We touched down in Adelaide early this morning, packed our suitcases and our weary, travelled bodies into a taxi and headed to the hotel.
We seemed to forget about our tiredness as we drove through the picturesque streets, and began to get excited about the adventures that were to come.
Soon after we had arrived at our hotel, and were on the look out for some food from the local shops (preferably something better than plane food). Our short trip to the local bakery provided us with not only some delicious Aussie treats (the Vegemite swirl worked a treat!), but also a feeling of familiarity; the money we used to pay still had the Queen’s head on it, and we spotted signposts to ‘Croydon’ and ‘Hendon’ (areas that are also found in London).
However, the differences to home were also startling; mainly of course the glorious weather here! Life seems to be more chilled out, people actually wait for a green light to cross the road, a sharp contrast to ourLondon home where everything is done in a hurry.
Our next stop was a welcome from the Education Adelaide team, who provided us with much needed caffeine and huge amounts of chocolate brownie. Just like everyone else we had met in Adelaide so far, they were extremely welcoming and very friendly (it must be the Aussie nature). They talked us through some fun facts about our home for the next couple weeks, such as Adelaide being ‘the 20 minute city’, because everything (and by that I mean EVERYTHING; the beaches, the hills, even the wineries) is only a 20 minute journey away.
No sooner had we finished stuffing our faces with chocolate, we were whisked away on a bus tour to visit the Adelaide Hills. Our driver gave great commentary as we made our way through the wide, grid-like streets of the city (which make it so easy to navigate and get around on foot), and helpfully told us that we could jump on any tram or the city loop bus for free (The free City Loop bus - #99C - takes you to all the major cultural and commercial centres, beginning at Victoria Square), which after forking out hundreds of pounds for travel in London over the years, was quite a welcome change for us!
As we began heading for the hills, we noticed there were signs warning motorists to watch out for koalas, something we can definitely say we have never seen before. We stopped at the Mount Lofty look out (Mt.Lofty is located some 711m above the sea level), and admired the stunning views of the city from our mountainous viewpoint.
Next, the bus took us through the small towns that were built in the hills, some which still had gorgeous original features such as a fully functional water wheel. Finally our bus stopped at Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest German settlement. It felt like we’ve been dropped into a town in Bavaria, where the main street is lined with German bakeries, butchers and bars.
The cute little shops and boutique cafes were really cool to look around, and offered a lot of hand made gifts. We stopped for some tea and cake at an old German pub called The Hahndorf Inn, and munched our way through a lemon meringue pie, apple strudel and a raspberry cheesecake. With German tunes in the background, small dogs running around and the smell of freshly baked pastries made the experience close to surreal. At times, the landscapes resembled a beautiful swathe of English countryside, or perhaps a stretch of Bavarian wilderness.
We spotted a pick-your-own-strawberry farm (Beerenberg Strawberry Farm), and the smell of ripe, delicious strawberries lured us in. Sitting back in rainy London seemed a million miles away from searching for the best strawberries in a sunny field in Adelaide, and one we could definitely see ourselves getting used to for the next two weeks!
We finished off our day with a dinner at a local Italian restaurant with the guys from Education Adelaide. The food was unbelievable, and the wine even better. Australians certainly know their food - everything we had eaten all day had been great. We headed to the hotel feeling very full, very happy and very, very, lucky to be in Adelaide.
How would you have spent your first day in Adelaide if you had the chance?