London’s Calling: Barossa Valley

Tuesday 4th March
I arrived back in Adelaide and because both my ruck sacks had a combined weight of less than 7kgs I didn’t have to wait for my baggage to arrive. It was only just 10.00am and I knew it wouldn’t be possible to check in to the hostel so instead headed for the city centre so I could finally replace my lost toiletries.

I was planning on spending the afternoon with Kirsten and after a number of text messages we finally agreed to meet in Glenelg at 13.00. After finishing at the stores I made my way to the hostel where they confirmed it wasn’t possible to take my bags to the room. Thankfully however I did have access to the showers and was I was able to leave my bags in the secure storage area. I then made my way by the ‘famous’ Glenelg tram to the pier where Kirsten was waiting.

Whilst this was my third visit to Glenelg I’d never eaten there but luckily we almost immediately stumbled upon a restaurant offering wood fired pizzas. We ordered quickly and also got a cider each before just chatting about what had been going on back in London and with me over here.

I thought it might have been weird meeting up in the southern hemisphere but really it just felt like we were enjoying a day in London on a hot day. A very very hot day. It especially felt like we were back home when Kirsten decided to go in to some shops. Somehow despite not needing anything it was only me that brought something in each, though this did include a packet of crocodile jerky. 3 years ago I brought a variety pack of Australian ‘Bush Tucker’ Jerky which included crocodile only to lose it at Heathrow. As a result I’d never actually got to try it.

Kirsten was staying with a friend who kindly invited me to join them both that evening in the ‘Garden of Unearthly Delights’ at the fringe and also to join them on a trip to the Barossa Valley the following day. I hadn’t got anything arranged for either so gladly accepted and made my way back to the hostel to get ready for the evening.

I thought there might have been a chance of a quick power nap but those hopes were dashed when just after I’d sorted everything out I got a message from Kirsten saying they’d be 20 minutes. I left the hostel and as I was crossing the main road saw Finja who was on her way to get the coach to Melbourne. We quickly exchanged hellos before carrying on in opposite directions.

I met Kirsten and her friend Jucinda at the Garden of Unearthly Delights. For those that have been to Winter Wonderland in London, this was a summer version. It was a big site, with various rides and different festival foods and all the trees had been decorated with lots of lights. We met up with Jicindas friends (one was celebrating their birthday) and everyone but me got some food as I was still full from the pizza. After that we got some poffertjes And I did get some of these as I hadn’t heard of them before but they looked like pancakes.

It was only on my way home I got a message from my mum saying it was pancake day. It obviously isn’t a big event in Australia but at least I’d had my fix with the poffertjes.

Wednesday 5th January
I was worried that I was going to be late getting to the place I’d agreed to meet Kirsten and Jucinda so left early to allow plenty of time. As it was the route was simple and there was a petrol station on the crossroads I’d been told to wait out. Feeling slightly tired I wondered in to the store to see if they had any deals and opting for an iced coffee waited. The others arrived on time and once the tank had been filled up we were on our way.

It was sunny as we left Adelaide however as we left the city heading towards Mount Lofty the sky seemed to turn to grey and it looked cold outside. After a bit of confusion on the Sat Navs part which led us to the to somewhere fancy advertising wedding receptions we finally arrived at the lookout and visitor centre. Unfortunately there was no view due to the low cloud, though their was the occasional shape of a buildings somewhere amongst the mist. We went inside to get a drink and I noticed that the cloud and miss was starting to disappear. By the time we returned outside the view was as we had expected and hoped for.

We got back in the car and drove past the place the sat nav had tried to take us to. We could now see the building and the view it offered and it did look quite grand, but I’d certainly feel sorry for anyone that had their reception in the mist. We drove through the Adelaide Hills and arrived in an old German settlement called Hahndorf. This was founded in 1839 by Lutheran migrants and the architecture certainly it certainly had that German rural feel about it.

The first place we visited was Utter delights cheese shop? Where we tried a number of free samples including one which was imported from Netherlands. Next we made our way to a chocolate shop where I saw they sold sherbet fountains. These were different from the ones in the UK as they had a spoon and no liquorish however I couldn’t resist the urge to get one. Finally we made our way to our first cellar for wine tasting, Rockbare? cellar door. We started with a Chardonnay Pinot Noir Sparkling Fizz which was very nice before working our way down the list.

After leaving Hahndorf we drove to ‘Birds in Hand’ for some cellar door samples before we left the Adelaide Hills and entered the Barossa Valley where the most famous producer of wine is Jacob’s Creek. We weren’t initially going to stop at the Visitor Centre but Jucinda kindly squeezed it in. There is a new style that is shortly going to be released in the UK called “Twin Pickings, Pinot Gris” and there is a chance that single handedly I will make it worth their while to export. Kirsten and I however decided to buy a bottle of Gramps Botrytis Semillon though the St Hugo’s Grenache Shiraz Mataro was also nice.

After we left Rockford’s of the Barossa where we had yet more samples it was just after lunch so we got a pie at the Apex bakery before heading for Maggie Beers farm. Maggie Beer is a famous ??. We had various free samples of chutney, olives and chocolates before sitting outside and enjoying some items that we had brought watching some turtles in the lake.

By now i was feeling very merry but we still had time to stop off at two more wineries. The first ‘Seppeltsfield’ where I liked the Eden Valley Late Harvest Semillon Riesling and the second was ‘Artisans of the Barossa’. On our way back we stopped off at Menglers Lookout and i was able to reflect on what had been thoroughly enjoyable day. I really did feel I’d drank and eaten my way around the valley and when I got back to the hostel I was ready for bed.

Thursday 6th March
I hadn’t sorted my bag the night before so I had to do that before checking out. It never ceases to amaze me how each time it comes to leaving the hostel the bag becomes more of a struggle to pack even though it is now quite a bit lighter than it was when I began. I had taken a rather laid back approach, also sorting some Internet chores however eventually I was ready to leave.

As I was leaving one of the guys that had still been sleeping asked what the time was. I said 9.55am. He couldn’t have been out of bed any quicker as he was meant to check out at 10.00am like me. I made my way to the bus station and arriving at the airport wished Adelaide a temporary goodbye. I’d be back in 2 weeks but the next stop was Sydney where I would finally be able to catch up with Jonathan and attend the long awaited Bruno Mars concert with Victoria.

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