.  One day in April we finally met up at 7 Mile Beach, and Flynn and Lottie enjoyed playing together.  During the drive home after their gallop together on the beach, I think Lottie might have used the words ‘love’ and ‘Flynn’ in the same sentence, however it was difficult to tell as she was falling asleep from exhaustion after all the running and excitement. 

Lottie & Flynn at 7 Mile Beach

Flynn & Lottie at 7 Mile Beach

To make certain things would be OK on Flynn’s home turf, I also took Lottie around to his house for a visit.  They played and shared a water bowl quite happily, and Lottie discovered another great thing about Flynn’s house: he had budgies!  Lottie loves budgies – wow, birds in the house!!

Lottie Loves Budgies

Lottie Loves Budgies!

To top things off, Flynn’s person Naomi even fell ill just before we were leaving so she was home with Lottie the whole time we were gone.  I didn’t infect her drinking glass at work; really!

So we were all ready to go!   

12 of 12, May 2009

7 of 12: Team Meeting12 photos taken on the 12th of May. As usual with these, it wasn’t an exciting day. This month documents a typical work day. The only thing out of the ordinary is some preparation for a long weekend in Adelaide, hence the cheesecake & chocolate mouse construction, Lottie’s bath, errands, and some netbook action at lunch.

Note: if you would like to see the images bigger on Flickr, click on ‘slideshow’ (upper right); once in the slideshow you can select ‘Show Details’  if you would like to see titles and descriptions.

Random Autumn Ramblings

I’ve been up to. . .well, stuff.  Some fun things, but somehow I’m not in a wordy enough mood for any of them to merit a post on their own.  Partly laziness on my part; partly because I don’t know if a really short post is just too boring or preferable to silence.  Anyway, some of the things Snuva’s been up to recently are:

  • Flip Navigatingpjamesk’s 2nd annual combined Hunt and Munch / CITO events!  I teamed up with the DDTs and had a great time.  This event combines a bit of a scavenger hunt / cache-in-trash-out (or rally racing, depending upon how mad or competitive you are.).  This was held the day after ANZAC Day, which had been an incredibly rainy day, however we lucked out and had one of those perfect, sparkly Hobart autumn days.
  • WineDinner at The Cornelian Bay Boathouse.  Scott and I wanted to check out their ‘Mini Monday’ (3 courses for $35).  It was a nice way to spend a Monday evening.
  • Misty and Lottie going a bit madDara’s Farewell Pary.  My friend Dara is going overseas for 2 years, so Lottie and I went up to Launceston for her farewell party.  I really enjoyed myself, but I think Lottie had the bestest time ever: people kept feeding her.  She’d just do her ‘I’m such a quiet, well behaved dog’ act and magically food would appear.  And MullinitOvr (Dara’s mum) catered well!  The next day we went to Grada’s place, and again it was Lottie heaven.  Grada has a well-fenced property and a dog, so Lottie joyously ran wild with Misty.

Next week Scott and I are off to Adelaide.  It was supposed to be a surprise anniversary present for him, but the cat got let out of the bag a bit earlier than I’d planned.  So maybe I’ll have something interesting to blog about!  😉