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AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 8 May 2013 | Views [747]

Drawn towards the approaching city lights at last we arrive in Adelaide. After 12 hours on the Firefly coach, it was with relief all round that we were finally at our destination. I had chosen to do the daytime journey and even though we travelled mostly through swathes of nearly empty landscape, it was great to get out of the cities and in the open. Stopping at a few rural towns depositing and collecting more passengers, the bus was never full and it was a relief to have 2 seats to stretch out on. We never once saw the sea so it is definitely not a coast road replacement option. It only costs a little less than flying but I’m glad to have gone overland. On the way back, however, I will take the night bus and a Sleep Relief tablet!

The little tram arrives at the end of the line in Glenelg and I am pleased to find that The Backpacker Hostel is just around the corner from the main square. It looks a little bit tired, but it’s clean and welcoming. I haul my backpack up to the first floor and experience that "there is no-one but you in your dorm" feeling! It’s not that I’m particularly anti-social, but it is really nice to have some space.

Glenelg lies about 10kms south of Adelaide on the sandy beaches of the Southern Ocean. It is amazingly laid back and the population is a complete mix of young, old, tourist and local. Everything is conveniently situated close to the main square, just a short walk from the beach and the pier. If you enjoy walking, another 6kms south along the beach you reach Brighton Jetty. It’s a lovely walk and I couldn’t resist paddling my feet in the surprisingly warm waters. I confess that when I arrived I had my annual dose of fish and chips sitting at a mini pavilion on the beach resolving to walk back at a much faster pace! I am beginning to believe that it is a complete myth about losing weight while travelling, either that or the water in Australia is at least as bad as in South Africa for shrinking ones clothes!

Sunday arrives and it’s high time I took the tram back into the city. Having arrived at night, I had no actually idea what the place looked like. I had done my research and didn’t bother with a map deciding to leave it to instinct as I set out to see the sights. I quickly learned that Sunday does not really begin here until at least 11am. As I reached Rundle Mall, the bustle of the days’ commerce was just beginning. Shutters rumble open, lights flicker on, strains of music begin to reach out into the pedestrian areas and people, as if magically summonsed, appear from side streets.

The museums provide a fascinating insight into the history of immigration in Australia and of the native Aboriginal people. I am fascinated, wondering what it must have been like all those years ago. Selling up and moving half way around the world with little more than a dream, a few possessions and a huge quantity of courage. The flight here heading to comfortable lodgings is long enough, but enduring the ship voyage into the unknown must have taken quite some stamina in itself.

Monday morning arrives and I have no plans for the day. The village of Hahndorf up in the Adelaide Hills had caught my attention in the ‘To do Guides’ as one of the earliest settlements in the region and with very much a Germanic feel to it. The day tour costs $70. A little research on the internet and I soon discover that I could get the bus on a day rider ticket for just $9.10 which would also give me the freedom to spend as much time there as I wished. The transport system is as user-friendly as the roads, and it wasn’t long before we arrived having passed through some picturesque villages along the way.

I enjoyed lunch in one of the many cafes - 3 different types of German sausage, a freshly baked pretzel, sauerkraut and variety of mustards and I’m feeling a little ‘destination disorientated’! It was an enjoyable afternoon and I was glad to have made the trip.

And so to the last day here and several hours to kill before the long bus ride back to Melbourne. I’m sitting in the hostel courtyard enjoying another beautifully sunny day and writing my final blog from Adelaide. There is a bus in town which does a loop of the city so I think that will be my final tour (in case I missed anything).

Somebody told me that Adelaide was boring and I would be back in Melbourne in no time at all. On the contrary, I have extended my stay here and only wish I had longer so that I could explore the famous Kangaroo Island and do wine tours in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa wine districts. Adelaide is a laid back, large city yet still small enough for people to be friendly. It is also known as The City of Churches. As far as I can see, Adelaide is totally comfortable with who it is and welcomes everyone to enjoy their stay here. If pushed, at this point I would say that I have a new favourite city in Australia.


Tags: adelaide, australia, city of churches, firefly coach, glenelg, glenelg backpackers, hanhdorf, opals, tram, vinyards

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