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Sunday, 25 September 2016

North Terrace, Adelaide

The city's cultural boulevard

Adelaide has its main cultural buildings clustered alongside each other. The city is unique among Australian cities as it was planned, a surveyor Colonel William Light, planned the city and laid down the basic structure before the arrival of the first white settlers. The centre of the city was to be a grid and he very imaginatively called the roads which were the boundaries, North, South, West and East Terrace. Outside these streets is a circle of parkland and then the suburbs beyond.

North Terrace developed into the cultural precinct, it began with the construction of the Institute, which housed the library, art gallery and museum of the young colony.

The Institute building, the oldest building on North Terrace, now part of the S.A. Library and it holds temporary exhibitions. The statue in front of it was placed there much later, it's King Edward the VII, who reigned 1901-1910.

As the colony grew so did the cultural precinct, a separate museum was built. The current museum was built in stages, the oldest part is the red brick building in the centre, it has a 1960s addition in the front of it and the side wing was built later. The more ornate and was built when the colony had more money!

The Art Gallery, Robert Hannaford is a well known Australian artist and the gallery is holding a special exhibition of his work. He lives in South Australia.

The Mitchell building, a part of the University of Adelaide.

The Elder Hall, it is part of the Elder Conservatorium of Music. The statue is that of Thomas Elder, the wealthy pastoralist who helped establish the 'con' and donated money for the building of the hall, which opened in 1900. Concerts are regularly held in the hall for the public by the con's students.

Bonython Hall, part of the University of Adelaide. It's used for the university graduation ceremonies as well as special events, I've attended art exhibitions there. Despite its appearance the hall was built in the mid 1930s thanks to the donation of Langdon Bonython who was a wealthy newspaper owner in Adelaide. He also paid for the completion of South Australia's parliament house which had languished in its unfinished state for 20 or so years. The floor in the hall is slanted, folklore has it that it was built this way so the hall could not be used for dances!

Huge tree in the university grounds, I thought it was a Morton Bay Fig, but it doesn't seem to have the aerial roots that they have.

The Brookman building, part of the University of South Australia. Originally this building had been The School of Mines and Industries. Another wealthy benefactor George Brookman who had made it fortune in the Western Australian Gold mines, donated money to built this school. (North Terrace would look a lot different if there weren't so many philanthropists!) With the South Australian colony heavily dependent on its mines (copper in particular) a school of mines and industries was important to train the next generation of engineers.

I've always called this statue the Boar War Memorial, but looking it up I see that it's also known as the South African War Memorial. It's the first war memorial in Adelaide and was placed in a prominent position on the intersection of North Terrace and King William Road. (The road that bisects Adelaide, named after Queen Adelaide's husband!) According to my research the statue commemorates the 1531 South Australians and 1500 horses (not everyone got a horse!) that were sent to South Africa to fight in the Boar War 1899-1902. It was the first war that South Australians fought in. The statue was unveiled in 1904. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What's in my bag.

The non-trendy traveller version!

I like to read other travel blogs and also watch vloggers who travel on youtube. I saw that a popular thing to do is show what's in their bags as they travel. Basically appealing to their readers and viewers nosier side! Mine too!

But from what I've seen they all seem to have expensive tastes, the contents of my travel bag I thought was a bit more realistic.

Here's my version of what I take with me in my handbag (for North Americans, my purse). I also have a backpack that I use for carryon items, I don't travel all that light!

The bag I use is not an elegant Prada bag or any other kind of designer bag that seems to get used! It's cloth bag I bought at the local accessories shop for $20! But it turned out to be the perfect handbag when travelling as it has outside pockets, that's where I keep the packs of tissues, the hand sanitiser, any tickets I've been given, scraps of paper with important information that I need to find quickly! Saves a lot of rummaging around inside the bag.

Inside the bag I have:

  •  my documents folder, I just got a new zipup one so I don't have to worry about things falling out anymore!
  • a notebook for taking notes about anything I need to, addresses etc. I also use it to write down words in other languages that I want to learn. I'm a visual not an aural learner, so I need to see a word written, rather than just hear it to remember it. (My top tip for learning a language by immersion)
  • a camera
  • a diary, I'm old school enough to want a physical diary even though I know there's a calendar on the iPhone. I never look at it! Plus the diary is where I write names, phone numbers, passport number (!) incase the iPhone battery is flat!
  • I also have an iPod with music on it, I've had to delete all the music from my iPhone as I didn't have enough storage on it! Travelling by train in particular I love to listen to music as I look out the window and see the landscape go by.
  • iPhone, which I connect to wifi when travelling, I only actually have 2 travel apps on it. The London Underground map and an app that uses your phone's gps to show you where you are and it doesn't need wifi to use. 
  • tissues, a must, normally I have at least 2 packs. You never know when you'll need them and there's always a toilet somewhere that you need to use that has no toilet paper!!
  • hand sanitiser, I'm not too neurotic about travel germs so don't use the sanitiser that much. But I do draw the line at horrible public toilets, that's where the hand sanitiser is used liberally!
  • hand cream, to use mainly on the plane. Long haul flights in particular will dry you out.
  • purse (wallet) with cards, and currency of where ever it is I'm travelling to. I keep the currency of my first stop (or only stop, if just visiting one country) and any other currency in small ziplock bags. I then just change the currency around.
These are the basic items that I carry onto a flight, the bag I use is a perfect size (not too small, not too big) that I can also cram in when sight seeing; a magazine, or a newspaper, or a bottle of water, or a snack of some sort. The all important sunglasses too, I'm blind without them on a bright sunny day!

In addition to a handbag I have a carryon bag with other items, I'll save that reveal for a later date!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Hahndorf, South Australia

Australia's oldest surviving German settlement

A short 20 minute drive up the freeway (it's up as it's through the Adelaide Hills!) from Adelaide is the small town of Hahndorf. 

It was originally established by Lutheran migrants who were escaping from religious persecution in what was then Prussia. They arrived in the new colony of South Australia at the end of December 1838, when the colony was just 2 years old. The captain of the ship they sailed on, although Danish was able to speak English and he negotiated for the settlers to buy land in the Adelaide Hills. They moved to the area in March 1839. In gratitude the town was named after Captain Hahn.

The original 54 families created a farm village and built it in the style that was familiar to them. That style (with some later Australian touches, such as wide verandahs to help keep out the heat) is what Hahndorf is now known for. It's a popular tourist attraction, lots of day visitors from Adelaide as well as overseas tourists.

The Hahndorf Old Mill, it's now a restaurant and hotel, but had originally been a flour mill for the town and surrounding areas.

The attraction of the town is the main street with its traditional style buildings, originally most had been private homes, now they're either shops or restaurants catering to the day trippers. This was the quieter end of the main street, I visited on a Sunday and there was quite the crowd walking along the main street in the centre of the town.

The streetscape in summer is lovely as the old trees have leaves on them! In 1885, hundreds of oak, cork and plane trees were planted and most of them survived to make for a pretty main street.

Had to include this one! The name made me smile!

You can buy your German souvenirs, no need to travel to Germany!

This is now a restaurant, but it had been the town blacksmith. The inside is lovely with lots of exposed stonework.

Education was important to those early pioneers and they eventually established the Hahndorf Academy. It now houses exhibitions as well as being the site of the tourist information office.

A car enthusiast, also out for a country drive it seems! Parked in the main street.

One of the few cottages in the main street that is still a private house. It's not in the main centre part of the town. According to the little heritage sign this is Rodert's Cottage, it's a symmetrical farm cottage built in 1860.

There is a public laneway alongside the cottage and so it's possible to see the property from the back with all the old farm buildings, it looks as though some are being restored.

St Paul's Lutheran church, the foundation stone was laid in 1890 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Lutheran church in Hahndorf. (there was a plaque!)

Closer to the centre of town, but not in the main street is St. Michael's Church, which is the oldest Lutheran church in Australia to still have a worshipping congregation at its church site.

According to the plaques, the front section is from 1858, the Bell Tower was erected to  commemorate the centenary of the foundation of the church in 1839 (the bell tower was built in 1938) 

Hahndorf is a nice way to spend a day as a tourist in Adelaide, it's possible to browse the variety of shops, get something to eat and have a relaxing stroll around the town.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Thorngrove Manor, South Australia

A privately run small luxury hotel.

Spring has officially begun in Australia, and it's also the season of the Open Garden scheme. Private gardens are open to the public, you pay an entrance fee to the garden owners which is then donated to a charity or charities of their choice.

The garden at Thorngrove Manor was opened for the first time in ten years. And it proved to be very popular with a large crowd of people walking around, taking pictures without too many people in them was a challenge!

The house (manor) was built in 1984 in the style of a baroque manor, the interiors in particular are very manoresque! It's run as a small luxury hotel with only a few rooms and it's popular for special occasions. 

It was lovely to walk around the grounds (the manor wasn't opened), having previously only seen it from the road.

The detail in the building is amazing and as it's now over 30 years old (a baby in real manor years!) it's being to look aged.

Undercover entrance to the hotel.

Tower view from the garden.

The garden has some rather cute touches, such as this topiary dog.

Thorngrove Manor is in Stirling in the Adelaide Hills, it's not far (about 20 minutes on the freeway) from Adelaide and a good base from which to explore the Adelaide Hills.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Historic Victor Harbor

One  of South Australia's first seaside towns.

Victor Harbor began its life as a whaling station and then port for the cargo that was transported down the Murray River. Once commercial activity decreased, the town became popular with Adelaide residents as a seaside retreat. A great deal of the attraction lay in the milder summer weather. It can be 40 degrees Celsius  or more in Adelaide and at Victor Harbor the temperature is in the high 20s!

Tourists started to arrive in the later part of the 19th century and it made good business sense to cater for those tourists. Accommodation was built, some of it still standing today.

The Hotel Grosvenor was built in 1896, to be ready for the 1897 summer season. It's around the corner from the train station and close to the beach. It was state of the art modern when it was built and it boasted the first gaslit rooms in a hotel in South Australia.

The Anchorage is an old guesthouse which has been restored and still offers accommodation now. It's directly opposite the beach.

Platform at the Victor Harbor train station. Holiday makers and the locals would arrive by train from Adelaide or the surrounding area. It's still used nowadays for the arrival and departure of the 'Cockle train' the stream powered train, travelling between Victor Harbor and Goolwa.

The platform has been 'dressed' to resemble what the platform was like during the height of rail transport to and from Victor.

Local people realised that they had a rather large group that would disembark at Victor. Small shops attached to a residence began to appear, ready to trade with the passengers as they left the train station.

The area outside the train station is now a carpark, but I imagine in it would have been a busy area with horse drawn vehicles. Then opposite the train station, a row of shops with their residences attached.

The window display is a historical one with photographs and items from the shop's past. 

It's a pretty little area to walk through, giving an idea of what life was like over a century ago in a small country town by the seaside.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Lake Como, Italy

Picture postcard scenery

Lake Como is about an hour north of Milan, and it's a popular holiday destination for Italians as well as foreign tourists. It's a fabulous place to visit, all the towns around the lake are lovely.

For someone like me who grew up in Australia, seeing this amount of water is amazing! Lake Como has 2 branches, the small hill in the middle of the picture is where the 2 branches meet, the town at that point is the most famous one on the lake, Bellagio.

The two branches are known to Italians by the main city at the base of the branch. So 'Ramo di Como' with the city of Como, and 'Ramo di Lecco' with the city of Lecco at the base of the branch. From Milan there are 2 different train lines that service Lake Como, one goes to Como and then into Switzerland. The other, a local line, goes up the Lecco branch of the lake serving the small towns on the eastern side of the lake.

Como has a cathedral, the Duomo. The piazza infront of the cathedral has quite a few restaurants catering to tourists.

My favourite thing to do is to go on the lake, to take a ferry up the lake to the different towns.

Villa Carlotta, at Tremezzina is a great stop for people who like beautiful gardens. The Villa was given to Charlotte, a duchess from what's now Germany, and named after her. Carlotta is the Italian version of Charlotte.

One year I was at Villa Carlotta in spring so got to see the climbing wisteria in bloom as well as the rhododendrons. Really pretty.

Spotted from the ferry, a small church up on the mountain.

A wedding couple on a gondola style boat!

Menaggio, across the lake from Bellagio and far less crowded!

Kayaks on the lake.

Varenna on the Lecco branch, frequent ferries sail the triangle from Varenna to Menaggio and Bellagio.

Coastal path at Varenna.

Ferries depart from either Como or Lecco going up that branch of the lake, right up to the top of Lake Como at Colico. Fast ferries just stop at a few towns on the way, then there's the slower ones that stop at smaller towns. The Como branch has buses that connect the towns and the Lecco branch has a local train line. And then there are the cross lake ferries, such as the ones that travel from Varenna to Menaggio and Bellagio. 

Lake Como is just stunning, early spring the scenery also includes snowcapped mountains. The lake has beaches where people can swim, I've only ever paddled as the water, coming from those snow capped mountains, is freezing!! I admired the hardy Italians who could swim in it!