After leaving Tasmania, we flew to Adelaide, where we spent 4 nights in an Airbnb accommodation. After arrival, we bought some groceries and spent the whole first day doing some “work” that is easier to do when you have an fast internet connection. On the second day, we did a Free Walking Tour with Ryan.
Free Walking Tour
Free Walking Tours were invented in Berlin (go figure!) and is a concept that has been adapted in more than 200 cities. A tour guide shows you the city and at the end, you can give him or her a tipp. You don’t have to – but of course this is the right thing to do.
I had seen those Free Walking Tours in other cities before and always wanted to do one of them. Usually there are various guides in one city, but in Adelaide there is only Ryan. He is a student and offers these tours three times a week. For his tours, you have to register, which I thought is great. That way, he can ensure that not too many people are on his tour and everyone can hear properly.
Melbourne-isation of Adelaide
Ryan was born himself in Adelaide and told us also a lot about the city and its development. Every now and then he gave examples, where it seemed that Adelaide followed the example of other cities (mostly Melbourne), which he called “Melbourne-isation”. One example that is a quite new thing is the support of street art. Previously, the city council overcoated all street art, even on private buildings. Can you imagine, you ask a street artist to prettify your building and the next day someone from the council just overcoats it? The city council just didn’t want them, but that changed in the past years. Now they welcome street art and even have a budget for it. If you own a building, you can ask for some financial support from the city to have some street art painted on it. Ryan showed us a few and expects more of them to come.
The landmark of the city of Adelaide is a sculpture called The Malls Balls, although it was originally dubbed On Further Reflection.
Ryan told us that the city wanted to move the sculpture when they planned to redevelop the shopping area. This lead to a controversy and people were even protesting against moving the sculpture. Eventually, they only moved it a couple of centimeters.
We also learned that Adelaide is not as conservative as one might think. Ok, it might not help that Adelaide is called “The City of Churches” which may be associate with a more conservative attitude. However, this label probably refers more to the variety of churches than the city being very religious. Ryan also gave us some examples for why Adelaide and its state South Australia is actually quite progressive. For example, South Australia was the first state to allow all women to vote, to give Aboriginal people control of their land, and to decriminalise homosexuality.
We went into Adelaide Arcade and where we could see the original staircase into what had been the arcade’s tearooms.
We learned also about the resident ghost of Francis Cluney, who had been the caretaker in 1887 and died quite gruesomely in an accident at work. He is considered a “friendly” ghost who still looks after the building although being dead. There is a footage from a security camera, where you are supposed to see him.
South Australia is among the top twenty of wine regions in the world. Unfortunately, they are also quite pricey considering our travel budget, but previously we found a cheaper option: a box of wine with 4.5 l content (equivalent to 6 bottles).
The wine is packed in a plastic bladder in a box and the one we had was quite ok. We learned from Ryan that this is called “goon” (or according to Wikipedia “Chateau Cardboard”) and the cheapest way to get drunk. Drinking games are also popular here and they have a fun game called “Goon of Fortune”, where they goonsacks are pegged to a hills hoist which is spinned and the players sit under the perimeter of the hoist and have to drink if the goonsacks stops above them. Fun fact: The hills hoist was invented in Adelaide.
The most expensive building in the Southern Hemisphere is located in Adelaide. The new Royal Adelaide Hospital was completed in 2017 and costed $2.4 billion. Ryan told us that there is a guy in a tuxedo playing the piano in the foyer, which seems odd, right? Apparently, the piano was donated by a former patient.
Ryan told us also about developments in in Adelaide that also helped to make the city more attractive for certain events. One example is the Adelaide Oval which is the stadium used for cricket and since its redevelopment also for Australian Rules Football. Due to the redevelopment, the capacity was expanded to more than 55.000. This makes it attractive for other events too, for example, The Rolling Stones, Adele, Ed Sheeran and AC/DC played concerts here.
Speaking about famous people: In 1964, The Beatles visited Adelaide which was a big thing. More than 300.000 turned up to welcome them; the street in front of the Town Hall was totally packed. There is still a glass installation on the balcony to commemorate their visit.
I found it interesting that more people showed up for The Beatles than when the queen visited the year before or the pope a couple of years later. Ryan also asked us, if we noticed that one Beatle was missing in the picture. Ryan has done this tour for several years now, and nobody ever knew what this was about. One man on our tour was from Adelaide, however, and he even remembered the day, The Beatles were here. He knew that Ringo Starr was ill at the time and Jimmie Nicol was the stand-in drummer. Unfortunately, he didn’t remain “famous” after that short episode with The Beatles. Ryan told us, that he departed alone after Ringo joint the band again and nobody was at the airport cheering as they had done when they all arrived. Kind of sad.
Although Melbourne is also know for its coffee culture, the coffee break we had at Bonobo was really great and the owner extremely kind. Ryan told us, that this is just his favorite coffee shop and we understood why. Because ordering coffee is a bit tricky in Australia, Ryan even had a cheat sheet for us.