Saturday, April 05, 2014

March Madness

I was worried when Heather Moe left, there would be nothing to do.  Adelaide took care of any concerns by showing us what is commonly called, "March Madness". 

More art exhibit...visitors...and wine.  Yes, more wine.

There was a lot of buzz generated by the Clipsal 500 coming to Adelaide.  Roads were blocked off near us in order to make the 3.2 km racetrack for cars ranging from V8s to Formula 3 to Touring Classics and Utes. 

The first day the race started we thought it was exciting being so close to the race track.  Crystal glasses tinkled from the vibration and we felt we were right there.  By the second day, I bought tickets for us figuring, "if you can't beat 'em...join 'em".  By Day  4 we were grateful the races were finished.
I wished Roger had a guy friend to oooh and ahhhh over the engines with him as we had good access to viewing the race cars. 


There were interesting displays of vintage cars and a mock up of Route 66

Caravans from the past

Perfect name for this company

The Fringe Festival continued well into March, and we saw a couple more shows and loved walking around our community to see the buskers performing and trying to draw crowds to the evening performances.

A blast from the past hearing all the old Beatles songs
We went to a Fringe show of a band that plays Beatles songs.  A draftsman working at the engineering firm Roger has been using for the project, plays in the band.
A slide show of Beatles from the 60s and 70s brought back great memories

Rundle Street, a half block from our apartment was closed to traffic on a couple of Friday nights to enable buskers to entertain the crowds.

We took a drive to a beautiful German village in the Adelaide Hills called Hahndorf to see the Fall colors

I checked out the new exhibit called "Dark Heart".
 The exhibit was indeed, very dark....and quite bizarre.
This is a nursery of nightmares --- check the mobile over the crib made of a black crow and organs!
Well...the colors are vibrant.
There are many perks of living in Australia, but one of the best is that we've had quite a few visitors and we've entertained anybody who has stopped by. 

While Andrew and Mukhtaar from the Kansas office were here, John and Laurel MacPhail, and Chris and Andrea Matovich were also in Adelaide so we had everyone over for a BBQ.  Earlier in the day I met Laurel for the first time, and took her on a walking tour of Adelaide while John did some business.  Within moments, the two of us were chatting like we had known each other for years.

L to R:  Andrea, Chris, Laurel, Andrew, John, Mukhtaar, Roger
Roger, Andrew, John and Chris have known each other for years and everyone picked up where they left off.  A sign of good people, and good friends.
A really great evening
Penfolds is a beautiful winery a short distance from us.  They have several wineries in South Australia and is one of the biggest producers, but the one in Adelaide is the original site and steeped in history. 

A young pump technician from Italy came to commission a pump for the job, and since Roger was busy, I took him on the tour at Penfolds.  As soon as the guide saw me, she said, "You're back again!  I couldn't possibly charge you!"  Some people collect frequent flyer points....looks like I collect frequent wine tastings.

Two weeks later I returned with Andrew, Roger and Mukhtaar, and this time they didn't charge Roger either. 
Wine production -- two vats holding Tempranillo and Shiraz grapes from the Barossa Valley

Sign in the wine cellars.  Love # 3 and #8

The tour and tasting at Penfolds only costs $15 and the guides often give us some of the higher end wines and tawnys.  But we haven't been offered the iconic Grange that sells for hundreds of dollars, and can't even imagine spending $1100 on a tasting, no matter HOW good the wine is!

Casks in the underground cellar

A look back to when Dr. Penfold made his "tonics" that were purely medicinal. 

Sherry and Port made up the bulk of Penfolds' production in 1892

Many of Penfolds' wines are numbered  i.e.  Bin 2, Bin 128 etc.  The numbers indicate where they are stored except for Bin 777 which is named after the Boeing plane that is said to have opened up Australia to the world.

Celebrating my birthday with Andrew, Roger and Mukhtaar.
Good grief, I'm short.

We really enjoy Penfolds Grandfather Tawny.  This one however is one that will never pass our lips as it sells for a whopping $3,500

Hedges of beautiful purple bushes bordering the vines
We continued my birthday celebration at Andres Cucina for dinner. While living in Ethiopia, we tortured ourselves by watching the cooking show, Masterchef Australia.  Andre was a contestant and did really well, and although he didn't win, he left his previous Project Manager job and opened this very popular restaurant. 

We laugh remembering when judges on the show would say something critical about meat being overdone or something else that seemed trivial, we would shout at the TV, "We'll eat it!" 
We ordered the "Feed us" banquet which was absolutely spectacular
The menu included two types of Carpaccio, fresh buffalo mozzarella, prawns, fish, steak, salad, gnocchi, polenta, and warm banana and chocolate donut holes.  I'm so relieved calories don't count on birthdays.
It was a great birthday. Started off with a Skype chat with Magnus and Anette, lots of birthday wishes from friends and family all over the world, and ended with a dinner I will not soon forget.  I also loved realizing I had spent my last two birthdays in Australia -- it almost makes us sound stable!

The new Adelaide Oval was supposed to have the Rolling Stones be the first event since it was finished, and we had tickets to attend, but we all know what happened and the concert was cancelled.  It looks like they will return in Oct/Nov after Footy season is over and the Oval will be available.  We're keeping our tickets as we hope to be back in Australia in September, albeit in a small town about 6 hours east of Adelaide.

One of the things we had wanted to do was see a live footy or rugby game before we left, and were able to get tickets to see the Adelaide Crows and Sydney Swans play an Aussie Rules football game today.  The Oval is a beautiful facility and the crowd of 47,000 saw the hometown Crows get thumped. 

When the Crows score a goal, fans yell out "Caw...Caw..." like a bunch of crows!
The scoreboard is the original one from 1911
People ask if things are expensive in Australia.  For the most part, it's like asking if the Pope is Catholic, although some things are quite similar to Canada.  To give you some idea, here is our electric bill for 3 months for our 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment.

$1525 for 3 months electricity for a 1,000 square foot apartment
Other things like makeup and soft drinks are crazy prices compared to North America.

Coke and Pepsi on "sale".  Can't wait to hit the Safeway in Idaho.
While a lot of things are expensive, it's a fantastic country.  It's beautiful. It's safe.  Things are top quality. There is lots to do.  It's Canada with better weather and more beaches.

Speaking of Canada I'm heading home this week for a few days cuddling Magnus in Vancouver, a short pit stop in Calgary and Edmonton where Roger will join me, and then down to Idaho for the summer.

The welcome mat will be rolled out so consider yourself invited.  The beer will be chilling and you can bet there will be some good Aussie wine ready, too.

“If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!”
                                                         Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

1 comment:

Linda said...

Really nice series of photos. I love the old cars! Greetings from Montreal, Canada.