Archive for August, 2015

South Australia diary, day 5

Sunday, 30 August, 2015

Monday 11 May, 2015. 16:30

We’ve checked into a motel in Angaston in the Barossa Valley as we wind our way south again, having said goodbye to the Clare Valley today.

We got up and headed into Clare to have breakfast at Wild Saffron, a cafe that M. wanted to try. We got there just as the doors were opened at 08:30. We took a table near the front window, next to a wall where various celebrities had signed and left messages. We identified messages from Catriona Rowntree and Stuart MacGill among some other less familiar names. To eat, we both had the “healthy trio” muesli, with fruit salad and yoghurt. The muesli was slightly toasted but not sweet, and had macadamia nuts in it. The fruit salad was watermelon, rockmelon, pineapple, and grapes.

Monkey has a cuppa
Breakfast coffee at Wild Saffron.

After breakfast we returned to our motel to check out and then drove out to Mintaro to see the Mintaro Maze and Martindale Hall. The maze is a classic hedge maze, the goal being to navigate to the hidden circular pond in the centre, and then find your way to the exit. We arrived right after it opened at 10:00 and entered the small gift shop at the front of the property. It looked like the maze had been grown by someone on their own private property and was just run as a family business. The lady who took our entrance fee of $12 each gave us a sheet of paper with some quest questions on it and a pencil. Some of the questions were: “What team does the lost football fan in the maze support?” “One hump or two?” “Who is lost in the maze (it’s someone you may recognise)?” “How many sisters are there?” “How many gnomes are in the maze?” “Who in the maze is associated with love?” And “How many gnomes in the gnome village have red hats?”

Read more: We get lost in the maze, visit a Georgian mansion, have lunch at a winery, and eat the Best Pizza in Australia (2009) for dinner!

South Australia diary, day 4

Friday, 28 August, 2015

Sunday 10 May, 2015. 16:56

We got up this morning and drove south to Sevenhill, the next town along the road from Clare. Here we went to The Little Red Grape Bakery, which was open from 07:00, to get some breakfast. We had the idea that they would have a sit down breakfast menu, but it was simply a bakery cafe with the bakery wares that were on display. Since nothing else opened until 09:00 on Sunday, we made do, M. getting an apricot danish and a coffee, and me getting a sausage roll and vanilla slice.

St Aloysius' Church
St Aloysius’ Church, Sevenhill.

After eating, we took the short drive to the nearby Sevenhill Cellars winery. This was the first winery established in this region, and was founded by Jesuit monks, to make sacramental wine. They still make authorised sacramental wine, but have diversified into a range of table wines similar to other wineries in the area. The grounds of the winery include a marvellous old church, St Aloysius, which we drove past in pouring rain to get to the cellar door and wine tasting room. The weather today began dismally, grey and dreary with driving rain.

Read more: A day of visiting wineries and watching spectacular weather

South Australia diary, day 3

Sunday, 23 August, 2015

Saturday 9 May, 2015. 12:12

We are sitting in D&M’s Bakery Cafe in Angaston, having a slow and relaxing lunch.

Our day began with a drive from our motel into the heart of Nuriootpa to find a cafe for breakfast. We passed one open one before reaching the far end of the town and turning around at the shopping mall there, where nothing was open yet. We headed back to the only open place we’d seen, a place called Linke’s Bakery and Tearooms. This turned out to have a large area of cafe seating and a hot breakfast menu, so we sat at a table by a window looking out on the street.

M. got the muesli with yoghurt, while I decided to start my Snot Block & Roll reviews first thing in the morning by trying a sausage roll and a vanilla slice. Several people came and went ordering coffees as we ate, and a few people came in for breakfast as well.

Barossa Valley Farmer's Market
Barossa Valley Farmer’s Market.

After eating, we went back to the motel to pack the car and check out. Then we drove towards Angaston for the Barossa Valley Farmer’s Market, which operates every Saturday morning. This was evidently very popular, as the street was lined with parked cars for about 100 metres back from the entrance to the site. We managed to get a spot right near the driveway and walked in, where there was a bustling car park full of cars. The market was mostly inside a huge tin shed, called the Vintner’s Shed, with some stalls of fresh vegetables and fruits spilling outside. Inside the shed were four aisles of market stalls, selling everything from fresh carrots to jams, sauces, condiments, as well as bakery goods, meats, fish, honey, cakes, nuts, and so on. There was one large stall selling hot food including egg and bacon rolls, strawberry pancakes, and a few other things. Saskia Beer had a stall there and she was there cooking various stuff wi her mother Maggie helping briefly. We managed to get a photo of M. and Maggie together in one discreet shot before Maggie left and we didn’t see her again.

Read more: A day of driving from the Barossa Valley to the Clare Valley; some beautiful scenery

South Australia diary, day 2

Thursday, 20 August, 2015

Friday, 8 May, 2015. 17:27

We are sitting in the Barossa Valley Brewery, having a drink before dinner. The brewery bar and restaurant is in an old house and we are in a small room off the side, sitting in comfy armchair in front of a fireplace which is nice and warming. The weather today was cold and showery, and occasionally windy as well, so it’s good to warm up a bit.

We began the day by walking from our cottage accommodation out to the main street of Tanunda in search of a cafe for breakfast. It was about 08:30, and the first two cafes we passed didn’t open until 9, but we found a place called Keil’s which was open. It looked good, and we ordered some home made granola with roasted strawberry yoghurt for M., while I had fried mushrooms on toast with ricotta and caramelised balsamic vinegar. The toast was thick slices of a Vienna loaf baked by a local bakery. It was all good and M. said the granola and yoghurt were good too.

Mushrooms on toast, at Keil's
Mushrooms on toast at Keil’s.

We walked back to our cottage and packed before leaving the key in the key cabinet thingy outside, then hopped in the car for a day of exploring the area. We began however by driving up through Nuriootpa to find the Barossa Gateway Motel, where we planned to spend tonight. I tried calling earlier but nobody answered, so we stopped in to see if the had a room free, and secured one for just a bit more than half what we paid for a night in the cottage.

That done, our next stop was Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, which we arrived at just as it opened at 10:30. Despite this there were dozens of people there already, browsing the shop and tasting the products. There were tasting dishes of maybe thirty different products out, with lots of clean wooden sticks and plastic spoons for people to use. We tried jams, chutneys, sauces, preserved fruit in verjuice, some mustard pears, and olive oil and dukkah with bread cubes. They also had a salted caramel sauce and a chocolate vino cotto sauce. The variety was amazing and we could have potentially had a meal just by tasting everything a couple of times. There were plenty of cafe tables too for people to sit and eat the various snacks and cakes on sale. The building overlooked a picturesque lake which would have been nice to sit outside and look at while eating, but a heavy rain began falling while we were inside. We bought four jars of jam and a jar of the chocolate sauce for M.’s dad, then raced out to the car.

Read the rest of this day: it’s a bit of a food day!

More Italian progress

Saturday, 8 August, 2015

Continuing my lessons, the sort of sentence translations I’m dealing with now are like “I wanted to believe that you would have looked at me one last time.” which becomes “Volevo credere che mi avresti guardato un’ultimo volte.”

The other thing I’ve started doing is reading my first book in Italian. Some time ago I picked up a copy of Diario di una Schiappa, the Italian translation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I tried to make a start at it a couple of times, bit each time it was a real struggle getting through even a page or two of the text, because I hadn’t learnt enough verb tenses and conjugations to make it more than a few words without having to look something up in my Italian-English dictionary.

But now I’ve started again, and am making good progress. I can read roughly half the sentences without needing to look up anything, and in most others I only need to look up a new vocabulary word or two. Which is good, because it’s broadening my vocabulary a lot more than just doing Duolingo’s lessons. For example, some of the new words I’ve learnt include: scherzo (joke), uscire (to go outside), riuscire (to succeed), svegliare (to wake up).

Oh, and it’s a hilarious book, which is keeping me wanting to read more. I’ve not read the English version, so it’s discovering new funny things each time I read a bit. And because it’s a children’s book in diary format, it’s easy to read a relatively small section at a time.