Bound for South Australia

Today is the start of our next travel adventure with the group of friends who have traveled with us in the North Island of New Zealand (2010) (mostly), South Island of New Zealand (2014) and Tasmania (2016). As on previous trips, Majella has done the planning of the itinerary and arranged accommodation. The rest of us have some expectations of what will happen but are prepared to be surprised along the way.

In our initial planning early last year before Majella and I headed to Europe there was some discussion of couples fitting other travel in on either side of the group activity. We mentioned visiting family in Sydney on the way and somebody else thought about going via Melbourne. At the other end there was discussion about riding the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin and flying home from there.

In deference to those possibilities we decided that the group travel would begin in Adelaide on Sunday, 29 March and end there on Sunday, 13 May. We could then make our own way from home and back with as many or few side trips as we wished.

Everybody opted to go direct to Adelaide without side trips. Arranging flights from Queensland to Adelaide that arrive before late afternoon proved difficult or impossible so we are all arriving on Saturday. Majella and I were in France when the others booked flights from Brisbane thinking that we had said we would visit in Sydney on our way to Adelaide so were not part of that negotiation. In any case we preferred to fly from Toowoomba so booked via Sydney with a 3 hour layover that had us scheduled to arrive in Adelaide just ahead of the others who had a later departure from Brisbane.

When we flew to Melbourne for Tim and Amy’s wedding in March we simply parked our car at the airport. That was a less attractive, and more expensive, proposition for more than 2 weeks away I was planning to use taxis until Hannah kindly offered to drive us to the airport and collect us on our return.

DSC_8874Departing on Saturday and returning on Wednesday evening took us clear of her work commitments but Callum has soccer on Saturday and is keen for his mother to be there watching. His game today was at 9:00 am. Our flight was at 10:15 am so Hannah’s plan was to take Callum to soccer at Withcott, get us to Wellcamp by 9:00 am, and be back at soccer by half time. Yesterday she suggested an 8:00 am departure and this morning arrived, with Claire, at 7:45 am. We were ready and waiting so made the airport early enough that Hannah was back to Withcott before Callum’s game started. We enjoyed the sunshine while we waited for the airport to open.

Our flight to Sydney was a few minutes late but otherwise uneventful. Majella had let Nick know that we would be in the airport for almost 3 hours so he met us there as we arrived. We spent our hours in the airport talking with Nick and ate a light lunch before boarding our flight to Adelaide.

We arrived in Adelaide a little ahead of schedule and soon found our baggage. Majella picked up a Facebook comment from Hannah who was pleased to report that, on account of our early start, she had been back to soccer in time to see Callum kick his first ever goal in competition. That made the early start, and our soccer practice with him yesterday afternoon, worthwhile.

At our preparation meeting last weekend Warwick had told us he was preparing to be an Uber driver. We hadn’t used Uber in the past (no need) but on the strength of that I signed up. Before leaving home I had checked comparative price estimates for travel from Adelaide airport to our accommodation at Majestic Old Lion Apartments in North Adelaide. There appeared to be not much difference between taxis and Uber but, when I checked the Uber app today, it seemed more competitive so we rode our first Uber. We had a smooth ride in a flash new Toyota.

IMG_2348We checked in and collected keys for all 3 apartments and then checked them out before dropping our bags. If I remember correctly, Jerry, Petrea and I stayed here when we came to a conference in 2003. The apartments are spacious and comfortable. That done, we walked up the street to see what we might find for dinner and breakfast. We’ll need those before we can get our van and shop properly tomorrow. On the way back we enjoyed the colourful sunset.

By the time we got back to the apartments there was a message from Warwick to say they had landed. We relaxed and waited for the rest of the group to join us. They arrived a little before 7:00 pm and took a few minutes to drop gear in rooms before we all headed to the nearby Lion Hotel for dinner.

We were back soon after 8:00 pm, spent a few minutes planning arrangements for the morning when we will go to Mass in the city before collecting the van and heading into the Adelaide Hills.