Having thought that my jet lag was all sorted, I found myself wide awake at 5.30 in the morning. I would love to have another try at the whole trip but with accommodation that was soundproofed. That way, I would be able to work out if it was indeed jet lag or just traffic noise that was the cause of my early start. To try and let everyone else get some sleep I snuck off downstairs and tidied up and did the dishes. The rest of the gang got up around 10am and we headed out at around lunchtime after a morning of watching Vines (remember those?) and relaxing.
We walked into town and our first stop was Tandanya. This translates as ‘Red Kangaroo’ and is an arts centre and museum celebrating Aboriginal culture. Unfortunately for us they had packed away a lot of the displays while the festival had been in town and it was just being unpacked when we visited. We saw a little bit, but we wanted to see so much more.
We chatted with the Aboriginal lady in the reception area and she was absolutely delightful. I would have loved to have chatted for longer and ask her all sorts of questions but she had to be the face of Tandanya! We were so engaged that we were almost into the centre of town before we realised that we had left a cap behind. I walked back with my boy to go and pick it up and chatted with the lady again and, I swear to god, it was as if we had never met! She must speak to so many people day in and day out that we all just blend into one.
We met up with the rest of the gang at a burger restaurant called Burger Theory. The two lasses picked the falafel burgers and the three lads picked the cheeseburger. It was nice, not typical fast food standard but tastier and juicer. It was maybe a little too salty but very tasty none the less. It wasn’t until we got up to leave that we read the small print and realised that the burger was, in part, kangaroo meat. The youngest member of the squad wasn’t at all happy that he had eaten the same sort of animals that he was hand feeding just the day before but, if they taste that good, I wasn’t too upset at all.
Jumping for joy at having eaten a kangaroo, we then headed to the South Australian Museum to see the David Attenborough Great Barrier Reef exhibition. The idea is that it is a fully immersive VR dive into the barrier reef but, such is our luck (or lack of planning), that we had missed the last show of the day. Instead we had a good old wander through the museum. I think there were 5 floors in total and we only got to cover off two of them. The displays were on Ancient Egypt, rocks and fossils, space exploration, geology, animals and a huge display on arctic exploration. Each of us had a favourite part and it felt so open that we all went around the place at our own pace and focused on our own favourite parts. I was excited to see a copy of the Rosetta stone in the Egyptian section and absolutely fascinated by the story of the tektites.
Tektites are small, glassy objects that are the result of a meteorite impact. The force of the impact melts the rocks on the earth’s surface and this glass is splashed back up into the atmosphere, only to fall back down to Earth again. These molten blobs of glass cool and solidify during their flight through the atmosphere and take on characteristic aerodynamic shapes.
Culturally exhausted, or bored as the kids would say, we headed out to hire a pedalo on the river just in the shadow of the Adelaide Oval. Again, with our amazing planning, it was closed and we had just missed the last river cruise which departed as we arrived. You couldn’t make it up! Instead we sat at a table on the veranda with a view of the river and had a cool drink in the early evening sunshine. We laughed and joked and watched people heading home from work, runners, dog walkers and young rowers heaving their way up and down the river. It wasn’t the worst way to spend a half hour.
We headed home and washed and showered to head back out for a ‘Meet the Rellies’ evening. They do love shortening words do these Ozzies. The idea was to catch up with all of the relatives from the ‘other side’ so that friendships and connections could be made ahead of the wedding day. We had to get a bus into the centre of town and then pick up another route to get to the Hyde Park area of town. We relied heavily on Google to help us on the way and were looking for the next bus having walked to what Google told us was the right stop for the connection.
We must have looked very lost and very foreign. So lost and foreign in fact that a bus driver pulled his bus forward about 10 metres and opened his door for us. It wasn’t our bus, and we made no effort to flag it down, he just decided that we needed some help. He asked us where we were heading and pointed us in the right direction and drove off smiling and waving. He had a bus full of passengers and none of them were annoyed, it was just the right thing to do. If I have to explain to anyone how Adelaide was, this is the story that I tell them to sum it up.
We eventually found our bus and made the trip in to the posh end of town. The house was superb. Titchy’s Uncle owns his own architecture business and you could tell that he had invested a lot of time and thought into the house. Her Aunt explained to me that they had taken inspiration from their favourite travel destinations when renovating. The front of the house was still in the original style with high ceilings and original features beautifully and tastefully decorated. The back of the house had been opened up into a very modern and open space with a library and stylish decor and features all the way through to the open kitchen and doors opening into the back garden. Up the side of the house was a lap pool that looked over onto the Japanese garden. It was like we were in a lifestyles of the rich and famous magazine.
We were there to meet the rellies and, as you can probably imagine, it was more of the same. Superb company, friendly welcomes and genuine interest in how far we had come and what we thought of Adelaide. I saw that as being very similar to Newcastle. When people visit here we always seem very keen to ’sell’ the place and want everyone to love it as much as we do. The kids splashed around in the pool and then chased each other around the garden. The adults chatted and shared canapés and great conversation and (I am told as a non drinker) good wine. It was a lovely evening and it got even better when Titchy’s mum, sister and niece arrived from their own 23 hour journey from Manchester. They were like rabbits stuck in the headlights walking straight into the social gathering. I felt sorry for them but it was great to see them.
Yet again, we were full of food and drink and as happy as we could be. We got an Uber and the guy was very interesting. He was a big Liverpool FC fan and was a physiologist and an aeronautical engineer. Why he was driving an Uber wasn’t made clear at any point but that’s the mystery of Uber!
We got home about midnight and were asleep within a few minutes, worn out after a long day, but still in love with Australia.