Weekend in Adelaide and Victor Harbor

Last weekend Henry and I headed north of Keppoch Hall (until then the furthest north I had been in Australia) all the way up to Victor Harbor (and yes, that is how it is spelled), a fantastic seaside city on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  We arrived in the  pitch black at about 7 and picked up lamb tandoori pizza (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it) to take back to our place at Whaler’s Inn, right on the side of The Bluff.  Victor Harbor is on Encounter Bay, a huge curving part of the Peninsula from The Bluff around to Port Elliot, about 15 minutes away.

Saturday morning we woke up eaaaarrrrlllly . . . really early: 5:30 am.  Henry’s tee-off at Royal Adelaide was at 7:50, and it takes just over an hour to get there through McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills on a twisty-turny road.  I haven’t been in a big city since arriving in Australia back at the end of February, and seeing the city lights illuminate the low clouds in the dark sky was strangely familiar.  The sun rose over the city as we drove down from the hills towards the golf course. The fog got thicker, too – probably why scuba diving was cancelled.  So instead of heading under the sea, I headed into the city to the Central Market, for some early morning shopping, eating and sightseeing.

I got there just after 8, and the market stalls were still in the final stages of setting up.  There were people everywhere, with their trolleys and bags of fresh veggies, meats and odds and ends.  There are over 250 stores of every kind in the market, and I had a great time just wandering up and down every aisle, being a part of the Saturday morning bustle.  Glossy eggplants, giant cauliflowers, green zucchinis – all stacked and sorted perfectly. There was a perogi place run by an old Eastern European woman with an all-Asian staff; a strange mix of old and new worlds, east and west, meeting on the bottom of the globe.  She was making perogis by hand, an island of calm as her staff was buzzed around her chopping and dicing the rest of the days necessities.

I stopped for a pasty, a small apple Danish, still warm and fresh from the oven.  Next up was possibly the best yogurt I’ve ever had – plain thick skim yogurt with my choice of toppings (mandarin and museli) in a cup, before a coconut bun that reminded me of the ones Dad used to bring home from China Town in Vancouver.  I stopped in the Italian deli to recognize the brands I used to buy in Greece, looked longingly at the French cheeses that were cheaper in Paris even with the exchange rate and the plane ticket, and passed yet another coffee shop – the vanilla latte eludes me no longer since I’ve started working in a café.

A couple of hours and no small amount of calories consumed, it was time to move on. Armed with my trusty Lonely Planet and a completely vague idea of where I was headed next, I made it to the Jam Factory, an arts and crafts complex, without too much trouble and headed inside to watch the glass blowing – for 2 hours.

A team of three, one master and two assistants were working together as one unit to produce some incredible pieces.  They made a few similar looking pieces of the same coloured glass, they looked like candle holders, but could very well have been the first step of another object.  Then came a huge vase-like thing.  It was probably 3 feet long and they twisted and turned and melded and molded the glass to the shape they wanted, acting as 3-in-1, moving as a unit, to produce a beautiful piece of art.  As soon as it was finished, and tapped off its blowing stick, they splintered apart, each going their own way to prepare for the next piece, then coming together again to work as one.  It was incredible, and I was mesmerized.

They were also very friendly to the usually lone Saturday morning watcher . . . smallest of small worlds, Julia, one of the assistants, is from Calgary, and knows about Granville Island Market, where some of their pieces are for sale.  We chatted about Canada, and strangely how much colder Australia is in the fall and winter than we thought it would be.  She will be around Australia for a while too, it’s nice to hear your own country’s accent live and in the flesh every once in a while.

Too soon it was time to pick up Henry from the golf course.  We headed to a different suburb of the city for lunch – SUSHI LUNCH.  It’s been 5 MONTHS since I last had sushi, and it was DELICIOUS.  I pretty much stuffed myself and bought an extra prawn and avo roll for a snack.  We browsed a couple of shops, and then drove back to Victor in the daylight and browsed a couple more shops before deciding that we were way too tired and lazy to bother heading back into town for dinner. Frozen lasagne from Woolies and movie night it is!

Sunday was a stunning day, warm, almost 20 degrees, sunny and only a slight breeze, we slept in and then headed up to the top of The Bluff to check out the incredible 270° view of the ocean.  I could easily live in Victor.  The view also afforded us a sneak peak of the  weather to come, and we got in the car just in time to miss the rain storm.  Off to Horseshoe Bay, in Port Elliot for lunch at The Flying Fish of fish and chips and a fish burger; Lonely Planet, Henry and I all agree that it’s the best spot, before heading back to Victor to walk the Causeway out to Granite Island.

The Causeway was built in the late 19th century and currently you can take a horse-drawn tram out to Granite Island, but we chose to walk instead out to, around and back from the island.    The rain and wind had blown by and we had a great stroll on the paths, looking for the little penguins which apparently live there.  Apparently there are penguins, we didn’t see any, aside from pictures of them on the signs telling us to ‘Beware’ and ‘Give Way’ to said penguins . . . maybe next time.

After our walk, it was time to get back to reality.  We hopped in the car and drove off to chase the setting sun back to Naracoorte, passing over the River Murray and descending into the flats of the south east as we headed for home.

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