Back to Civilization

Leaving the island was an incredible feeling for Matthew, Maggie and I. We had enjoyed our time there but we were beyond ready for something else. In the three months I spent there I saw an average of probably 15 people a day. I spent less than $20 a week, and I spent 98% of my time on the property. That being said, I think we were all in for sensory overload when we entered Adelaide. Adelaide is a city of about 1.3 million people. It is one of the oldest cities in Australia and it is full of busy people, fascinating scenery and lots of shopping.

Picture by:  Colourful Adventure


We arrived Tuesday evening just in time for dinner. If you've been following my blog at all, you may have gathered that we ate out only a handful of times on the island, so dining out in Adelaide was high priority on our to-do list.


After checking in to our hostel we walked around the corner (a nice change) and found a hip Italian restaurant near downtown. I opted for the seafood pizza which included toppings of shrimp, scallops and artichokes. It was the freshest thing I had ate in a very long time—very satisfying. Maggie had a delicious-looking calzone the size of a football, and Matthew had a fresh chicken sandwich. We all felt pretty classy with our restaurant meals.

Mariner Pizza at Bocelli, Adelaide

Mariner Pizza at Bocelli, Adelaide


After eating we made our way back to the hostel where we found out it was both happy hour and pool tournament night. We made friends with Tom, the bartender/receptionist and quickly found ourselves entertained. Tom's sister owned the hostel, he only helped out on Tuesday nights to host the cheap beer and pool tournament. At first I opted-out of the pool tournament but eventually Tom's fun and confident personality decided the opposite. Matthew and Maggie were better at pool than I, but this was “Killer Pool”, a game where everyone in the room played together. Each person had four lives and each time it was your turn you either made a ball in the hole or you lost a life. Everyone, including myself, was pretty surprised when the game came down to me and another guest named Gordon. Before the last shot Gordon promised to share the prize with me if he won and I agreed to do the same. Unfortunately, he won, but he was true to his word and gave me 1/6 of the prize, which equalled one bottle of Corona. I was pretty pleased with his generosity and Matthew and Maggie were pleased with my pool skills.


As if that weren't enough, Tom also hosted a raffle drawing for everyone in the lounge room. The winning ticket was Maggie's. When the number was called she screamed a high-pitch scream and ran around the pool table in celebration. We all laughed and watched as she animated the entire room. Her prize was four free beers, something Matthew and I helped her enjoy.


Central Market of Adelaide, Australia

Central Market of Adelaide, Australia


The next day we covered a lot of ground in Adelaide. We purchased groceries, bedding and books for our outback adventure. All the little things we hand't done in the past three months took priority on that particular day. Matthew got a haircut. I made a deposit at the bank. Maggie bought a new camera lens and we all soaked up a lot of free wi-fi. Although we had plenty of practical stuff to do, we also made time to do some fun things like walk through the Adelaide Central Market---an awesome experience—and we ate and drank at some really hip food joints.

Me at the Central Adelaide Market

Me at the Central Adelaide Market


We finished up our time in Adelaide by ridding our suitcases of extra items and purchasing water and petrol for our trip into the unknown. For two days I had listened as Matthew and Maggie searched for something called a “transmitter.” They hadn't had any luck when I finally asked what it was. It turns out it was some sort of electronic device to make the car radio play the music on our cell phones. When this didn't work out, I told the group about the $2.99 CDs I had found at a discount bookstore. Maggie and Matthew thought it was a good idea so we returned to the bookstore and each of us picked out a CD for the trip. In total we had five CD's: one from each of us and two that had originally come with the car. It wasn't much considering the length of our trip, but it was all we could find and afford. After two nights in Adelaide, our next move was to head north towards the Outback.  

Adelaide- Day 2

Matthew and I were up nice and early to catch the bus for the Groovy Grape, Barossa Valley wine tour.  To be more specific, we were at the bus stop outside of our hostel by 7am.

I was extremely excited for the tour, though I was slightly concerned about the one hour bus ride combined with alcohol. I took a quarter of a Dramamine at breakfast and decided wine was worth the risk.

Almost immediately after taking a seat on the bus I fell asleep.  I woke up once and saw the windiest road I had ever encountered.  I thanked Jesus for the dramamine in my system and closed my eyes again.  When I woke up we were at our first winery, Jacob's Creek.  Jacob's Creek was the only massive winery, the others were considered boutique wineries.


My mother and I had shared a glass of wine on my last night in America. We were together as a family eating at a nice restaurant in Bricktown.  Mom asked me to pick a glass that went well with our food and after surveying the menu, I chose a Jacob's Creek Moscato because it was made in Australia. When we toured Jacob's Creek I was pretty excited to see the place where this wine had been made. As it turns out Jacob's Creek is a world-wide winery; shipping it's bottles all over the globe.


When we pulled up to the creek I was star-struck at the view of the valley. In front of me there were rows and rows of grapevines and beyond that there were beautiful pale green hills spotted with just the perfect amount of trees.  It looked like a postcard it was so beautiful.  I had to stop and admire the magnificence of it all before going inside the building.


When I got inside a young Asian girl gave us a short explanation of the history of Jacob's Creek. It was founded by a German settler in the 1800's. He was given six acres of land as an Australian immigrant.  In the middle of the six acres he was given there was a creek; Jacob's Creek. The creek was actually a few hundred meters from the window we were standing in front of.  That was how the winery got its name.  I had assumed Jacob was the name of the owner, but it was far from it.  


We tasted several wines at Jacob's Creek but the one that won my vote was a Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon. I made a silent vow to buy that bottle in the near future.  It was bold and oaky with a very smooth finish.  The smell alone was intoxicating.  


The second winery was Kies.  Kies was a very neat experience as well. It was a family owned winery that had been in the family for over 100 years. The owner himself poured our wine for tasting and with each bottle he explained the process behind it and the awards their wine had won.


At Saltram, the next stop, we only had three types of wine; ending with a nice Shiraz, my favorite. Afterwards we had a delicious lunch of fine pizza, chips and salad. At lunch I sat across from a couple from Melbourne. They were very nice and chatted with me about their careers. This was their first time in the Barossa Valley and they were shocked it had taken them all their lives to get down here.


After lunch we went to Wolf Blass and tried five types of wine. At this point in the day the wines were starting to all taste similar and I was getting a bit giggly. I worried about my Dramamine mixed with alcohol so I drank lots of water before heading to the last stop which was an American-owned place called Lambert Estates.


The tasting clerk at Lambert Estates taught us more about proper wine tasting and process than any of the others. She reminded us to slow down and smell the aromas before using our pallette. She reminded me that the first sip only awakens your palate and that the second one was the true tasting.


I took another quarter of a Dramamine before getting back on the bus. The curves that morning had been pretty severe and I didn't want to have an alcohol-induced motion sickness incident so in turn I slept the entire way home. When I woke up I was shocked to see we were already in Adelaide.  It was cool and rainy and the sun was retiring for the day, though I couldn't see it for the clouds.


It was around dinner time when we got back to the hostel so Matthew and I went in search, once again, for food. We were tired and ready to be in for the night so we simply went back to the place we had ate at the night before. This time I had the pasta special which was linguine with cockles. I learned that cockles were a type of sea mollusk and they really were delicious. After dinner we stayed at our table outside and talked for about an hour.


When we got back to the hostel we both agreed to go to bed even though it was only around 10 o'clock.

We were laying in our separate beds, chatting about old high school stories when all of a sudden the door to our balcony burst open and in walked a man. He had something in his hand and was headed for the door. Matthew and I sat silently staring at the man. I couldn't tell if he was our roommate or not but he sure acted like he knew what he was doing. The man fumbled for the light a moment before he turned it on and stared at us in surprise. We all looked at each other for a few seconds before the man laughed and said he thought he was in his own room. Matthew laughed too and the man apologized as he turned the light back off and made his way out of our room. I had been a bit scared but I thought about the incident and had a delayed laugh at it.

Sometime later I drifted off into a sleep about wine, friends and food.

Adelaide- Day 1

I think the bus tour wore us out because Matthew and I both slept until 10 o'clock the next morning. We had agreed that day 1 in Adelaide would be a rest and recoup day. I had felt the need for such a day and I had also noticed that most backpackers seemed to schedule in rest days each week in between changing cities.  For that reason I think we left most of Adelaide unexplored during this trip.  


I spent the morning catching up on my writing and at noon I called and talked to my parents for an hour on the phone. I caught them up on everything that had happened since leaving Melbourne: the lost clothes, the bus tour, the new friends and our plans for the next few days.


I found it interesting that I had to explain to my parents what the difference between a hostel and a hotel was. I hadn't thought about it but I guess there was no reason for them to know the difference. I told them that from my experience hotels were more luxurious: air conditioning, room service, cleaning services and privacy. Hostels were simple, low-maintenance places that made a great place for young backpackers to rest. There were public kitchens and bathrooms at most hostels and room service was not an option. The hostels were generally clean but it was mostly up to the guests to keep it that way.


One important thing I had learned was that hostels do not provide towels. This had become a problem when I left my towel in the laundry at Jen's. We were still without half of our clothes and my towel was one thing I didn't have. It was quite interesting trying to wash my face and shower without having a towel. I had mostly learned to shake and air dry and then use my dirty shirt as a way to dab my hair. Either way I ended up walking around with soaking wet hair for several hours.


After Matthew made some phone calls we made our way downstairs to reception. I hadn't paid for the room yet and the man on the phone yesterday told me to worry about it when I got there. They had been closed when we arrived the night before so this was our first opportunity.


The man at reception was the same man that I had talked to on the phone the day before. He recognized my name and told us his name was James. James was super helpful. He helped us arrange a bus for Sunday morning to the ferry and also found us a wine tour for Saturday. He printed out our vouchers and even gave us a map of cool things to do while we were in Adelaide.


The wine tour sounded fun but the three things that worried me were the three things that described it: bus, wine and beautiful windy roads. I decided to grin and bear it, worrying about it later.


When we got done with reception it was 4:30 and Matthew and I were starving. We hadn't ate all day but we didn't want to ruin our dinner. We also had a heated debate about whether it was "dinner" or "supper" but eventually decided in Australia it was “tea.”


We decided on a Greek snack food place. I ordered four individual calamari rings and a bowl of chips. The calamari was fresh and luscious, like it had been caught in the sea that morning.  The chips were thick and crispy.  I almost burnt my tongue on the first bite because they were so hot.  Matthew had four chicken nuggets and a bowl of chips as well.


Halfway through the meal I noticed I never got the glass of water I had asked for. I went inside to find the lady who had took my order but instead found a Greek man who seemed to be a few years older than me. I asked him for tap water but he said they didn't have any. He offered me water out of the sink and I said that was fine as long as it was safe to drink. I had noticed in the non-American world that water only came out of faucets and some of them were safe (assumedly) and others were marked with all caps signs saying, "DO NOT DRINK!"


He laughed and asked if I was from America and when I told him I was indeed from the States he informed me that my water back home wasn't any safer than the water on their tap. I shrugged and he came around the counter and handed me a bottle of water. I was so happy to see a bottle of water I could have kissed him.  He said the bottle of water was on the house since I was American. 


“What part of America are you from?”




“Nice. I have a cousin who lives in Baltimore.”  I found it common that when people knew someone from America it was usually one of the main coastal states like New York or California.  Though it was interesting to hear of people's relations to America, it was almost impossible for me to reply.  I had been to Baltimore once but neither I nor the man speaking to me knew enough about Baltimore to carry on a conversation.  

As the air grew quiet between us I decided to thank him once again for my bottle of water before turning to walk back to my calamari.  As I walked off I overheard him excitedly tell his friend that I was "all the way from America."


After our "afternoon tea" Matthew and I went back to the hostel and found a seat in the lounge area. There was a table next to us full of extremely loud men our age. We listed to their accent and tried to determine their nationality.  They were using their hands a lot and talking loudly.  The tones in their voices went up and down like an accordion playing a lively tune.  Were they French?  It wasn't German, not enough spitting.  We finally agreed they were Italian.  It became quite clear that the hand motions and voice fluctuations were dead giveaways.  They also had pasta in front of them too.  With our surroundings figured it out, it was here that I wrote for another three hours while Matthew assisted me in remembering details.

We went over each day of the bus tour.  What had happened on Day 1?  Who did we meet and how did we meet them?  I had scribbled notes at the end of each day but the details were what always fled my mind.  I would describe a scenario to Matthew and he would chime in with interesting facts he had remembered.  He'd tell me the good stuff I couldn't leave out and he'd also give me pointers on things I probably should leave out.

We talked about my blog and what I would do with all of these writings.  I told him I wanted to keep a clear record of everything we were experiencing in Australia.  I wanted to remember my trip when i was old and forgetful one day.  I also wanted others to be able to read about my journey and feel like they were on it with me.  I wanted to inspire those who were thinking about doing what we were doing and I wanted the people I had met to feel the impression they had made on my life.  

Matthew asked me if I thought I could turn it into a book and I said I was afraid that might happen because of how lengthy all of the descriptions were.  He decided it would be a good book and that I could leave the more detailed stuff off the blog so I could have more content for a book.  I thought this was a good idea, especially since I had already written eight pages on just one day of our trip.  

We sat and wrote and remembered for three hours.  Around 9 o'clock I finally called it quits and we made our way upstairs to the balcony outside of our room. There we met an interesting character from Israel. Ethan was traveling the country by car and paid the small fee of $15 per night to use the hostels facilities. He didn't pay full price because he didn't actually sleep in the hostel, he saved money by sleeping in his car.


Ethan had a long, full beard and dark, uncombed, curly hair on top of his head to match.  When Matthew complimented him on his beard he laughed and said he had a theory on beards.  He said his beard made him both trustworthy and crazy. He said people believe anything a bearded man says. One time he told a woman that he killed a bear with his own hands and she believed him. He blamed it on the beard. On the other hand, he said sometimes people assumed he wasn't trustworthy because his beard and hair made him look somewhat homeless.


We laughed at Ethan's jokes and then began discussing Israel. I ashamedly admitted that the only things I knew about Israel were out of the Bible. I had no knowledge of present-day Israel. When I pulled out my map to find the country I looked for several minutes before admitting that I couldn't find it. I was looking for a big chunk of land but what Ethan pointed out was a sliver that wasn't even as big as the name “Israel.” I was shocked.


I asked him a bit about the culture of Israel, mentioning I would like to see the ancient monuments of Christianity. He said Israel was so much more than historic monuments. He highly recommended I look into a city called Tel Aviv. Apparently that is the hip and upcoming place in Israel. He said it was second in the world for tourism destinations.


After a long visit with Ethan I noticed I was severely losing brain power. While Matthew and Ethan talked on about politics, religion and other interesting topics, I caught myself gazing at the mural on the side of the balcony. Swirls of blue and gold painted a whimsical picture of Adelaide.  The colors did remind me of the city surrounding me.  The peculiar style of the art matched the hostel with its bold and unusual style.  A few minutes went by before I realized I had missed whole parts of conversation. I decided I needed to get some sleep so I would be able to get up early the next day.  Afterall, I would need to be well-rested for the wine tour.