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25 and Under...and 23...and 22 I'm trekking southern Australia in the World Nomads Ambassador van with my little brother & his girlfriend. This should be interesting.

Our tasty, cheesey, winey, chocolatey end

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 6 February 2008 | Views [2182] | Comments [1]

Tasting at Rosemount.

Tasting at Rosemount.

Day 29

It’s still raining on Day 29 and I have a sneaking suspicion it will be until I drop Nomalita off at Traveller’s Autobarn.

It doesn’t matter today though — we’re going winetasting.

Daniel goes for a swim and a sauna in the morning while I get my fill of morning cartoons (Futurama, love it). At 11 a.m. the Wine Rover bus picks us up in front of the YHA and we’re off to our first (and only) Hunter Valley olive tasting. As we walk in The Hunter Olive Centre, the aroma of olive oil pleases and overwhelms. We’ve joined the group late, so we pull off a bit of a speed-tasting, grabbing bread and oils as fast as we can. I could have stayed for an hour at least, but in five minutes I decide I love the chilli olive oil and make a purchase. This might (uh, will) be an expensive day.

Our next stop is the Rosemount Winery. Rosemount is a premiere Australian winery; they export all over the world, mostly based on the strength of their chardonnay. We were ushered into a gorgeous tasting room to sample a selection of whites and reds only available at the cellar. I’ve got a thing for wine, probably because of my dad, who gave me sips of his reds from as far back as I can remember. I like the drys — the sauvignon blanc and the shiraz — you can have your merlot and chardonnay. My favorite Rosemount was the Diamond Pinot Grigio and the girlie, sweet and sparkling Moscato, appropriately named Juliet. Boys, if you ever need a gift…

Soon enough, we hopped on the Rover once again and arrived at the Golden Grape for our first and only liquor tasting. The Golden Grape is home of Dragon’s Breath Chilli Schnapps, the spiciest liquor I’ve ever had. As the others choked and grabbed for water after our shot, I smiled — I love spicy food and it was delicious. We also tried Butterscotch Schnapps, essentially candy in liquor form. I bought (another) few gifts, of course.

Lunchtime brought us to the Hunter Valley Gardens; in other words, a well-manicured outdoor shopping center. We snacked on fudge and spinach rolls until our first afternoon wine tasting at Kevin Sobels wines. I tried almost all 14 wines at Sobels, but unfortunately my stomach was beginning to turn. There’s only so much I can take after spinach rolls, fudge, liquor and wine. But I wouldn’t give up — the next stop was the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop, and you better believe I’d buck up to eat some cheese. I’m happy to say I found bliss in the pesto feta spread.

Our last tasting of the day brought us to my favorite cellar of the day, Mistletoe. They were the boutique belle of the valley; last year Sydney’s leading wine critic gave the winery stellar reviews. I bought the 94/100 rated reserve Shiraz for my birthday in March — and relished the thought that I’d be drinking it a world away in Texas.

Exhausted (me and my wallet) we jumped off the Wine Rover back at the YHA and promptly passed out until dinner.

Our last full day on the road…tomorrow it would be back to Sydney, back to craziness, back to life.

Day 30

Try to picture it: the birds are chirping, the distant buzz of a lawnmower hums from a mile away, a slight breeze flutters the plastic bread bag on the table in front of me and all I can see for miles is green, sunny vineyards.

Yes, the sun has decided to shine on our last day with Nomalita. I’m reluctant to leave the Hunter Valley, especially now that it’s looking like this. I can’t imagine a more peaceful setting. Even at the beach, the waves are always crashing; threatening you with their nasty fate.

I’m sitting here trying to suss out if I achieved my original goal of this trip. When I applied, I wrote an essay about jealousy. I have always listened with awe and envy to travelers — those who drop everything to explore the world and in doing so explore themselves. Stories of far away India and Thailand seemed so exotic and untouchable. Most importantly, though, they were inspiring. So much so that I gave up everything I knew to travel down under for six months. Now, sitting half a world away in a paddock in the middle of Australia I realize that lust will never really be quelled. There are always those who have been further, farther — and I will always want to follow — but I have my own stories now. I can make someone else jealous with my stories of kangaroos, awe inspiring sunsets, camping in the bush and everything else.

And in doing so — I hope — inspire.

Tags: ambassador van, food & eating




You've got the bug... Enjoy it :)

  whippin_picadilly Feb 8, 2008 10:35 AM

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