Adventures of a (Camera Happy) Local Tourist

This weekend, I stepped away from the computer for over a day. (Crazy, I know.) In my mind I set the Midnight and Moonshine stories to ‘percolate’, abandoned the dreariness of marking essays, and headed in to the city to play tourist for a day. Sure, I’ve lived here for 10 years. And, sure, I worked in the city for more than half of that. But when I need a holiday but am too time poor (or just plain poor) to take a real vacation, it’s sometimes nice to go on a little adventure close to home.

On Friday night, we stayed at the Intercontinental hotel (luxury! and luckily its distinct 80s decor is now back in fashion…) and decided to lash out on a fabulous teppanyaki dinner at Shiki. I can’t even remember how many courses we were served, but they were all incredible. Sashimi like whoa, Morton Bay bugs served à la yum, sizzling steak and tempura so fresh it melted before even reaching your mouth. ALL SO DELICIOUS.

The feasting contined at breakfast the next morning: passionfruit yogurt, sweet watermelon, crepes with berry coulis and maple syrup, bacon (of course) and cloudy apple juice… And the best part: honey scraped right off the comb! I was a leeeetle bit excited about the honeycomb. I may have mentioned it about 6,000 times during breakfast. It hung from a wooden frame, all rustic and dripping goodness — and the wax melted into the honey as soon as I scraped at it with a spoon, giving it the most sugary flavour… Heavenly.

Then it was back up to the room to pack up, where I spent more time taking photos from the 20th storey window than I did actually tidying, but still. My phone’s camera has lots of cool features, so it would’ve been remiss of me to neglect trying them out. So here is a bird’s eye view of Adelaide — the day was blustery and grey, but my camera’s snazzy ‘vintage’ feature makes it look bright and sunny — provided c/o my slovenly domestic ways.

After that, it was off to the Art Gallery of SA, one of my favourite places in the city, to check out their newly-renovated galleries. We visited old favourites like Rupert Bunny and the Morris room (pictured here — and the gorgeous blue vase is also displayed in this room, near Morris’s Tiffany windows) and made some new acquaintances with the likes of Jeffrey Smart and the collection of Czech Surrealist paintings we’d never seen before.

And as all good tourists do, we devoted the rest of our day to eating and strolling, strolling and eating. (I know: as if we weren’t still stuffed from all we’d had at dinner and breakfast…)

The Art Gallery serves one of my favourite treats: passionfruit green tea. The tea’s perfume is so beautiful I almost don’t want to drink it — almost — and the flavour lives up to its delightful scent. But what I also love about ordering this tea is its presentation — it’s served on a little platter with a shot glass full of ice to cool it down before drinking. So smart, and such a nice touch.

Then we headed for the hills — literally. A quick dash down the freeway brought us to Hahndorf, Adelaide’s site of German settlement turned quaint tourist trap. There is one main drag lined with tacky souvenir shops, but this kitsch is offset by winery cellar doors, sweet little cafes, centuries-old sandstone buildings, and beautiful trees blooming all around.

It was a Saturday and so teeming with real tourists, but we strolled up and down Main Street and grabbed the obligatory German sausage (yes, we ate again!) before abandoning the camera-toting crowds (though I joined their ranks long enough to snap a couple of pics of the gorgeous old Hahndorf houses, like the one pictured left) and making our way to Stirling.

Stirling is another sickengly-sweet town in the hills, which looks like it’s been transported straight off the set of Dawson’s Creek or The Gilmore Girls and plunked down a half hour out of Adelaide. We spent an hour or so browsing the second-hand and indie bookshops (at which I found the awesome treasure pictured below) and then, footsore and happy, we bought ourselves a jolt of caffeine before calling it a (wonderful) day.

(Spending six years analysing medieval Icelandic sagas has in no way made me sick of reading Scandinavian folk and fairy tales. Reading a few stories from this gorgeous, fat book was the perfect way to cap off my day!)




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