Adelaide plan was hatched at Madam Brussels when I, with teary eyes, asked Liz to travel together. I told her anywhere is fine, as long as we have our girly weekend. Then she, with teary eyes, unsuccessfully tried to book a random flight on her phone. A couple days later, finally sober, we booked our flight. A couple weeks after that, I rescheduled the flight. And last month, we finally landed in Adelaide.
It was still early when we took the car and drove to the city. The first thing that caught my attention was the various lease signs plastered on many buildings around the CBD. I might be able to afford rent on a prime location and convert an entire office floor into a loft if I move here. Meanwhile, the first thing that caught Liz’s attention was the Chinese character on all the street signs. It reminded me of the article I read about how when people with different professions take the same walking path, each of them noticed different things.
Day 1 – Hahndorf and boozy heart-to-heart
Since there were road blocks in the city due to the Christmas parade we went straight to historic town Hahndorf. Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, preserving Germany culture within it; the Little Germany in Australia, like Little India in Singapore. Liz said sending postcards from here would have special postal stamps, unique to Hahndorf, on it. How cool is that
The weather was rather chilly that day. Assuming it was practically Summer and that Adelaide wouldn’t be as brutal as Melbourne, I wore, and packed short shorts. We only walked half way through one side of the street when I gave in and suggested to have lunch first. I needed food and wine, lots of wine, to keep me warm.
Staying true to the local culture, we ordered pork wursts, along with sparking red wine. The food was meh, but the wine was really good. We were contemplating whether to order the second glass, when the server recommended Underberg. Underberg is a digestive bitter, with 44% alcohol, made from aromatic herbs from 43 countries and a secret family recipe to aid digestion after a heavy meal. It reminded me of omam thanni my great grandma used to force feed me and my cousins when we were super young.
Sold! Liz took the first sip and was disgusted by it. It didn’t hit me as bad, almost like sipping a weird tasting cough syrup. I wonder whether Fia, who introduced me to Gluehewien during a Chirstmas dinner years ago, have had it before? How about you guys, have you tried Underberg?
We continued to roam around Hahndorf after lunch, stopping at a candle shop, a museum-cum-gallery. Once we cultured-up, it was wine time!
We hopped from one boutique cafe to another, researching on different kind of wines, by that I mean Liz sipped her wine like a lady, while I gulped mine as much as I could, continuously. Though the real, and only, reason for her controlled behavior because she was the designated driver for the trip. Not because she is a real lady.
We went back to the city in the evening, passing by a tollgate hotel which I found amusing and checked into the serviced apartment. We rested while munching my Uni-time favorite Japanese cheese cake and watching a dating show on TV. At night we had dinner at the highly recommended COS 18 Leigh. I had the best Kilpatrick oysters in my life, Liz had the best tartare in her life and we had the best wines in our lifetimes.
Day 2 – Wine, Barrosa Valley wineries and more wine
Having woken up before sunrise the day before, we planned for a late day on our second day in Adelaide. In the morning, I woke up first and sneaked out to write in my travel journal, which was a pretty rare occurrence since I usually am the one who sleeps in.
Liz came out after some time later and immediately took the role of the good housewife by offering me tea and cheese cake for breakfast. I said yes to both and love her more for it.
It was almost midday when we reached the Barrosa Valley so lunch it was. 1918 was a house in the neighborhood turned into a restaurant. We decided to have a full pledge meal and ordered entrees, main, dessert along with wine. The food was amazing! Each one was a delight to the taste bud. The service was great and the wine, as usual, was absolutely delicious.
There were many wineries in the Barossa Valley that you would be spoilt by choices. We took the boutique way and went exploring small, less known wineries instead of the famous ones.
First stop was Hewitson, a boutique winery with a gorgeous view. If I ever plan to buy a winery, this would be my choice (Charles, maybe you can buy this one?!). We sat outside, sipped wine and started asking each other “how’s life?“. At first, we meant it, but then we continued asking the same question and finding it even funnier than the last time. Ah.. The power of wine.
If you are into sweet wine, the late harvest Moscato from here is not to be missed. It’s gold in color, has a rich smell and distinctive cheese taste. Absolutely beautiful. Saying that VI shared something interesting last time we discussed about wine with our limited to cheap and good or cheap in pretty bottle knowledge. She said same wine might taste different depending on with who, when and where do you drink it. I think she has a valid point.
While we enjoyed the first winery, we ended up spending the rest of the day at David Franz Winery. It’s also considerably small in size, but had everything to create a happy day recipe; an ample choice of wine, cheese and crackers, friendly people, including David himself, cozy corners and a fantastic view. This was also the first time I tried a glass of wine with ice cubes on it. Not bad at all!
You know how on the state of relaxation, your brain comes up with brilliant ideas? Well, I thought wouldn’t it be great if we can make essential oils wine? Wine made with mixed of grapes and herbs? Imagine Ylang-ylang wine or Lemongrass wine?! How awesome would that be? BUT Liz disagreed, more than that, she laughed at my brilliant idea. She said just because I liked to say “ylang-ylang”, it doesn’t mean it’s a marketable product. Ha! So much for me supporting her Heartbreak restaurant idea hours earlier! You wait and see Liz, one day me and Charles will produce the essential oils wine and patent it. No Ylang-ylang wine for you!
If a bottle of wine could be a spirit animal, Mars Needs Moscato (another South Australia origin) would be mine. It was a taste of perfection with the quirkiest label. Drinking wine while chilling like a queen and being looked after by astronauts is my kind of dream life.
Day 3 – Adelaide University, Gallery & Gleneg Beach
I woke up to “you look so dark without make up!“. Ugh, thank you Liz! If I want this kind of abuse, I would have married my ex.
The day’s itinerary was pretty chill. We had coffee at Koko Black before heading to Art Gallery of South Australia because we are cultured women. SA gallery collections were impressive, second to Tasmania’s Mona, definitely so much better than the much boosted NGV and NSW Art Gallery. Their Tarnanthi collections itself were soul enriching, check it out for yourself. If the museum gift shop is your happy place (like for me), it would be great, and stylish, if you can support my favorite South Australia artist, Tiff Manuel.
The next stop was the University of Adelaide following our friend Joseph’s, an Adelaidean, advice. The Uni itself was okay, Liz swore her Melbourne Uni is so much better, but the feeling of being back on an education center excited me. It made me really consider about going back to school to study something related to writing.
The first time I saw Jacaranda was when we visited Sydney last year. This time, I saw it all over the city of Adelaide. Though Sakura is still the tree of my soul, Jacaranda comes close second. When we have a house, I am going to plant both. By that I mean get Fafa to do all the work and I’ll take the credit.
I am well aware that Australia is famous for the beaches, but sitting on the busy Gleneg beach while sipping not so cold cider, was the first I fully understood why.
Even during the unbearable hot summer day, the beach oozed so much happy vibes, with people bathing, sunbathing, playing sports and taking selfies. The vibe reminded me of Phi Phi island’s beaches. We spent more than agreed time here, talking and walking in the water while stopping at times to collect sea shells to add into my woo woo apartment decorations. It was a beautiful bow-tie to end a perfect friendship weekend in Adelaide.
I truly believe that traveling together will expedite the age of a relationship, that’s why I asked Liz to travel together to Adelaide. I want her to be my Melbourne best friend! *which might seem creepy when you read it, but my intention is good Liz! *
Visiting Adelaide also means that there is only one more state in Australia I have yet to tick off, the Northern territory. But maybe Darwin needs to wait as three days in this low key city weren’t enough. We promised to come back to Adelaide, but with the plan of staying at the winery, on Liz’s next birthday weekend.