If you’ve followed along this trip so far, you realize how full our days have been. Consider that our arrival in Adelaide marked the completion of the first 2/3 of our holiday. We had visited many of the friends we hoped to catch up with, many of whom we hadn’t seen since 2011. We even managed to catch up with all the friends we made during our trip home through Vietnam’s in 2012.
Paula and Neil were on exchange in Ottawa in 2014. Paula taught, Neil had more time to visit. Leon had arranged a visit to the Army Officers Mess during their stay. They had attended the many exchange teacher events including a wild white water rafting ride where Paula lost her water shoes and Leon got seriously dragged across the bottom of the river when their raft went over during a bad pass over rapids. We hadn’t seen them since our farewell Xmas party in 2014. At the time, I was already on sick leave and contemplating early retirement.
It was pretty warm when we got off the plane at 10pm. They drove us to their new home. Paula told us how she wanted to move to a larger home close to their existing house. They found a funky 100 yr old home, purchased from a 100 yr old man. The house is amazingly well preserved, especially the kitchen. It will be project getting it to their specifications but what fun! Well, I think it will be fun.
At any rate, we had to get up the next morning to drive to the Barossa, one of Australia’s most important wine region. Neil and Paula had ordered a few cases of wine as part of a wine club and that included picking it up and a great wine tour!
The winery was Langmeil, set in what used to be a village established by Lutheran Germans who had come to Australia to escape religious persecution. It was a very hot day as we listened to our tour guide and visited the 150 yr old vines, a rarity in most of Australia. South Australia managed to escaped a blight (Grape phylloxera) over 130 yrs ago and the parent vines had been preserved. I remember hearing about this in Bendigo years ago as they lost much of their original vines during that same period.
I have to tell you how we started our tour. It was 10:30am and everyone was offered sparkling Shiraz to take along as we wandered to some of the old buildings, including the blacksmith’s forge and the actual vineyard. I couldn’t stomach fizzy red wine so I opted for a light white. But geez, it was 47c by the time we got done our tour and loaded up the car with the wine cases. Water was my best friend, wine didn’t even come close to cooling me down.
Anyway, we went on to a nice brewery in town and had lunch and a wee glass of bubbly. By now Leon and I had figured out there was no point in ordering 2 meals, so we shared a salad with chicken.
Paula took pity on us and arranged for us to have a swim at her friends’ house. Funny story, her friend Debbie actually won the pool on a game show years ago. That is cool and so were we after a dip and some more bubbly.
Back at their house, Neil and Paula had prepared a lovely lamb roast for dinner. We enjoyed the evening and got ready to board a train to Melbourne the next morning. We wished we had planned it better to spend more time with our friends but it will have to be for another time. We even discussed doing a house exchange in the near future. Stay tuned on that one.
You certainly covered some miles on this trip. How lovely to catch up with so many good friends.
I know! It was crazy to spend no more than 2 nights in any one place, on average. We loved catching up with friends. It was the main goal of the trip. Now we hope a bunch of them with come visit us.
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I hope they do!