I've been trying to figure out if I've left anything substantial out of my reviews of our trip, and I really can't think of anything else to say except to sum it all up with superlatives, so here goes:
Adelaide, hands down. Do I have a picture of Adelaide? Of course not, so we'll have to go with my two favorite pictures from that part of the trip:
Corn fritters with sour cream, spinach and smoked salmon. Delish!
Favorite New TV Show:
Tie: Taken Out & Border Security. The Australians don't seem to like Taken Out
but Holly and I were glued to the tv. It's a dating show – the premise
is basically 30 women, 1 man. The women surround the bloke in a
semi-circle and they all have buzzers. Based on his appearance, answers
to questions and video interviews with his friends, roommates, etc.
they can take themselves out of the running by turning their lights
off, until it's down to one and then she goes on a date with him – if
he approves. It's HILARIOUS and I'm crushed that we can't watch it
online from the U.S. Border Security
is a different brand of crazy. It's basically a reality show
chronicling the immigration departments in…I know Melbourne and
Sydney for sure, and the wild and wacky hijinks that ensue.
Again, I don't have a picture of the experience itself, but that's because the good folks at BridgeClimb won't let you take a camera up on the span of the bridge. Apparently they think in a fit of heights-freakitude, you'll drop your camera and it'll land on the traffic below, causing some sort of brou-ha-ha. Whatev. The view was INCREDIBLE! My butt and calves, on the other hand, protested the experience muchly the next day.
High class (wine) – The Wolf Blass Platinum Label wine in Barossa Valley. Delicious, smooth and just slips down your throat.
Low rent (beer) – James Squire Golden Ale & Amber Ale. Wasn't much for the other local offerings, but I really liked the JS ales alot.
Best Hotel Room:
Hands down, the Majestic Roof Garden in Adelaide (good job, Holly!) Not only were the rooms beautiful, but the location, on a side street near Rundle Mall, was perfect for moseying around. The Sheraton in Sydney was fine (and virtually right on Darling Harbor) but a little removed from things; the Fountainside in Hobart and the Breakfree in Sydney (take 2) were both on highly-trafficked roads and not terribly comfortable.
They were all kinda rough. Turbulence on all of the internal flights, to be sure. All of the approaches were coming in over water, so I don't know if that had something to do with it. To narrow it down, I'd have to say, I think the landing in Hobart (or maybe it was the layover in Melbourne? Holly?) was horrendous. Rather than landing gently and kissing the runway, it was more like a slam. Not comforting. At all. For an entirely different reason, the Sydney – LAX flight was brutal. SO tired. I couldn't fall asleep on the plane, those particular meals were lousy and both of the people next to me were hacking up lungs and popping antibiotics. It coulda been better.
Dumbest security measure:
We all know this one – NO KNITTING NEEDLES!!! Aside from my standard argument that one can do as much damage with a mechanical pencil as one may with a knitting needle, what TRULY set me off about it wasn't even the woman behind me on the plane with her crochet hook (she didn't get busted, thank you very much). It was the fact that NOT ONCE were we asked for ID in an airport, until they needed to check our passports to leave the country. NOT. ONCE. We walked into all three airports, walked up to the automated kiosks, scanned the barcodes on our reservation printouts, got our boarding passes, checked our luggage and away we went. Kinda frightening, really.
Things I'd do differently
There were a number of things really. I still tend to be very tourist-mentality driven in what I choose to do. I really enjoy those things, so there's nothing really wrong with it, but I still have difficulty just going off-itinerary and exploring for the heck of it. I say this after every trip; maybe it's just not meant to be. I would've spent less time in Sydney and more time in Adelaide. I would've gotten certified and gone diving (or at least gone north (Cairns? Darwin?) rather than south (Hobart's weather really was kinda miserable). I'd've tried kangaroo (and passed on the Vegemite). I'd've forced myself to meet up with the local running group in Sydney (despite my aching feet from running around town for the previous 36 hours).