Back to Adelaide! After our wonderful, wine soaked time in the Barossa valley, we drove back to Adelaide (after feeding Uncle Rupert the Alpaca of course!). We checked into our hotel, the Stamford Plaza, which is right in the middle of the central business district, or CBD. Little did we know, that we were checking in as VIPs. Our friends April and Tom, who work at the Embassy, hooked us up with a deal at this particular hotel. Apparently, they have some longstanding deal with the Embassy. They roll out the red carpet for people, and the Embassy keeps sending business their way. Its a win/win. We were met at the door by a senior executive of the hotel who escorted us to our room, made sure we had everything we needed, and was just generally super nice and helpful. It was almost a little odd- we are not used to this level of service! Our room was a suite that I'm pretty sure was bigger than our first apartment in Arlington, and had a jacuzzi. We quickly dubbed it our "fancy-pants suite." They also gave us a courtesy bottle of wine and chocolates to welcome us. Yum!
We considered simply not leaving the hotel for the next two days, but it seemed kind of a waste to have come all this way, so we ventured out into the heart of Adelaide to see the sights. This is City Hall.
This is a statue dedicated to the man who led several of the first British expeditions exploring and mapping the region. Notice we did not say discovered, because like Columbus, it's hard to discover something when there are already people living there.
Adelaide is a planned city, so its center is an easily navigable grid. Interestingly, the designers wanted the city to have an emphasis on parks and public green space, so there are public parks it seems like every other block, and around the CBD is a complete ring of greenspace. It makes for a quite beautiful city that doesn't feel like the home of just over a million people. This is the fountain in the middle of Victoria Square, which is in very center of Adelaide. It was commisioned to honor the Queen when she visited. The top is supposed to represent her crown, and at each of the three sides is a different Aboriginal tribe-member holding a native bird, representing the three rivers that filter into the city. The Aboriginal flag is flying in the background over the lefthand side of the fountain.
We liked the juxtaposition of these two buildings. One old, gothic looking cathredral next to a super-modern office building. We think it represents the city pretty well. Simultaneously, both old and new.
Now, this is just the strangest ad campaign of all time. We kept seeing these signs along the highway that say "Stop Creeping" and nothing else. We couldn't figure out what they were advertising for, and then we saw this bus sign. Greg's best guess was that it was just a campaign telling people not to be creepy and behave themselves, but that didn't actually make a lot of sense. It turns out it's about driving over the speed limit, as in, "Don't let your speed creep over the legal limit." That answer felt a little anti-climactic.
I would have expected to see this in Japan. The world's most high-tech toilet. It's completely automated, self cleaning, lots of buttons and lights, and after it senses someone has been in there for longer than 10 minutes automatically opens the doors. Do your business quick!
Here's a close-up of the sign. You probably can't read it, but it's explaining how the toilet periodically goes through a wash cycle, where it literally soaps and rinses itself down. How cool is that!?
This is Rundle Mall, the main shopping area. Needless to say, it's one of the more popular areas.
Any high-traffic area would not be complete without street performers! This was a Jamacian guy doing the lowest limbo physically possible.
There were also some life-size bronze statues of pigs. Not really sure why, but we kind of loved it. After we saw them on a post-card rack, Greg wouldn't let Laurel go home and relax in the jacuzzi until we found them. Totally worth it! This guy is digging through the garbage.
This is the view of the city looking north from our hotel room. We were on the 26th floor, so it was pretty great. You can kind of see where the buildings stop, and there is a large park before the housing starts again. That's the ring of greenspace we were telling you about earlier. The giant building in the bottom lefthand corner is the South Australian Parliament (Adelaide is the state capital), and the white mansion in the center of the picture is the Governor's house.
We liked Adelaide. We didn't come away raving about it like we did Melbourne, and while it's very pretty overall it doesn't have anything that really compares to Sydney's Inner Harbor. Regardless, it's still a very nice city. Most importantly, the food and wine are fantastic. If you're ever in Australia, it's well worth taking the time to go and see.