Glenelg. The longest palindromic named seaside town?


The Australian beer consumed the night before was meant to get me tired enough to sleep through anything.  A combination of the world’s nosiest road and the world’s worst bedroom window had other plans for me.  I was up around 6am and decided that left over baklava and instant coffee would be my best route to a good day.  It certainly wasn’t the worst start to a day!  It was weird sitting in the dark waiting for the family to wake up while listening to the evening news on the BBC.
As the rest of the gang woke up and made their way down for breakfast, the junior team members sat and watched YouTube on my daughter’s laptop while, at the same time, looking at whatever they were playing on their phones.  It’s weird how the young ones seem to be unable to focus on one single device for more than about 2 minutes. The only thing stranger than this is their reactions if you try to highlight it.  I wouldn’t bother if I were you, it’s not safe.  To be fair to them, it kept them quiet on the plane for 24 hours and I wasn’t complaining so maybe it wasn’t the best time to start now.

Washed and dressed, we were heading to the beach today.  We walked into town and picked up the tram from the first stop but, as we were heading all the way through to Glenelg on the coast, we had to pay for the tickets.  As with most public transport systems, apart from the Newcastle Metro I am quick to add, you were not able to purchase multiple tickets for your party in one transaction.  I ended up buying five separate day tickets in what became a marathon of button pressing and debit card tapping.

A kind old gent got on as I was part way through this and told us that we had to validate the tickets too.  This involved pushing the ticket into a validating machine whereupon a large clunking sound was made and that was us validated.  There was no visible sign on the ticket and so I wasn’t sure how they knew how long the ticket was valid for, but it all seemed pretty easy.  We got chatting to the kindly chap, who I would have been sure was the author Bill Bryson if it weren’t for his accent, and he had spent a number of years living in Hampshire.  Titchy got cornered by a lady who jumped onto the seat next to her.  She was, to put it politely, ‘relaxed’ and had obviously been up late or very early.  You could say that she was as relaxed as a newt.

The tram passed through dozens of stops and each place looked lovely. There were no rough areas that I could see and the suburbs looked a nice place to be with large, detached houses and neatly tended gardens.  The majority of the houses seemed to be single story and we never worked out what the reason for this was.  Someone, an Uber driver I think, suggested that it was was due to being on the flight path for the airport but I think he was guessing as it didn’t feel like a good reason to me.

As the tram pulled into Glenelg, the end of the line unless you wanted to drop into the Southern Ocean, my first impressions were that it was a lovely little coastal town.  The main street was split by the tram line but full of hip cafes and tourist shops and bars.  It was like Blackpool but without the scum.  We walked across the pedestrian area towards the sea and picked a lovely cafe called Boomers on the Beach with a view of the ocean and pier.



Once fed and watered we made our way to The Beachhouse.  This was a big attraction and made up of water slides, a railway, crazy golf, a soft play area, dodgems and arcades.  It all sounded great but this is where it got complicated and awkward.  Why awkward?  Because the guy that was there to help explain the process had arms that looked like they were chilled from granite with veins bulging out like a Mr Universe competitor.  That in itself wasn’t too awkward but me pointing out to him that his arms were amazing was and resulted in me feeling terrible and so I had to wander off a bit to give him the chance to compose himself.   That made the complex set up even worse as I couldn’t quite work out what he was saying from the distance I was stood way from him.

Essentially, there were different pricing models that were based on credits that you bought and put onto a credit card type system, or you could buy unlimited by count but limited by time vouchers and to be honest it was bloody hard work trying to work out who wanted to do what when and for how long and so where the best pricing would be set.  They need to think about that as it blew my mind and put us all off.  We ended up agreeing that we would play a round of mini golf to avoid the midday sun and then head down to the beach.

The course was small, poorly maintained and didn’t exactly put the ‘crazy’ into Crazy Golf.  The only saving grace was that we didn’t go on the train that looked like it went for about 50 meters in a loop around the golf course and would have been a huge disappointment.  Anyway, I won’t dwell on that as we didn’t go on it! We bought some water and headed down onto the beach and our first dip into the Southern Ocean.

The water wasn’t as warm as it looked but the sand was golden and fine and the water clear, and a refreshing break from the 28 degrees heat of the sun. I was so glad we were not there the week before when it was 40 plus degrees as I would have caught fire I think.  The weird part about the sea was how terribly localised the hot and cold spots were.  You could literally take a step in any direction and the temperate would rise or drop markedly. I think the heating was broken or something.

It was a great afternoon relaxing in the sun on the golden beach, idyllic in fact.  My boy soon got bored and fidgety so we wandered into the town to pick up a ball for him to kick around over the Volleyball courts of which there were plenty to pick from. As we walked off the beach we noticed a bag that had been next to us the whole time we had been there, a pink backpack.  We were nearly the last ones off the beach and there was no one around us that obviously owned it.  I reported it to two policemen who were on the public walkway and they told us that they would deal with it.



There is a heart shaped monument next to the beach that is obviously a great picture point and we had loads of photos taken on and around it.  As we packed up the bags ready to move on I was approached by two pretty young ladies and a guy.  ‘Hey, do you mind taking a picture for us, we are in a threesome relationship’.   I wasn’t, and I am still not, 100% sure why I needed to know this additional information, I was happy to take a snap no matter how they spent their evenings but I like to think that by not asking more questions or looking shocked it ruined their day slightly.

We headed into town where we had the choice of all four corners of the Earth in terms of eating options.  We picked a lovely little Mexican called Gringo’s Cantina that seemed to be staffed by two lasses that were about 15 years old.  We placed our food and drinks order at the bar and sat in the now cooling late afternoon and watched the world go by.  As the young lass placed the last drink on the table she turned to walk off and, as she did so, she caught the youngest member of our group, who had just returned from the toilet, under the eye with her metal tray.  It made the most comedic ‘ba-doing’ sound like a slapstick movie and made everyone laugh apart from the waitress who was beside herself.  It came up in a cracking bruise on his face but no long term damage.  That didn’t stop us pulling the legs of the girls behind the counter by saying that he could no longer count to ten such was his brain damage.  Maybe not the most sensitive of jokes to play on them but they quickly worked out the joke and laughed about it with us.  The worst part of all was they offered a free round of drinks for the table but the little bruised warrior rejected it on our behalf!

Stuffed to the gills on nachos and liquified cheese, we realised that it was getting close to sunset.  We picked up some ice creams and walked down to the pier to watch the sun drop below the horizon.  There must have been four groups of Chinese fishermen throwing crab nets off the end of the pier using what appeared to be a huge chuck of tuna steak as bait.  They were hauling the nets back up with blue crabs attached to the meat.  I am no expert in eating seafood, but I would have though that the tuna looked better than the crabs!

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It was a stunning view and we watched the sun dip down below the horizon at what seemed like an artificially rapid rate, it genuinely felt like you were watching a motion capture video the speed that it dropped out of the sky.  All of this seemed ever more strange as a mermaid swam past the end of the pier.  I kid you not.  A young lady with blue hair and a long fishes tail from the waist down swam past us and waved up at the curious onlookers.  It really did make me think that someone had slipped some mind altering substances into my nachos, but I checked with Titchy and she confirmed that it was all real!


Well fed and watered and with amazing memories burnt into our minds, we walked back to the tram to begin our trek home.  I’m not sure exactly what the odds were, but a family had joined us on the same tram and were carrying the ‘missing’ pink bag from the beach.   It’s a small world.  We rode the tram all the way back into town and, using Google as our guide, we went to catch the bus up to our accommodation as we were too tired for the walk back after a long day in the sun.  It turns out that we hadn’t ‘bonked’ the ticket properly at all on the way out and so we were barred from travel on his bus.  A few confused looks and terrified faces and he let us on but warned us that we should know better next time; we couldn’t travel on the bus without tickets that had been validated on the tram.

We shared that 15 minutes on the bus with a very excited young man that was a little bit on the drunk side but desperately trying to impress two young ladies with his intelligent stories and, frankly, piss poor banter.  Even my 14 year old daughter could see that he just needed to shut up and enjoy the ride home as the girls, and everyone else within earshot were monumentally bored of him.  I blocked him out and tried to work out if we could use the tickets for another day or if that might lead us to be deported.  If you get deported from Australia for petty crimes, then where is the convicts’ convict colony…..the mind boggles and so I was happy when our stop jumped out on us to break my train of thought.  I didn’t want to think about the convicts’ convicts’ convict colony and beyond.

It had been a lovely day, I was beginning to fall in love with Adelaide.

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