Friday, April 21, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide: Day 2

ay Two was a bit chilly, at a mere 10 degrees Celsius.  I even wore my hoodie for my first outing of the day! I hopped on a bus at about 8:30 am (after a lovely sleep in) and headed toward the Adelaide Central Markets.  I had a light and lovely breakfast, of banana bread and a specialty tea, at the T Bar (located at one end of the market). My minion buddies had great fun hanging out on the tea pot and my mug.  Reading the extensive menu (with more than 150 different types of tea) was a feat in itself, as I sipped my tea.  I could have stayed for much longer surrounded by novelty tea pots and many other tea leave selections that could be sampled or bought.  There was also free taste testing available of slow drip tea and coffee.  Below you can see photos of the novelty tea pots and Lacey enjoying playtime with the minions. 

Me and my Minions had tea at the T Bar

 I only had a few hours so I got moving and headed into the heart of the market.  Food was the main item on sale, but that food included freshly baked specialty breads, nuts (raw and roasted), fresh fruit and vegetables, meat (including kangaroo, crocodile and emu), sausages, sushi, cakes, cheese, crackers and more.  There were several cafes as well as market stalls. I loved looking at the fresh cut flowers.  A pop-up book store selling first edition books, rare books and just plain old books, another second hand book stall and an information desk for those visiting Adelaide. 
The First Editions Pop-Up Book Store and just a few of the first edition books on sale. 

There was a shop selling Himalyan rock salt lamps, purses, jewellery, bags, clothing and homewares that were all handmade.  The owner spends 9 months of the year travelling and buying direct from villagers in developing countries.  The craftsmanship was great to look at and I bought a few coin purses, which I intended to be gifts but I liked them so much I couldn't share.  Naughty.  I took lots of photos of the first edition books and the chocolate/ hand decorated sweets.  I tried some cheese and bought two small wedges that seemed very expensive.  I stocked up on fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and bread.  My haul did a great job of feeding me for lunch, dinner and a breakfast or two for the rest of the week.  I did have to buy more bread at one point, because I ate it all.  Check out these photos.
Fresh cut flowers from Central Market Flowers
Traditional hand painted Easter eggs filled with chocolate praline.

I hurried back from the markets just in time to change into a slightly cooler outfit (the weather had warmed up) and grab a quick bite (a snack bag of nuts, dried fruit and small chocolate Easter eggs) and some cheese on ciabatta toast.  I was scared that I would miss my coach tour that was leaving from a hotel up the street, but thankfully I made it. 

The coach did a circuit of Adelaide while the bus driver shared a few facts about the history of Adelaide and explained some of the monuments, architecture and city planning. Then the coach headed out of the city and toward the Adelaide Hills.  In less than 20 minutes, the road was winding around the edge of Mt Lofty and we were surprised to see the summit car park ahead of us.  We stopped off at the peak of Mt Lofty for about 10 minutes which was just long enough to take a few photos and buy a postcard or two.  Not much time to check out the gift shop, but that was okay. 
Photo I took of the view from the Mt Lofty Summit, the plaque at the look out and,
a sign at the end of the Mt Loftly Walking Trails (It is possible to walk and/ cycle along the trails to the peak).  

Back on the coach and we continued through the Adelaide Hills passing through the small town of Stirling, while our driver told us about the history of the small settlements in the hills including Hahndorf (which means Hahn's town).  It was very interesting and the scenery was amazing.  We arrived in Hahndorf about an hour after we had left the centre of Adelaide.  It was beautiful! The coach drove up the main street and beyond Hahndorf to stop off at the Beerenberg Family Farm Gift Shop.  We had the opportunity to buy freshly picked strawberries (as in the same day), home made strawberry jam, several other jams, sauces and chutneys, scented candles, bath products made from fruit and of course fruit juices and wines.  The bus driver shared his strawberries with me and they were the biggest, sweetest most delicious strawberries I have ever tasted!!! I could have eaten the whole punnet. 
Beerenberg Family Farms Gift Shop and
a Jar of their famous Strawberry Jam!

Nearly everyone bought something and we all piled back on the coach to go to our final destination, Hahndorf Inn. The tour included free beer tasting or afternoon tea (coffee/ tea and cake).  We sat at reserved tables and I joined a group of three older ladies who were friends from a craft group in Cairns (North Queensland).  We had a great chat and compared travel itineraries as we drank tea and ate warm carrot cake with fresh cream.  Then we finally had a decent amount of free time to explore the many stores on the main street and spend more money.  I was a bit disappointed as some of the stores are not open in the afternoons or mid-week.  I really would have liked to visit the puppet shop (from the outside it looked like Gepetto could be working inside with Pinnochio fetching his tools and sweeping up wood shavings).    Of course he wasn't because the Gepetto who lives in Hahndorf actually owns an Italian Restaurant.  Unfortunately that was closed too.  Treats of Hahndorf was open however, and while I was tempted to buy the whole store's fudge supply, I made do with homemade icecream intead! It was divine!! The lady who served me was lovely and was up for a chat. 

My visit to Hahndorf was in the first week of April so the leaves on the red maple trees were beginning to turn from a luscious green to a rich red.  I stood on the street staring at them for quite a while and enjoyed them so much I forgot to take my own picture.  The picture I found on the internet is barely like the real thing, but it will give you an idea. 
Top left: the Hahndorf Inn from the outside. 
Top right: the inside of the Hahndorf Inn.
Bottom left: the main street of Hahndorf at the beginning of autumn. 
Bottom right: outside the store called Treats of Hahndorf where
the homemade ice cream is delicious and sugary treats will tempt you at every turn!


This lovely little village is made for tourists! There are several places to stay overnight including hotels, motor inns and bed and breakfasts.  Next time I go to South Australia I will definitely be planning to spend a night in one of these lovely places so I can soak up more of the mountain air and explore more of the historical and handmade delights Hahndorf has to offer.  There is even a mini-golf course which is so 'mini' I didn't find it until five minutes before I was supposed to be back on the coach.  Insert very sad, disappointed face here! Oh well. 

We enjoyed a leisurely drive back to the city, with a short stop on the side of the highway to see a koala resting in the eucalyptus tree... the trees line the highway and apparently there are times when you can see dozens of koalas at a time.  Clearly they don't come near the road mid-week either.

On reaching my hotel that evening, I was tired!  I prepared a light meal, wrote a post card to Nanny and headed to bed early.

So that's that then.  Day 2 in Adelaide.  Nice.

Next week I will tell you more about the free bus and getting lost in the city.  See you then.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide Day 1

Good Morning Everyone,
Today we begin the "Postcards from..." series.  As  I explore each of the state capital cities in Australia I will share my adventures with you in this series.  Without further Adieu, let's get started at the very beginning.

Day One

Flew from direct from Brisbane to Adelaide (on Qantas Economy).   I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a direct flight. A two and a half hour flight went by quickly with the aid of a light breakfast (included in my ticket price) and a good magazine. After landing in Adelaide it was quick and easy to pick up my suitcase and walk out to the bus stop.  The only problem, I was expecting the bus stop to be bigger or more obvious or something.  Bear in mind this was public transport, not a shuttle, I was dropped off just across the road from my hotel.  The bus route (J1) stops at the airport then heads in to the city and does a circuit stopping at the nearest bus stops to most of the major hotels.  Adelaide public transport (especially around the city) is excellent and certainly designed to accommodate tourists.  The bus driver was very helpful.

Arriving at my hotel, Mansions on Pulteney (follow this link then click on Mansions to see this specific hotel), I was too early for my room so they stored my luggage for me while I went exploring.  :)
Mansions on Pulteney, 21 Pulteney St, Adelaide, Australia. 

My hotel (booked through bookings.com), is situated at one end of the Rundle Mall (the first shopping precinct of it's kind in Australia).  It's not as big as Queen St Mall in Brisbane and I suspect Melbourne could rival it easily, but it's certainly big enough and is surrounded by plenty of dining, shopping and entertainment venues, so it's worth a visit.  I wandered down the mall, listening to local buskers, taking photos of sculptures and artwork and window shopping.  Check out the famous Pigs of Rundle Mall and the Rundle Mall Fountain. 
The Rundle Mall Pigs are even listed on Trip Advisor as a Must Do in Adelaide!
Rundle Mall Fountain - matches the architecture of Adelaide Arcade (that runs off one side of the mall).

A stop off at Rundle Mall's Dymocks store to buy some new reading material then a walk through Adelaide Arcade was also in order.  The stop at Dymocks took a little while as there were two floors of books to review before settling on the two books I bought.  In Adelaide Arcade, I just had to visit "Adelaide Hatters"... I could just imagine Alice in Wonderland taking tea with the owner.  I tried on a few of the beautiful (and very expensive) hats.  No photos to share though.  I stocked up on a few postcards and stamps in the Arcade too.

I just got my bearings on Day One and when I was finally admitted to my serviced apartment I was ready for a nap.  The Rundle Mall has a Coles and a Woolworths as well as many food vendors, but today I visited Woolworths and stocked up on pre-prepared meals and some basics so I didn't need to eat out for every meal.  On Day Two, I bought more food when I visited the Central Markets.

While I said earlier that the public transport is great, it took me a while to work it all out.  On my last day in Adelaide I was still waiting at the wrong bus stop and putting my ticket in the machine the wrong way around.  Thankfully, the bus drivers were happy to help out and even picked me up at an unscheduled stop!  Locals offered to help me use the ticket machines too!

Despite the fact that Adelaide is home to more than 1.2 million people, it has a small town feel to it and I loved my daily walks (although some felt a bit long).   

On Day Two (next week)  I visited the Central Markets in the morning then spent the afternoon on a bus tour to Hahndorf. Tune in to hear all about it. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Something to Say

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Adelaide (I'm on holidays), wearing my T-shirt from the Adelaide Zoo and my PJ pants.  I've been having a marvellous time.  I will start a new series next week called "Postcards from Adelaide" where I will tell you all about the great things I have been enjoying this week.  But today, there is something much more important that I have to write about. 

I don't usually write about politics or share my political views with too many people.  I usually listen politely to what people have to say about current affairs and inwardly form my own opinion.  However, I can't stay silent on this topic.  If you don't like political stuff, maybe you should click off now and come back next week for my usual light hearted notes on life and my imagination. 

************

This week, the Seran Gas Bombing of Syrian civilians (including many children) has been shown on our news (click link to see videos of The Project: a popular news program in Australia).  In between Flooding in Queensland, Bob Hawk's Brewery, Theatre Programs and countless fluff pieces, the news has broadcast some disturbing footage of babies and children dying in the arms of their parents.  Children gasping for air, foaming at the mouth, covered in sores and open wounds - all symptoms of Seran poisoning.  This poison was released into the air by the government of Syria.  The GOVERNMENT! They did this in their fight against terrorists in their country.  This is abhorrent!  This is beyond wrong.  The government of Syria should be doing all they can to protect their citizens. 

The issue here is that Syrian refugees (and many like them) are being denied asylum in Australia.  The opinion of many (not all, but many) Australians is that anyone seeking asylum in Australia should be turned away.  The attitude of so many Australians is simply ignorant and selfish.  The complexity of granting asylum and accepting refugees into our country can not be reduced to a catchcry and I'm not going to try.  I know that there are many facets of the issue and arguments for and against.  The thing is, the country is divided and regardless of which side they sit, most people back up their opinion with one or two very simple sentences.  Most people rely on arguments about "queue jumpers", "job stealers", "community takeovers" and "terrorists". Only, the majority of  asylum seekers are people who are fleeing the horror of living in a world where even their government will kill their children for the sake of catching one terrorist! They are seeking a life where they can go to work, their children can go to school, they can go to church (or their mosque or their synagogue or their temple) and worship as they please.  More importantly, they are seeking safety. 

Australians are so very lucky.  We know what it is to be free.  We are free to choose how we spend our money and our time.  We are free to say what we think.  We are free to worship or not.  More than any of those things... we are safe.  We are safe from war, bombings, violence, extreme poverty (although there is a huge population of homeless people, they are not the ones protesting our immigration policy).  Our government is not able to gas us in our homes.  They wouldn't dare try it! We are so lucky.  We are complacent.  We are selfish. 

The word asylum means safety.  Asylum seekers are seeking a place that is safe. They want to feel safe.  Doesn't everyone have a right to feel safe? 

I'm so saddened by the images I have seen on the news today.  I'm saddened and angered by the failure of our diplomats and elected officials to sanction Syria's government for their heinous acts against their citizens. I'm disappointed in world leaders for cow towing to it's electorates and refusing to provide sanctuary to ordinary people who simply want to be safe.  More than that, I'm disappointed in my fellow Australians who think they have the right to deny sanctuary to people in need.  I'm aghast at the bigotry shown by people who are simply misinformed.  I'm disgusted by people who paint their world with the broadest of brushstrokes (making sweeping generalisations of everything from religion or culture to policy or ideas).  I can not see a future where every human living on the Earth will know what it is to be safe.  I can not see a better future and I weep for humanity. 

I know that this is a far cry from my usual storytelling, informative, picturesque, fun loving craziness.  I had to say it. I started AGT because I felt I had something important to say to the world.  Today, what I had to say was serious and sad.  I hope it was also thought-provoking. 

My Prayers are with the Parents mourning their Children, the Children mourning their Parents and All those seeking safety


Friday, March 31, 2017

Marching towards my Goals!

Considering it is the last day of March we better have a look at my progress with my 2017 goals.  Let's check these out. 

This Year, 2017, I will…

Quit… eating because I’m bored, sad, angry, frustrated or confused.

I get a giant tick for this month!   I am much more in tune with my feelings and when I go anywhere near the kitchen (or the cookie jar) I check myself for whether I'm truly hungry or just bored, sad, angry etc.... If I'm not hungry, I label the emotion and decide on an activity to help me feel better instead of eating.

Eat…   three balanced meals and two snacks at least 6 days a week. 

I am doing this 3 - 4 times a week, but certainly not 6 days! We have been having difficulty organising our grocery shopping (in between life) and that makes it hard to stick with the eating plan all the time. I need to come up with a better strategy for this one. 

Start… exercising for 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week.

UUMMM... not happening.  Need to work on this. Motivation has been difficult as I returned to work and adjusted to changing routines.  The heat and humidity have been hard to handle and I got a cold!  Excuses, Excuses. 

Visit… family and/or friends once a month.

This month I went to visit an old family friend in hospital.  I also went out for coffee with a school friend. I also had a lovely Saturday earlier this month when I visited my Uncle and Aunty on the coast. My grandparents arrived for a visit while I was there and another Aunty and Uncle came too.  That means I'm ahead of schedule with the visiting and that's good because I might need to take a month off later this year. 

Accept… that I cannot fix everything. 

This one might be going a little too well.  There are days when I have accepted my limitations so well that I'm rather resigned and unmotivated.  Not quite the point.  At work, it can be very hard to accept the problems and concerns that we face and accepting that I can't fix it all can be hard too.  I am working on it. 

See…    Melbourne in real life.

Since my "capital idea" earlier this month, the plan has changed a little.  I'm seeing Adelaide next week. Stay tuned for the details of my adventure. 

Learn… at least 12 scripture passages by heart. 

Let's See: Scripture Verses learned so far
Psalm 23
Psalm 32:7 (still working on learning Psalm 32:8)
Colossians 1:11
Therefore, I'm on track!

Give… to Christian Missions overseas and in Australia (12 times or once a month).

I donated to high school chaplaincy this week.  I'm looking into some Salvation Army orphanages and schools that I would like to support on a regular basis.  I'm also participating in TSA's Self Denial Appeal which will be mission contribution for April. 

Be…   Quiet

I'm doing well. I'm enjoying this.  Enough said.

Grow… spiritually by reading my Bible 5-7 times a week and attending church at least 3 times each month.

My strategy of marking the calendar has worked well to help me track this.  I'm not quite up to 5 times a week.   I average 4.  That is a huge improvement from last year when it was more like once a week.  I am on track with 3 times a month for going to church.  I'm really loving attending church again.  I missed it.
I am about to finish the devotional book that I am currently using.  I haven't quite decided which one I will use next. 

Invest… in reaching these goals.

Obviously I'm doing this.. There might be a few more things I can do to invest in these better.  Something to think about. 


Friday, March 24, 2017

Today, I have a cold...

Yesterday, I woke up with a sore throat.  Today, I feel kind of horrid.  Therefore, I decided to use a writing prompt for today's blog post.  Here it is.....

I won't stand for this another moment!  I will lay down and take a nap instead!

That's that then.  See you next week.