Shop in Adelaide’s Central Market

IMG_9055It is “Throwback Thursday” and this is my last post for my recent adventure in Australia. This shopping experience reminds me so much of the Russian Market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In my Phnom Penh adventures there were many markets, but the Russian Market was the most staggering. It is still the largest market that I have ever experienced for variety and depth. And the bargains! (sigh)  Alas those photos are stored on various crazy discs and not easily accessible. Instead we will feast on this shopping experience just a block from my Hilton Hotel in Adelaide.

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Adelaide’s Central Market is not a place I would go for bargains. However, under one waterproof roof you can find loads of produce, cheese, bread, meat, used books–you name it–someone probably sells it. It is Los Angeles Farmers Market, a flea market and more all rolled under one roof.

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I especially liked how the vendors called out what they had to offer. It made it more fun and I do think it encourages you to make a purchase. California farmers markets are laid back by comparison and lack the energy of this place. And it is open everyday. I bought used books and some cheese and bread for lunch.

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Who can resist cheese?

 

Taste of Cape Town in Adelaide

Since eating at Africola in Adelaide I have been thinking of South Africa. Specifically I have been thinking about flying to Cape Town to see the penguins and to enjoy some time in the bush looking at animals.

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The decor is fun, but my favorite part was the sign on the door that asked patrons to leave quietly out of consideration to the neighbors. Hint, hint Rind in Midtown.

I read about Africola in Travel+Leisure magazine. I made my reservation on a website similar to OpenTable. It gave me the option of a table or at the bar and since I was dining solo–I chose the bar.

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Not sure if you can appreciate the deliciousness of the cauliflower above. It was amazing. I could have just eaten it for dinner. I wish I had the recipe. I even bought cauliflower when I got home at the farmers market. But it just tastes like cauliflower. meh

The service was terrific. With a gin and tonic and dessert my bill was about $65 US. I tipped even if it is not the custom in Australia.

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Got to love a restaurant with Nelson Mandela on the menu and cornbread for all patrons.

If I could eat like this at every evening meal in South Africa I would be very content. South Africa is not in my budget for 2016… Perhaps in 2017.

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Yes this dessert was too chocolatey. Never thought I could say that… it was out of balance. Only misstep all night.

Adelaide’s Downton Abbey: Ayer’s House

I have been moving my home and office since I got back from New Zealand, so I am behind on blogging about my trip. I cannot help but notice that all US social media is leaving a little space (after election coverage) to talk about the last episode of Downton Abbey airing on PBS this Sunday evening. The season traditionally ends with a Christmas episode that plays on Christmas Day in England.–obviously delayed in the USA. I bought Season 6 on Google Play so I have already seen the conclusion and I will not spoil it.

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It did make me think about Adelaide’s equivalent of Downton Abbey: Ayer’s House.

Growing up in California I can relate to places like Adelaide, South Australia. The sprung up, new fortune, scratch-a-community-out-of-the-bush feeling is one I know well. Whether it is a gold rush or agricultural land rush, the place history is not very old and the challenges of creating a “showplace” home to create status in a brand new community is familiar. When I walked up the circular drive to Ayer’s House in Adelaide it felt like a mansion in Grass Valley of another mining tycoon.

This particular tycoon, Henry Ayers, exaggerated his work experience. He was an office clerk but he claimed other skills so he could get a subsidy to emigrate to Adelaide with his wife Anna. He did well with the Burra Burra mines and ultimately served as the Premiere of South Australia five times between 1863 and 1873. He built a huge house in downtown Adelaide near the Botanic Garden. Even now it is gracious.

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The clothes are right for the 1920s Melbourne AND they feel modern.

I went to see it because I saw a flyer on the bookshop window advertising the exhibit of costumes from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I have watched all of the episodes on Netflix and the costumes depicting a wealthy feminist detective and her entourage solving mysteries. Sometimes with television I am disappointed with the reality of a set or costume because the camera can fool you. These costumes are the real deal–recreated couture to emulate the roaring 20’s.

I was ready to join the enthusiast crowd of women who sew or craft to go through the exhibit, but first I stopped and spoke with the docent at the front door. It was he who told me about Henry Ayers and why the house is worth a look even when there is not a fashion display in every room.

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This mermaid costume was worn by Phryne when she was undercover.

To make it more interesting, the museum staff also created a bit of a whodunit to solve while you walked through the rooms. I did not need anymore entertainment as I was completely enraptured with the clothes themselves. Beautifully made from exquisite fabrics, I enjoyed talking to other women who sew about where they source fabric and how hard it is to find. We all laughed because even though we were from USA and Australia, both of our mothers used to look at a garment in the department store and say the equivalent of “You could make it yourself for less.” Now it is quite the opposite. No one can say they are sewing to be thrifty.

This gives full permission to sew as a creative expression. Many of these garments are impractical and designed and executed as a celebration of beauty.

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The show, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, is based on Australian author Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher book series. I have looked for them in the US and have not found them. The gift shop had a new copy of the first in the series Cocaine Blues. I bought it for my Mom. Then when I found a secondhand bookshop at the Central Market I was able to pick up quite a few more in the series. My Mom read them first and now I am reading them. They are not as complex as say Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike series, but neither do you have to worry about gore or upsetting physical violence.  I hope Ms. Greenwood makes her books available electronically in the USA so more people can enjoy them.

If you are interested in fashion that pushes the envelope and is inspiring and beautiful, the check out WOW! The World of Wearable Art dates for 2016 are September 11-October 9 in Wellington, New Zealand. Tickets are available here.

 

 

 

Happy World Wildlife Day

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I am running out of time to celebrate World Wildlife Day! One of my favorite travel purposes is to view and enjoy wildlife doing their wild thing. (Not that, get your mind out of the gutter!) I especially love penguins. I have made a point of viewing penguins whenever I go to New Zealand and now Australia. Most of the time I was not allowed to take photographs, so I went a little crazy and took hundreds of photos of these Fiordland penguins when I had the chance.

My son Tevis is knocking around Asia for the next 9 weeks and he has discovered a fascination with elephants. I understand this. I could watch elephants all day. I have fond memories from the one time I was able to go on a wildlife safari in South Africa. Here he is experiencing elephants at the Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park.

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From salmon swimming upstream, to an echidna meandering or a koala sleeping to a giraffe browsing on tree leaves, they all help me get in touch with wonder and add to my already huge appreciation for God’s creation.

What is your favorite animal to watch in the wild?

Wildlife Safari on Kangaroo Island

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Bachelor kangaroo on KI

Such fun! Another friend suggested a I check out Kangaroo Island (KI) if I was going to be in Adelaide. I debated whether or not to spend a day away from the bike race for a wildlife safari. I am glad I did. It was terrific to spend the day relaxing and viewing the strange and wonderful animals of Australia.

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If you look really closely you may be able to see dolphins playing in the waves.

Signing up for a day trip to KI makes for a long day! I had a 6:15 pick up at my hotel, then a 2.5 hour bus ride to Cape Jervis. Then we boarded the SeaLink ferry for a short ride to Penneshaw. A guide from Kangaroo Island Odysseys picked me up with a family from Italy. Paolo was guiding me until we caught up with my group. All of the vehicles are top rate. We met up with my guide Nikki and I transferred to a smaller group–just one other American couple in a jeep-like vehicle.

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We had a full morning of viewing kangaroos, dolphins, pelicans, and wedgetail eagles before we stopped at Odysseys special camp for a gourmet lunch. We relaxed for a short while before we went on a bush walk on their private reserve and viewed koalas and found an echidna.

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The echidna is like a punked-out hedgehog. Charming!

Our guide, Nikki, was excellent at taking care of every detail and sharing her enthusiasm for KI. We saw so many species on found in Australia and it was delightful. We also learned the history of the island. As we stood watching the sea lions up close on the beach I realized I could drive 3 hours to the Monterey coast and watch California sea lions. Why wait till a big trip? Why not both?

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Nikki Redman is an amazing authority on the flora and fauna of KI. Pointing to a pile of wallaby bones, “Do you know what that is?” No one does. “Wassaby.” 🙂

The tours begin at $415 US and increase depending on size of group. There is also an option to spend the night and includes accommodation. My day was really long because I had the bus ride and ferry (round trip) included in my fee. The couple in my group flew on a small plane from Adelaide so they spent less time in transit (and more money). There may be more affordable ways to see KI, but I am not sure if you drove over (ferry accommodates autos) how much wildlife you would see without a guide.

You can see more photos and learn more about the experiences available on the Kangaroo Island Odysseys Facebook page.

Oh Sweet Adelaide

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Adelaide is much like my hometown of Sacramento–similar size and equally flat and easy to navigate by foot or bike. The main thoroughfare is King William Street and the main street for shopping is Rundle Street or Rundle Mall. On arrival I was keen to find a bookstore so I trundled off to Rundle Mall.

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Dymock’s Bookstore was delightful. I found the books on the shelf of “What Australians are reading…” to be strangely familiar, so I asked Pam for help finding authors with an Australian voice. Plus my seatmate on the flight from Melbourne had given me two names: Tim Winton and Robert Drewe. Pam gave me MANY options and I chose Salt Creek by a local Adelaide author Lucy Treloar. It was an excellent story following the misfortunes of a family on the Coorang. I also thought it would be a great gift for Adelaide-native Kate Bridgman.

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The Botanic Garden is wonderful. It is used by families, friends and lovers as a city park. At the same time it has a wonderful collection of plants and beautifully designed gardens. It is an easy walk from Rundle Mall.

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The East End is a particularly fun section of the City. One night I walked there to have dinner at Africola, a restaurant I read about in my pre-trip research. I loved my experience and if I had not eaten so much amazing cauliflower I would have gone to the corner chocolateria and enjoyed more dessert.

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I was staying at Hilton Adelaide Hotel on Victoria Square. It was the headquarters of the Tour Down Under and race village. Just across the square (or diamond) is the St Francis Xavier Cathedral and the hotel is adjacent to the Central Market.

I realize that most people focus on Sydney or Melbourne when they visit Australia. Brisbane is the current “it” city. Many people visit Adelaide with a focus on the wine country because the nearby Barossa Valley is on par with Napa Valley as one of the world’s great wine growing regions. South Australia is also an ideal place to take a cycling vacation. Adelaide is worth the time and effort.

 

 

 

3 Reasons to Take to the Great Ocean Road

IMG_8729Several friends, when they heard I was visiting Melbourne, urged me to check out the Great Ocean Road. My usual approach is to rent a car and go it alone. Then I noticed on Trip Advisor that there are a number of tour providers. It appealed to me because to really enjoy a coastal road it is helpful if you do not have to keep your eyes on the road.

The awesome part of being a tour group member in a country where they drive on the left: if you grab the shotgun seat you have a beautiful view of the coastline! This road was developed by boosters of tourism after the Great War and employed mainly returning soldiers, fondly called Diggers for their role in digging the trenches. Even today Australian soldiers are sometimes called diggers.

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1. I chose Melbourne Coastal Tours. For a reasonable $130 AUS the company picks you up at your hotel and gives you a full day and then delivers you at a location you request in the central business district (most of our group wanted to be dropped at a restaurant not their hotel). Our tour guide Daryl was excellent and I learned a lot more about Australia’s history and geology than I would have on my own. It is also more fun to explore with other people.

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2. We made frequent stops throughout the day. The first stop for bathrooms and morning tea at a small town on a protected ocean inlet was about 1.5 hours in. After that we stopped about every 30 minutes until we were on our way back to Melbourne. It allowed us to see wildlife, rainforest, and coastal beauty and enjoy shopping, a delicious lunch at La Bimba and hiking. It was a full day!

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3.  The breathtaking beauty is worth the investment of time. Although if you have difficulty climbing steps, your access to the beaches and some of the other stops will be limited.

IMG_8810Melbourne Coastal Tours also does penguin viewing tours of Phillip Island.