China. Maybe One Day #11: Christmas Down Under – Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Christmas Down Under

We arrived in Adelaide a few days before Christmas. On leaving the plane we
walked down a staircase and onto the hot tarmac of the airport. On passing
through a door we found ourselves in the main arrivals area and saw Liz
(Deborah’s friends from uni) waiting for us. I left the girls chatting
excitedly whilst I went off to retrieve our bags. I picked up my rucksack
and slung it easily onto my shoulders. Carrying Deborah’s rucksack proved to
be more of a problem though. I had been teasing her for months about the
size of it, but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer weight of the thing. Even
the airline had stuck a big sticker on it that read “Warning heavy load,
handle with care”.

Christmas Eve Debs, Ian and myself went to Adelaide Cathedral to listen to
Liz sing in the Choir. I think it was the first time that I had been to
Midnight Mass, and too be honest it wasn’t all that much fun. Luckily Debs
and Ian shared my sentiments so we had a bet on how long the sermon would
last. It ended up being 35 minutes long. Liz told us late that the vicar
doesn’t usually go on that long.

Christmas Day we got up earlyish and walked out into the blazing sunshine.
Ian was already up, tinkering away in his shed, and Liz had got up early to
sing at another church thing. As it was Christmas Day, and we were in Oz, we
decided to move all the Christmas decorations outside onto the patio. Ian
also dug out some big multi-coloured lights, so we strung these up around the
garden in preparation for the barbeque that night. With the tablecloth on
the patio table, a Christmas tree at its centre, tinsel around the umbrella
and the lights, the garden looked quite festive. To add to the atmosphere,
we moved all the presents out onto the table as well.

When Liz came back from church it was time to open all the presents. Surprisingly there were
some large packages for Debs and myself. Father Christmas had obviously been
listening in on our plans for the new year, because he bought us a cool box,
some sleeping bags and a couple of sleeping mats (Ian assured us that he
was going to throw all this stuff away anyway so we might as well have it).

Then it was time for Christmas lunch. Ian told us he had driven 1300km for
the treat we were about to get. It was a Pie. It was big and tasty and
filling, and seemed somehow more appropriate than a traditional Christmas
dinner. That evening Ian’s brother and parents came around and we had a
Barbeque, and plenty of drink. Which was nice.

A few days after Christmas, Liz took Debs and myself out to one of the wine
producing regions of the the area. There we spent a relaxing day drinking
wine, eating food and enjoying the scenery. Remarkably we only bought two
bottles of wine. That evening we went over to Ian’s brother’s house and
messed around in the swimming pool for a while, before going out to a Greek
restaurant in the evening. The restaurant actually features in our list of
places not to go back to.

December 29th we set off for Kangaroo Island. We had managed to book the
trip a couple of days before Christmas and were quite pleased with ourselves
for being so organised and also getting a big discount thanks to Ian. The
trip lasted three days, and in that time we had the only three days of rain
during the whole Christmas holidays. Still, it was nice to camp out under the
stars and see all the wildlife. We arrived back on New Year’s Eve, grubby and
tired. By the time we had got back to Liz and Ian’s, had a shower and eaten
some food it was already 11 o’clock. We had been invited to a party at
Ian’s brother’s house, but decided that we were just too tired to go. So we
watched the Sydney fireworks on the telly, brought the cats in for the night,
and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

New Year’s Day was a typical one. All we did was sit around the house
watching DVD’s and eating. On the 3rd we hired a car for the day and went
for a drive around the Adelaide hills. At our first stop, a viewpoint of the
whole of Adelaide, I bumped into a friend of mine from the ferry I took in
Chile! She was out on a Harley Davidson tour with her gran. Next, it was on
to a wildlife park. We saw loads of koala’s, kangaroo’s and various other
Australian animals. You could even feed the kangaroos and emus with little
pellets that you bought at the gate.

From there we drove to the German community of Handorf. It now looks like a tourist village. All the shops are themed, and all the restaurants serve German sausage or cream teas. It was a
fun place to have a look around for a couple of hours though. On we drove,
to the Murray River and then it was time to turn around and head back again.
It was a top day out and it was nice to get away from the house for a while,
as both of us had been getting itchy feet and wanted to get moving again.

We didn’t have to wait long, as on the 5th we had organised to take a car all the way to Perth. It didn’t cost us much, as I had phoned up all the car/camper van companies on the book and asked them if they needed any vehicles relocating to Perth. The deal we got was a car for six days at a cost of $5 a day. We would have $250 worth of fuel for free and 2500km free as well. With the help of Ian we planned a route to Perth that would take in some of the best sites, popped our bags, tents, sleeping bags, etc, into the car and set off.