Adelaide Hills, the Wine Country and the beach town

Beth and her Godparents

This past week we have spent meeting with friends of Beth and Beth’s parents. Beth left Australia in

BBQ!

1981 and she was 8 years old at that time. I am surprised how much she remembers from back then. Of course they had seen each other since then but there was a lot of talk about the old times and the new times. It is amazing as I heard stories from Greeks here that are very similar to stories I have heard from the same generation Greeks in the US and I also know of very similar stories from my own family’s past. It was a very hard time but most of them did well, I believe they did much better than if they had stayed in our homeland. It is unbelievable the hardship that those people had to endure

The Pouliotis Family

and the difficulties and challenges they faced in their new adopted countries. Most could not speak the language, the passage down here was mostly by ship and they had to work for well o

Dimi and you know who

ver a year to pay for their passage to Australia.  Here in Adelaide Greeks are everywhere, anywhere one turns can see sign posts with Greek names. They have left a strong influence that, together with other immigrant groups like the Italians, have left a distinct cultural mark, enriching their lives and the lives of this city in many ways. Up in the Adelaide Hills we went to Hahndorf. Lutheran Germans were prosecuted in Germany in the early 1800s and thus sought a new home. Germans were the second significant people that came to the shores of this country looking for a better future and freedom to

The Antarakis Family

express their religion. They found a new country in the rolling hills surrounding the city of Adelaide, there are many small Lutheran churches dotting the area. Hahndorf has a German look and a lot of the eateries and stores sell German food, there are some Fachwerk houses.  We tried the sausages and they were decent but nothing like back home.  We saw people eating Eisbein and Sauerkraut with a beer outside in 30C weather!  It was bizarre.  We went on to Mt. Barker and drove up to the summit where we

Dirk Meinhertz Hahn

had an incredible view of the surroundings.

The following day we went the other direction towards Barossa Valley and the wine country around Adelaide.  Barossa Valley also has a distinct German touch, there are also many Lutheran churches around.  It is incredible how many wineries there are in South Australia.

On Mt. Barker Summit

Australia is now the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world behind France, Italy and Spain.  Barossa Valley is most known for its Shiraz, but there are excellent Rieslings as well and of course many more.  We visited the Seppeltsfield winery, they also have a self taught chocolatier on the winery, who was inspired by the movie “Chocolat”.  When I watched that movie I was inspired to eat 200 euros worth of pralines within a week, I guess each to his own.  We then moved on to Clare Valley, which in my eyes looked like Barossa Valley albeit much smaller.  Riesling in Australia has its home in this valley.  It was a great day and

Hahndorf

we spend it with Dimi, Beth’s childhood friend, who once about 37 years ago held my wife’s hand without asking me, he is a great dude though so I let it slide.

I have been told Adelaide is actually a beach town, if I remember correctly around 80% of Australians live within 20 or 30 miles of the sea.  So in my book that most towns in Australia are beach towns.

The beach at Glenelg

Well, what better way to see what kind of beach town we are talking about by driving down to Glenelg, the first settlement on mainland Australia according to Wikipedia.org.  Reading up on this plush and popular beach side suburb I also came across a new word that I will use when possible to impress native English speakers.  The word is “palindrome”, a Greek word by the way, and Glenelg is such a word.  It can be read in either direction.  About the Glenelg beach there is not really that much that I can w

My BBs on the Glenelg jetty

rite, I have never seen beaches anywhere as good as our beaches on the Mediterranean (Greece, Spain, Turkey, Italy, etc.).  I have yet to see the South Sea though so there might be something better.  As you can tell we were not really impressed by the beach or the waters in Glenelg  Also, similar to the Henley Beach that we had visited a couple weeks ago the waters are rough, and there is just too much build around it.  We like our beaches to be away from major settlements, the waters should be clear.  That is nearly impossible here with the big waves pounding the beach.

The Family!

Mosley Square is right at the beach and it does look good looking into the town with all the shops and the tram that arrives from Adelaide.  The jetty also has an interesting story and at 215m it is only about two thirds of the original one that stood a little farther away.  It is also from the jetty that the Greek Orthodox Bishop releases the cross on the Epiphany each year on January 6th.  Glenelg though has not been able to escape the high rise development that started in the late 70’s.  Farther afield, in a corner of the marina we saw a replica of the HMS Buffalo.  It was this ship that carried Rear-Admiral Hindmarsh, head of a small fleet of ships that carried the first British settlers for the colony, in

Mosley Square

December of 1836.  It really is a very young country in some regards.  The replica doubles as a restaurant and a museum, unfortunately both were closed when we were there.

Barossa Valley

On Saturday we were invited at a baptism, Beth’s Godparent’s daughter who was also a witness at our wedding in 1999; baptized her daughter Eirini.  It was the first time that I saw a round church like that.  It is a very significant event in the life of a Christian-Orthodox.

He is so handsome!

Here is more proof!

...and some more!

After a few days in Adelaide I was getting anxious about finally heading out to the real Outback, we planned to leave Adelaide on Feb the 22nd and head out to Coober Pedy for an overnight stay and then on to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where we had to stay in Yulara (there is nothing else out there).  Beth was not really thrilled to drive 1600 km through nothingness and hostile – especially to city people like us- environment.  I was ready for the wide open road…
So long…

Adelaide, SA – Part 3

Adelaide seems to be one of the forgotten cities in Australia.  It seems forgotten as not many people outside this country have heard anything about it, and within Australia it seems to be bypassed by just about everybody, they go to Perth or Melbourne, of course Sydney, maybe Brisbane but not Adelaide.  We have not yet seen the other ones so I cannot really compare this city to any other in Australia at this point but this city is

Adelaide Skyline

very comfortable, it does have more of a country feel.  Its streets are very wide, there is practically no traffic jams.  It has a very good climate, albeit a bit on the dry side.  There does not seem to be any particular rush even during lunchtime in the CBD people do not seem to be overly stressed, there is no hectic.

The downtown area is also very compact, we walked along the Torrens river and the view as you can see in the pictures is very nice.  The walk around the river is very pretty, everything is green as the city uses recycled water as of late to water the parks.  There were lots of birds everywhere, I could not believe that we were in the immediate downtown area and there was absolutely no noise, it was very serene and relaxing.

We went to the Central Market, which describes itself as the “heart

Adelaide Skyline

Beth and Ben

of Adelaide”.  It is a very colorful place, with lots of stalls selling all kinds of foods along side with different cafes.  It is interesting as it was bustling, a very stark contrast to the city outside.  Chinatown is next to the market and we choose a place to have lunch were the signs were illegible, it is mostly a safe bet that the food is going to be more authentic than the food you get in other places.  The quality was excellent and the prices were quite good.

The Central Market

Victoria Square looking north

It was a really hot day but we wanted to walk the center of Adelaide, the famous Victoria Square.  Adelaide has a nice practical grid layout and although I have a navigation system to guide me to wherever we want to go I have by now gotten the basics and I can navigate the city without any issues.  Down here they say: no worries mate!  The grid is centered on Victoria Square, all the streets radiate from there and right in the middle of the square, actually it has a diamond shape, is a big statue of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria, err a statue of hers, actually.One of the things that I have noticed and I have not really found an explanation yet is the sizes of different drinks.  In Australia a can of coke has 375ml in Europe or the US it has something like 335ml.  There are bottles of water with 1.25l, we do not have them anything like that, the same goes for yoghurts, butter, and an array of other products the sizes are just a little bit different than what I have seen in Europe and the US.  I wonder who decides on those things and what the rationale is behind a can of soda having 375ml or 335ml?  Is it economics?  Anyhow, this is no biggie but still a bit odd.

So long…

Here are some random videos of the past few weeks.