Before returning to Alice, we decided to spend a few days in a proper city and enjoy Adelaide. Spending most of our time in a small town and then vacationing in an even less populated area almost caused us to forget just how enjoyable life in a city can be. We started both Friday and Saturday mornings with brekky in the Central Market. After making it through a 1/2 block of tourist traps, piles of fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, and baked goods greeted us at every turn The market is very similar to the Pike Place Market in Seattle, with a few more specialty shops providing packaged goods. Coming from Alice, this was like finding an oasis. Ashley and I were immediately rueful of the offerings we were returning to. The market is a very popular spot for people to gather. It is the place for breakfast . Unlike Pike Place, the market is covered (and somewhat dim) which made taking pictures difficult.
The major activity that we had booked for our short stay was a tour of the Coopers brewery. Coopers might be considered the Australian equivalent to Sam Adams. Both focus on making craft-like beer that has body and taste. Coopers is also one of the more reliably available beers in Alice. The brewery tour was remarkable because it is the working brewery. This wasn’t a test/specialty brewery (like Sam Adams in Boston), a small regional brewery (like SweetWater in Atlanta), or a corporate museum (like Guinness in Dublin). This is the national brewery that produces all Coopers in Australia. Consequently, the scale of the building was massive. In addition to the beer making, the industrial management was also fascinating. At the end of the tour, the obligatory tasting was very thorough – we went through about a dozen beers from the lightest pale ale to a stout. Coopers also brews Carlsberg in Australia as well as Sapporo. Unfortunately, they were out of Ashley’s favorite – the yearly Vintage Ale. We found a few bottles in Alice over the holidays and bought all we could find. (As an aside, dark malty beers are a rare thing in Australia in general and Alice in particular).
The next day, we were off to the museums and gardens. The National Gallery of South Australia was hosting a massive exhibit on Turner. The exhibit was very well done. It included a large number of watercolors that neither of us had seen, and included several sketches and studies hung next to finished pieces. Throughout the exhibit we were shocked to find that we were encouraged to take pictures. In the US, the mere sight of a camera at a temporary exhibit causes the security staff to tense up.
We rounded out our time in Adelaide by visiting the natural history museum, Botanical Gardens, and the National Wine Center. The natural history museum had some interesting bones and shells that became opals instead of true fossils. The Gardens were lovely. It is difficult to beat the charm of Sydney, but Adelaide gave it a run for the money. The National Wine Center was prepping for a wedding, so we couldn’t see much of the exhibits. However, we enjoyed a couple of tastings from around Australia.
Now, we’re back in Alice and settling back into being home. We have to get used to the heat again, although hopefully it will only last another month. The temperature difference between Adelaide and Alice is about 20 degrees (Celsius). Maybe it’s time to start planning our next trip out…
More pictures are here.