Friday, 21 January 2011

Adelaide And Glenelg.

Yeah!Bet kids drag their protesting parents towards these holiday apartments with glee. Adelaide ,South Australia,s largest city at 1million people is bigger than shrinking Glasgow and a lot more spread out being low rise except for the gleaming cube of the central business district.A city within a park is an apt description as the city centre is totally encircled by a wall of parkland separating it from the low rise rest.
I love exploring new cities as much as any hill walking day.My Plan was to take a tram from Glenelg,Adelaide,s favourite seaside suburb where we were staying in this rather splendid hotel......

With fantastic views over beach and city....
To here.Victoria Square in the very Center of the cube of tall buildings.Once here I would trek  up the main central mall and round every park one by one ending in the Botanic Gardens.I would then trek back here to get the tram down to Glenelg again.It was a long day,the equivalent of a big day up the mountains only without the ascent.
I caught the first tram of the morning and was off.As you can see it was a nice day.
The River Torrens flows through the central district,widens into Lake Torrens at its heart then slims down again to normal size to reach the coast not far from Glenelg.Although good weather a mixed bag was forecast so I didn,t hire a bike.Adelaide is like a mix of both American and UK cities with confident tall modern skyscrapers  of glass and steel but also older churches and institutions hunched below in their shadow.
One surprise was all the pelicans right in the heart of this metropolis.These are massive birds. Australia has the worlds biggest pelicans.A fact you are aware of when they peer down at the kneeling photographer underneath them.
The also have the largest bill of any bird in the world probably because the fish  they catch are giant sized  too.
I enjoyed the views of the city and all the different trees ,shrubs wildlife and whizzing incests.Around every corner something unknown or exotic loomed.Even though we share something of a common heritage and language Australia is still a big culture shock to the visitor,more so visually than say France or Italy in that it is so strange and far away.No wonder the early settlers wanted to introduce some things they knew from home but with devastating results for the native environment.
Next up was the Botanic gardens where I sat and read a local paper in the sunshine.Obviously the more interesting items for me were the more unusual or exotic fare that stood out from the page.The global plague of x factor ,big slumber and reality TV dross took up the same amount of headlines.I ignored them and spotted  all the other stuff instead.
 This is Hindley Street where it all happens of an evening.During the day its a normal shopping street but at night it turns into the main event.Full of bars, adult entertainment reviews ,nightclubs and assorted folk indulging in bad behavior.Well according to this paper anyway. Seems Oz has its fair share of Gangsters,Biker gangs and rowdy characters like any big city.There was even a christian chapter of the Hell,s angels in Adelaide who had been hanging around (allegedly) with some  notoriously shady dudes in this very street.So Concerned were the Melbourne chapter that they,d burned rubber team handed to talk or (ahem) nudge their errant brothers  back into the christian fold.
It sounds quite funny but you wouldn't want to mess with these guys, christian or any other types of biker.Most were built like tattooed tanks.Body building and illustrated bible stories of evil deeds punished by the righteous being highly popular arm,chest  and back decorations  within the various chapters.
On TV  the sport consisted of Aussie rules football,Soccer or footie(UK Style football),basketball,Swimming,surfing,Trotting horse racing with little carts, and a growing newcomer to Adelaide,Girl roller derby ,introduced by a lady living here from Austin, Texas, the  real home of this sport.
The weirdest thing on TV was Inspector Rex,a normal police series in German about a hard working detective and his partner who solve crimes.The partner just happens to be a big furry Alsatian dog.A cross between lassie and Taggart.It actually looked pretty good!
While I was engrossed in the paper I,d scattered a few crumbs of fruit cake leftover from my lunch.As well as the usual Oz pigeons ,moorhens ,coots and ducks this wee guy arrived and chased everything else away.
This looks intimidating enough but for bigger birds it had an even more threatening display.
Even birds twice its size backed down.Its a bell bird or noisy miner it says here.The bird equivalent of a pit bull!Thanks to my niece Connie,her husband Tony and children Jackson and Jordie by the way for providing me with a sizable book on Australian birds.I wouldn't have a clue otherwise. For example, did you know there are over 50 types of Aussie parrots alone.
The Botanical gardens were very lush and extensive and I was glad I,d had a seat.
This house stood on top of a hill overlooking the city.Owned  at one time by a very prominent family it used to also belong to the state MP.
After my tour of the gardens I ended up back at the lake in the heart of Adelaide for a few final pictures.
When you see pelicans up close they seem almost reptilian which of course in the far distant past they  were.
When you sit nose to bill at the side of the lake its like looking into the eyes of a cartoon character and yes they do take a lot of flapping to get airborne.This was in Elder park where you can hire bikes to go round the network of cycle tracks that crisscross the district.

This was my first real walk into a proper Chinatown market very interesting but too many folk with young kids wandering everywhere meant  any pictures were out.
I Arrived back at the hotel in Glenelg and spent the rest of the time there with my sister who had been happily shopping on Jetty road, the towns main street.
Here she is with our hotel in background.
A view from our window later  that evening.
It got pretty windy at times but on the whole great weather.
Another great trip...........

1 comment:

The Glebe Blog said...

Talking of parrots,I seem to remember over in WA the most common was known by a number.I think it was known as the 28