Sunday, November 03, 2013

Friday, 11/01/13 Adelaide

Friday, 11/01/13 Adelaide

Adelaide is Australia’s fourth largest city.  It is located in the state of South Australia, the driest of the states.  It is 75 percent desert.  Adelaide is located in an area that is not quite as dry as the rest of the state, and the area around Adelaide is wine country, where most of the wine in Australia is grown.  There are hundreds of vineyards in the area.

Adelaide is a planned city, with a grid of streets surrounded by large parks on all four sides.  The city has now grown well beyond the initial planned section.  Adelaide is called the “City of Churches”, with many churches of all denominations.  It could also be called the city of parks, with the large parks surrounding the core of the city.

The day was bright and sunny, and I was ready to get going.  A three person singing group was on the pier just outside the ship singing Australian folk songs, and they were really excellent.  Passengers exited the ship directly into the cruise port terminal, and right away, something was different.  Many women (volunteers?), dressed in navy slacks or skirts with light blue blouses and white hats were waiting for passengers to hand out maps and answer questions about Adelaide.  How wonderful that all these cheerful, helpful women were there to help the passengers.

I took the train into Adelaide; the station was just outside the port terminal, and just as in Perth, it was very easy to use.  Passengers boarded the train without tickets, and bought them after arriving at the Adelaide train station.  “Daytripper” tickets were good on all public transportation for the entire day, including busses and the tram, as well as the train.  As I rode the train into the city -- about an hour’s ride -- I noticed the flat, dry land with small, neat houses.  Most of the houses had metal roofs, which, I suppose reflected the sun and helped keep them cool.  I have never been to a place in which so many houses had corrugated metal roofs.  Most of the houses had wide porches, some that wrapped around the house, and many of which had lattice work decorating the roofs of the porches.  The houses were painted in pastel colors, and they were very pretty.  The dry, flat streets could easily have been from the Panhandle of Texas, although the streets were lined with trees, unlike the Panhandle.

Once in Adelaide, after purchasing my ticket, and exiting the station, I found myself on King William Road; I wanted to head first North to the river so that I could take photos of the bridge there.  It turned out that the sun was hot, and I tried to stay in the shade of the trees along the road as much as possible.  A huge stadium was under construction at the river, and across the bridge, I noticed the cathedral and decided to walk there to take photos before returning to the downtown area.  The cathedral turned out to be Anglican, and a very nice man told me about its history.

After the cathedral, I went to a bus stop and hopped on the bus to return to the city.  My “Daytripper” ticket worked perfectly, and after a few stops, I was back in the central business district.  I walked along North Terrace and took photos of some of the government buildings and historical buildings, and then turned south.
Several blocks of Rundle Street have been blocked to traffic and is now called Rundle Mall.  It was packed with pedestrians, and several musicians were playing music to entertain the shoppers.  Suddenly the welcome ladies that I had seen at the port terminal came up to me to ask how they could help.  They had no problem identifying me as a visitor by my big camera.  They were very helpful and very cheerful, and I loved it that they were there to help visitors.  I just wanted to spend time walking on the street, observing the scene and taking photos.  It was a truly wonderful experience to be there.

At one point, I came upon an arcade that the port lecturer on the ship had recommended and I went inside to take photos.  I walked all the way through the arcade, exiting on the parallel street to Rundle.  I noticed Haigh’s Chocolates, and walked toward the store, where I saw another arcade, all decorated with Christmas decorations.  I stopped in Haigh’s and picked up a few packages of chocolates for presents, and tasted the samples.  By showing my ship card, I received a 10 percent discount on my purchase.  Haigh’s Chocolates are very famous in Adelaide, as they were originated there.

I walked through the arcade taking photos of the Christmas decorations and exited back on Rundle Mall.  Then I slowly walked the entire length of the mall, enjoying the scene and taking lots of photos.  Back on King William Road, I walked toward the center of the city, to Victoria Square; I wanted to head to the Central Market, located just off Victoria Square.  When I got to Victoria Square, it was completely dug up with a construction fence around it.  I saw a sign pointing to Central Market and went there.

Entering Central Marked reminded me of the market in Barcelona -- it was large and laid out in the same way, although the market in Barcelona is larger.  I slowly walked through the market, aisle by aisle, and at the far end, I stopped at a booth and purchased a turkey sandwich and diet Coke for lunch.   I sat listening to a young man playing a piano to entertain the crowd, and feeling very pleasant.  It was such a good feeling to watch the people buying fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and meats.  One booth had a sign for Kangaroo steaks.  After eating lunch, I decided to walk back in the direction of the central railway station.  I needed to get back to the ship before time to sail away, and by the time I had walked slowly back to the rail station, it was almost time to board the train.

When I got to the train, it seemed that most of the other ship passengers had the same idea, and the train was packed, standing room only.  I didn’t mind standing to let someone else have a seat, although I recognized that by standing, I would not be able to take any photos out the window.  The train ride was again about an hour, with many stops, and eventually, we reached the port terminal, where the passengers formed a herd heading back to the ship.

Once back at the port, I decided to go into the terminal to try to use the free WiFi.  I noticed a man sitting on a sofa with an Apple computer, and decided to sit by him.  I asked him if the WiFi was working and he said only intermittently, and very slowly.  I decided to try it, and learned that I was really not able to use it much at all.  However, I began talking with the fellow on the sofa, and he turned out to be the ship manager of the photo services on the ship.  He was very friendly, and he showed me some photos he was working on.  He did portrait work and he had been on Princess ships for 10 years.  He said that he had finally saved enough money to open his own studio in Nottingham in England, and this would be his last contract with Princess.  We talked about photo editing, and he said that he sends his photos to a professional editor rather than doing the editing work himself.  We talked for more than an hour about him and about photography.  He asked me about my interest in photography and about my camera.  I showed him my photo of the bride in Murmansk tossing the white dove into the air, and he really liked the photo.

As we talked, we both checked from time to time to see if we could get a WiFi connection.  Both of us recognized that our laptop batteries would run down in an hour, and eventually his laptop shut down and he left.  Just before my battery also ran down and my laptop shut down, I was able to get a connection and do just a little bit of work, and then my laptop shut down and I returned to the ship.

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