Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bonus trip: Adelaide!

Because we didn't want to take Henry to the intense heat of Uluru, we sent Allen and the girls first, and then Leo and I went two weeks later. Leo and I were more interested in a full "outback" experience with camping. I booked a tour that would drive us to the sights, and we'd get to campout under the stars.

I worked on this trip A LOT. Lots of researching tours and itineraries and airline flights. It was complicated because we had to fly into Alice Springs on one airline and then back home on another. Trying to find the cheap flights, the right number of days apart was mind-numbing.

So after all that it came down to being LATE to the airport because a couple of kids in the night decided to drag race on the interstate. And they both wrecked. Horribly. Everyone died. Which is tragic. Way worse than missing your trip that you've spent a ton of time and money working out. But, I wasn't the idiot that decided to drag race. But THOUSANDS of people were trapped on the interstate that morning and I'm sure it negatively impacted their days as well. Poor choices have poor consequences.

What was left of one of the drag-racing cars.

I called the airline for comfort. Hope. Something. They gave none. They said too bad.

So the trip started really bad.

But the people at the ticket counter were much more willing to help than the mean lady on the phone. They told me they would put us on the next flight, but it was full. I told them I'd sit in the bathroom. Then they said they'd move us to the next day, which was okay, except Allen was going to have to COME BACK through that traffic to pick us up. The tour company said we wouldn't have time to go to King's Canyon, which was the entire reason I had to deal with the Alice Springs leg of the trip at all. Which cost more money. So they suggested we try to find a flight directly to Uluru. What? I was originally told I had to go to Alice Springs if I wanted to see King's Canyon!

My head was spinning. No flights to Uluru. Nothing could get me to Alice Springs that day. We pieced together what I could to salvage my investment. Not real thrilled. Less camping. And right now, with this stress level, I needed camping.

We figured moving everything back a day was our best bet, but as we talked with the ticket agent, she was telling us about all the places in the world she's traveled. She was the happiest and kindest woman. Her name was Zubeyda. She loves to travel and told us about hauling off to Canada with her sister for two years for the thrill. Visiting islands that explode volcanic stuff randomly and you have to jump away. When I told her that we were only in Australia for a year and that I'm trying to make it to all seven states before we go, and that our layover in Adelaide was going to give me a chance to do that, she decided to let us go to Adelaide that day (breaking the rules), and finish the other flight to Alice Springs the next day. Leo and I were actually really happy with that. Bonus! And Allen wouldn't have to come back and get us. We liked her way better than that mean lady on the phone.

So we were off to Adelaide. Jordan got online and found a hotel for me that I booked while we waited for the flight. I texted Maddie, who has actually read the entire "In a Sunburned Country" book about what sights we should see in Adelaide. She said there isn't much there but it's really pretty. Okay, low pressure.

We flew to Adelaide and snatched the bus. We ended up getting on the wrong one which took us to the city instead of our hotel, but that was fine. We had time. We chatted with locals on the bus who were very helpful. One young man and his girlfriend offered to show us where the mall was and how to get on the tram to go to our hotel. We were loving Adelaide already!

We dragged our luggage all over the streets. The Tour Down Under bike race had just finished there a few days earlier. I took some pictures for Allen. We jumped into a souvenir shop and I got sucked into a couple of didgeridoos and a boomerang. We saw some cool stuff but things were shutting down for the day and we were really hungry. We took the tram down to Glenelg on Holdfast Bay to our hotel.

It was a beautiful area that was all walkable and quiet. There was a beautiful pier (they call it a jetty), a great family playground, a museum, lots of restaurants and shops. And the tram dropped us right in the middle of it all. We kept walking around while it was daylight. Eventually we decided to dump our luggage and then head back for something to eat. But still, we wanted to maximize the daylight. The sunset was beautiful and we had a great time combing the beach for seashells. They were so colorful!

The beach liked like such a happy place. Children and families were playing everywhere. 
There was something for everyone. 

Oh, Henry would love this!

The HMS Buffalo (His Majesty's Ship Buffalo). Launched in 1813, and shipwrecked in 1840. 
It looks like it got turned into a restaurant, but was closed now. 

This hotel has a revolving restaurant on the top. 

Yup, we are definitely making Memories and Milestones.

A rainbow? Notice the airplane in the upper right. And the other black thing in flight is a bird. 

We could have walked the coast a long time finding shells. 

sniff... Only a year and a half until he's moving out.

I loved these colorful shells. Leo and I both really love searching and discovering them. 

By now it was about 9:00 and we were famished. I really just wanted a minimum chips to fill up. They don't do that here. Not like "home" in Melbourne where $3.50 gets you enough salty chips for 4 people. We settled on a Greek Yiro. It didn't matter how many bites I took, it never seemed to get smaller. I think it had enough calories for an entire day, which was fine because I hadn't eaten much. It was delicious.

The next morning we walked a long way to "The Old Gum Tree." Seemed like something I needed to see. It was just a tree that grew weird, so it became a meeting spot for people. "I'll meet you by the old gum tree." Then an important document was signed there and it became a historic place.

We checked out the museum. In addition to some historic information about the area, it had a really weird display of old-time side show novelties. It is head-scratching to think people paid money to play with these stupid amusements. But I suppose they were the first "video games."

We stopped at a corner cafe to grab some lunch before heading to the airport. I couldn't resist finding out what a roasted pumpkin sandwich tasted like. It's my new favorite! Roasted pumpkin, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and gourmet lettuce. 

We had to catch the bus back to the airport so we found our spot in plenty of time and waiting. I found this really awesome pinecone. As I searched around to see if there were more, Leo walked around some bushes to look there. I saw his face light up as he said, "Oh my gosh!" He ran toward a bush and picked up a $50 bill! We both were very happy with our treasures.

The bus didn't come. After it was 10 minutes late we worried that we were standing in the wrong spot. We saw loads of buses coming down the road but they always turned straight instead of coming to our stop. So we decided to relocate one street closer so we wouldn't miss the next bus. We knew missing our flight this time would mean NO tour to Uluru. And of course, after we were one block away, the bus came. But we had to RUN back to the original stop to flag it down. Oh my gosh. I must have looked like an idiot waving my arms trying to get the driver's attention. But this was do or die.

He saw me. He probably laughed. And I got on and breathlessly fumbled in my pouch for bus fare. What a relief. This trip was full of adventure already and we weren't even to our destination.

Goodbye Glenelg! We are so glad we got to meet you. 

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