Head for the hills

That’s the Adelaide Hills, where we spent most of our very enjoyable day. It did take some time to get there via intermediate destinations.

First stop was St Francis Xavier Cathedral for 7:00 am Mass. Majella and I had checked options for Mass last week and determined that was our best chance but it had the disadvantage of being almost 3 km away from our apartments with no car until 9:00 am. Some of us would welcome an early morning walk but that would not suit everyone. We discussed it after dinner last night and decided that Majella, Warwick, and I would walk while the others took a maxi-taxi.

I set an alarm on my Fitbit for 5:00 am and was up to beat the rush in our bathroom. Michael, Maria, and Majella rose in succession and we were all ready to go on time. Majella and I set off with Warwick at 6:15 am and easily made it to the cathedral well before 7:00 am. The rest of the group members were there to meet us.

DSC_8878Mass was as we expected for 7:00 am, quiet with no singing, but the priest was enthusiastic and gave a very animated homily, encouraging those present to continue celebrating Easter by eating chocolate. Afterward we all walked back toward the city centre in search of breakfast. We thought we would find something in Rundle Mall but before we had walked that far Majella spotted a CIBO Espresso that was just opening. She seized the moment and we ate breakfast there.

After breakfast we strolled on uptown to Europcar where we were scheduled to collect our van at 9:00 am. The formalities took some time but soon enough we were out and checking the van for damage before Warwick took the wheel and headed us out of town toward the Adelaide Hills.

Majella’s plan for the day was to explore the northern part of the Adelaide Hills with some effort to avoid covering the same ground as later in the week. Our route took us northeast through the suburbs and then on winding roads up the hills. Our first stop was Talunga Estate on the outskirts of Gumeracha where we had variants of Devonshire tea and coffee. The staff were friendly and the scones, jam, cream, and drinks were very good.

DSC_8885We drove on to Gumeracha where we visited the Toy Factory and Big Rocking Horse. Majella and Fay climbed to the top of the rocking horse but the rest of us didn’t bother. The store had some very interesting wooden toys that could be bought in kit form or assembled, for a fee.

We drove on through Lobethal where we stopped to check out the bierhaus, were distracted briefly by a display of old Holdens and other vehicles, chatted with one of the vehicle enthusiasts and then decided to move on. Then it was on to Woodside, where we visited a cheese shop and tested several samples before buying some cheese for the evening. The Melba Chocolate Factory next door was another hit that encouraged purchases. Majella asked a young man there about places for lunch and he suggested the Woodside Providore, at the other end of town.

DSC_8892That proved to be an excellent recommendation. Our host there was quick to greet us when we sat down at 3 tables, one for 4, and two for 2 each and reached for 2 extra chairs. The tables were in a row but fixed to the floor so we could not move them together. That was no problem to our host who produced two leaves that he bolted in to fill the gaps and make a table more than long enough for 10 of us. We enjoyed a variety of mostly light lunches with tea, cider, beer or other beverages.

DSC_8912Our next stop was not far out of town at Bird in Hand winery. I have been enjoying their wines for more than 10 years since I discovered them through what is now Boutique Wine Society. Majella is also a fan because she enjoys the wines and they were generous donors to the wine pull fundraiser that she drove for Hannah and the Cri du Chat group in 2015. We enjoyed the ambience of the barrel room and some of us tasted wines, taking away a bottle of sparkling Pinot Noir and a bottle of rosé. The young woman who poured our wine for tasting was actually a member of the family and it was her first day working on tastings. Majella was very pleased to be able to tell her how pleased she had been with the generous donation to the fundraising project.

From there we headed down to Adelaide via Lenswood. We took a short deviation to a supermarket and bottle shop for essential supplies before going back to our apartments. Breakfast, morning tea, and lunch had left us with minimal need for more food so we settled in one of the apartments to enjoy glasses of wine with cheese and crackers, some chicken with bread, and various goodies for dessert. Our consumption of chocolate was in harmony with the theme of the homily at Mass this morning. Tomorrow will be spent in Adelaide so we can look forward to a later start.