Friday, June 13, 2008

Journey to the Land of Barossa

… and then it was time to wake up. Day two of Philari’s trip began with a breakfast of local eggs and bacon cooked by yours truly in our cottage, then we were off to the tiny town of Mintaro a bit off the beaten track in the Clare Valley. The countryside and scenery on the drive there were the cutest I’ve seen so far here in Oz, with cows and sheep grazing and pastures dotting the landscape. Fast photo out the window!

When we arrived to Mintaro, we decided to challenge our bravery and stamina by embarking on a quest through the Mintaro Garden Maze, a fabled living hedge maze sure to stump even the most seasoned of explorers. We immediately lost ourselves in the labyrinth. Our journey seemed hopeless and I desperately feared that we would starve in this godforsaken place, never again to taste the pleasures of the Riesling or know the joys of the braised veal shank.

Evil gnomes misled us at every turn. I began to panic. Then came the hallucinations. “Redrum, redrum, redrum…..” was all I heard when Phil spoke my name. I pleaded with a gnome to have mercy on our souls and even performed what seemed like the gnome fertility squat in the hopes of persuading him to point us in the right direction…

We stumbled aimlessly….and then… lo! We found ourselves at the center of the maze! The clouds parted, the gnomes scattered, the sun emerged! We were victorious!

Phil was knighted as the hero of the land by the benevolent Queen of Mintaro.

Then it was time to move on in our quest before we found ourselves in grave danger once again….

Later that day, the kingdom of Barossa calmly welcomed us with her palm-lined avenues and rolling hills.

And, even heroes need to stop for a photo-op every once in awhile.

Heroes (especially this hero) also need to eat and partake of the elixir of gods in order to maintain their mythical strength.

Sir Philip and his wench Cari stopped at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop to fuel up with Maggie’s duck liver and star anise pate, a grain salad, olives, bread, and a goblet of sparkling white new vintage from the Beer Brothers.

We then hurried to Mengler Hill, but alas, Arthur had beat us to it and Excalibur had already been pulled from the stone…

I cursed our fate under the ancient twisted tree.

Phil was measurably less disturbed about the whole ordeal.

Until an evil spell was cast over the land and all color was stripped from the technicolor Barossa paradise.

The only way to revive the kaleidoscopic kingdom was to rush to the Whispering Wall and carefully whisper the password to the keeper of the colors of the land.

For the second time in just one day, Philari triumphed over damnable iniquity!

**Note: Sorry this post was so silly. I’ve been writing about Basque national cuisine as an abstraction in the face of globalization for the past two weeks. I needed a silliness outlet!!!!!!

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