Sunday, March 9, 2008

An American Tourist in the Adelaide Hills

Le Cordon Bleu organized an excursion for my class to visit the Adelaide Hills. Only a 20 or 30 minute drive from the city, the Hills are a playground for oenophiles, foodies, and nature lovers alike, with plenty of vineyards and olive groves, quaint little villages and towns with great shops and restaurants, and a number of wildlife and conservation parks.

We began the day at the Mount Lofty summit look out. It was a cold and foggy morning so the view wasn’t spectacular, but apparently on a clear day you can see all the way to the ocean. Here’s me freezing my butt off.

Our next stop was a tourist’s (my) dream! We headed deep into the bush (or what I consider the bush, anyway) to Cleland Wildlife Park, where I proceeded to converse with a multitude of native species in their native tongue.

First, I snuck up on the kangaroos.

Cari: G’day mates!

Roo 1: Eh mate, bring that tucker over here, I haven’t had brekky yet.

Cari: Crikey mate, you’re a dinky-di boomer.

Roo 2: You smell bad.

Cari: At least I didn't leave stinking slobbery drool all over your hand.

Roo 3: How dare you come into my bush and insult me!
Cari: Ok, ok, I'm sorry - truce?

Roo 3: I guess. Let's shake on it.

Cari: (cautiously) So, my dad says youse are crazy ropable and like to engage in bouts of boxing, human evisceration, etcetera. Is that true?

Roo 4: Why don’t you come closer and find out?

Cari: Ah, no thanks.

Roo 4: Fair dinkum mate, that is a right old walkabout you're goin' on! Is it time to blow the froth of a couplea cold ones... Strewth, ya flamin Gallah! Hooroo!

After that insightful conversation, I braved my way through the bush, avoiding the bunyips and dropbears, to look for signs of koalas.My bushwalking skills must be legendary, since without much difficulty I spotted a koala chillaxing on a stump. Cari: (with typical unnatural enthusiasm) Oh my gosh, you cute little cuddly wuddly softy poo! I finally found you!Koala: (through a eucalyptus-induced daze) What? Huh? Oh, um, please leave me be, I’d really just like to continue getting a buzz from my early lunch of eucalyptus leaves, thanks.

Cari: Look at the camera, koalie, oh dear you are just so snuggly and soft! What a little ripper!

Koala: (in an increasingly serious tone) Ok you bogan, it’s time for my 20-hour nap now, you hoon. Can someone please help me out here?

Cari: (being dragged from the site by a park ranger) Bye bye my little fuzzy friend! Bye! See you soon! Kisses and hugs! Bye!

While finding my way out of the bush, I stumbled upon the Tasmanian devils.

Cari: Crikey, you look like you had too much caffeine this morning.


Cari: Ok, ok, don’t crack a mental, I was just trying to be friendly, geez you’re a stroppy feller.

Tazzy: (incomprehensibly spitting) &%!!!*$@!!

Moving on, I found the emu hangout. They were very clique-ish and didn’t have much to say, so I got a quick photo and was on my way.

Next on the itinerary was a visit to Hahndorf. My first impression was that it seems like an Australian visited Germany 150 years ago, fell in love with a town there, disassembled it, put it on a boat, and re-assembled it back in South Australia. We ate lunch at a buffet that included sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes, alongside curry and rice, chicken nuggets and fries, samosas, spaghetti and pavlova, but there were many authentic German activities occurring, such as men wearing criss-crossed suspenders and silly hats:Tourists pretending to intimidatingly hold huge beer steins:And buxom blonde folk riding around on hay carts in period garb with baskets full of colored eggs:My decidedly non-German colleagues and I took a group shot. I do have some German blood from my mother’s side, but with a name like S├ínchez, and a penchant for tequila and refried beans, who do you think would believe me?Our next and last activity was a tasting at the scenic Bird in Hand winery. The grapevines were framed by a backdrop of lush rolling hills.And our visit was just before harvest time, so the vines were heavy with grapes.(No, I’m not pregnant, although I just realized that this shirt would lead one to believe so. Looks like I’m not wearing that one again.)

This was the setting for a tasting of a variety of Bird in Hand’s wines, namely a sparkling pinot noir, a rose, a semillon sauvignon blanc, a chardonnay, and a shiraz (which this area is known for). With all this wine in my belly, I enjoyed a peaceful nap on the bus ride back to Adelaide.


Anonymous said...

awesome blog Cari. Keep it coming

Anonymous said...

You are a natural with wild life, lady.

Unknown said...

Hi cari....this is "us" and your pics and adventures are awesome! Sp glad all is well. Love, S & L.