Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Heat Wave for the Year

I seem to be reporting this every year now but looks like it's the start of another bad heat wave here in good old Adelaide. We had the Australia Day holiday just passed, Chinese New year and the kids first day back at school. It's also the first day of what is shaping up to be a week of 40ºC days. That is HOT.

Although it's good we'd be at work and the kids will try to stay cool at schol, still, just stepping outside is almost enough to melt your skin right off. I exaggerate of course but still...

This week also started with Australia Day. We just spent it indoors and, after the long drive we did to Rapid Bay, we decided it was a good idea. Today was also the start of the new school year. The kids were so excited to get back to school. The boy was starting first grade or Year One as they call it while the girl was pretty proud to be in Year Three.

They had a good day today, something we knew they would have but we later heard from the boy that the girl got a bit upset and had a little cry. Apparently, she thought that we were picking them up straight after school but because of work, they had to go to after-school care. She calmed down soon afterwards but I guess she just forgot that we weren't picking them up today. Looks like the heat is also getting to her.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Victor Harbor Mini-Break

It was a busy time we had the last week. We just came back from a few days holiday at Victor Harbor, which is a town just a couple of hours drive away from Adelaide.

Before the holiday though, we actually had some visitors drop in from Sydney. It was quite unexpected but we were happy to see them despite it being a short visit before we had to head off on our own vacation.

Victor Harbor is a picturesque town by the sea in the region of South Australia called the Fleurieu Peninsula. It's a great small town which is a real holiday destination for many in Adelaide. We drove down and stayed a couple of nights there. We stayed at a small serviced apartment and spent the days enjoying the usual sights of Victor Harbor, from riding the Cockle Train to going to the Whale museum to riding the horse drawn tram to Granite Island to see the little penguins.

During the times we spent in the apartment, we actually had a movie marathon, taking advantage of the provided DVD player.
Ever since we bought the kids the PS2 game, "Lego Indiana Jones", I've been wanting to show them the first 3 Indiana Jones movies so they can appreciate at least where the game was based on. This was the first chance we had to sit down and watch it with them and they had loads of fun. We did have to close their eyes during the scary bits though!

Unfortunately, halfway through the vacation the little girl actually caught a little fever, perhaps because of the sometimes cold sea breezes. Good thing she bounced back right away and we were still able to enjoy the rest of our stay in Victor.

The last time we were in Victor Harbor was three years ago. We also came on a mini-holiday but we didn't stay overnight. This time we find that staying a few nights gave us a bit of time to take in most of the sights and the kids ( and us! ) didn't get too tired out.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Barossa Valley

Last weekend we took a daytrip to South Australia's wine country, the Barossa valley. The first and only time we were there was when the girl was less than 2 years old, the first time we visited Adelaide. It tooks us almost 6 years to visit again.

At any rate, last Saturday morning we all piled into our good friends' car and drove up to see some of the most scenic country views and have a little tour of this picturesque area. The Barossa is world famous for many of the wines produced in the region and many tourists come to visit the area. There are many wine tasting and mini tours that come through the valley to see the wineries and the sites.

We started by going up to the highest point of the Barossa valley. From the top of Mengler's Hill we could almost see the entire valley with it's grape plantations and many wineries. We spent time playing around in the statue garden at the hill and we took a lot of wacky pictures too.

We then picked up a few supplies on our way to have a picnic lunch. Our friends were all prepared with their own cooker and we had an impromptu barbecue at one of the many parks around the area.

After lunch we went to Maggie Beer's farmhouse which was a foodie's delight. Maggie Beer is a well known cook and author who's made her home in the Barossa valley. We catch her show, "The Cook and The Chef" all the time and we were genuinely excited to see where they actually shoot the series. We also got to see a cooking demonstration using one of Maggie's favourite ingredients, verjuice. They were passing around some samples of verjuice to show that it was not only for cooking but you can actually drink it straight up. In fact, the boy quickly developed a taste for it and had 4 shot glasses worth of the stuff. Of course, we couldn't help ourselves but got a couple of bottles to experiment with at home. The farmhouse also had for sale a lot of the Maggie Beer range of olive oils, patés, terrine's and other stuff. I'm sure will make it a stop on our next trip back.

After the farmhouse we had a quick stop at Angastown to buy some dried fruit and candies before our last stop, the Whispering Wall. The wall is actually the dam that forms the water reservoir for the Barossa valley. It's buit in such a way that sound echoes from one end of the dam to the other. It's build to exacting measurements that if you stand on one side of the wall, you can hear exactly what someone else is whispering on the other side hence the moniker.

After the wall we headed for home. We all had such a great time and I'm sure we won't let 6 years go by before visiting the Barossa again.

More pictures at our Flickr page here.