In all the time we've been here, we'd yet to actually visit the city of Adelaide. It was Australia Day and we had an evening agenda of attending some of the festivities, but since we were going to town, we wanted to make the most of it. According to several articles I read about Adelaide, the best way to see the city is on “shank's pony”. What? I had to look that up, but “on foot” was what it meant. We took the iron horse (i.e. train) into the city, but shank's pony was the chosen method of locomotion from there on.
Adelaide is a wonderful city, founded in 1836 and meticulously planned by surveyor, Colonel William Light. Adelaide's streets are laid out in a grid pattern and surrounded by parklands which are still preserved. A central square (Victoria Square) and four smaller squares encompass the CBD (central business district) and are ringed by parklands. Light's Vision, a huge bronze statue, sits on Montefiore Hill and shows Light pointing at his beautiful city.
We took the early morning train on Sunday … cheapest then, it's off peak all day Sunday. We wanted to walk the less-crowded streets, explore a bit and perhaps take in one of the city's many museums, among other things. First things first though, I wanted to walk through the Rundle Mall, Australia's first pedestrian street mall with shops and restaurants, and many Adelaidean icons to behold. We're not into shopping much, which is a good thing because all the shops were closed. We met friends at Beehive Corner, which has been a convenient meeting place in the city for over a century. The Gothic building which stands on the corner, built in 1896, boasts a beehive turret with a golden bee sitting atop it and the name Beehive Corner embossed in gold. It's now home to Haigh's Chocolates, another South Australia icon.
As we walked along the Mall, I was on the look-out for the four famous Rundle Pigs. Actually, the comical bronze statues of pigs raiding a trash bin is entitled “A Day Out” by Marguerite Derricourt. Further investigation indicated their names are Horatio,Truffles, Augusta and at the bin, Oliver.
And as many have done before me, I wanted to ride one of the Rundle Pigs, so I did.
Then, of course, there are the Mall's Balls (The Spheres by Bert Flugelman), two huge stainless steel balls balanced on top of each other which are attention-getters and obviously great fun for young and old.
A 19th century fountain, restored in vivid Victorian colors, gurgled and spouted, providing a pleasant backdrop to a few folks having a coffee on the Mall and enjoying the day.
As an extra treat as we were walking along the Mall, we encountered the world's largest cockroach. Ah yes, the Dublin Cockroach was erected originally to prevent construction of a new landfill dump in Dublin, SA. The landfill was built anyway and the poor old cockroach was left to rust until it was rescued and refurbed. It's only in Adelaide for short time before returning to its well-loved home, but as luck would have it … we got a chance to see it. Sometimes we just can't believe our luck.
David noted a sculpture on the side of a wall and pointed it out to me. It turns out that it's a neo-cubist welded copper wall sculpture created in 1959 representing the spirit of progress and entitled Progress by Lyndon Dadswell. David has a knack for picking out the unusual from the ordinary.
We concluded the Rundle Mall Adventure with lunch at The Austral on the East End of Rundle … after the mall runs out. It's been around for 131 years and claims to be an icon itself, so we thought we'd give it a go. Good food, good service, pub-bish atmosphere, outdoor sidewalk tables, specials and cold local beer.
Evidently there's even more to discover about the area and I've downloaded a guide for our next trip to seek out what escaped us. Hate to miss anything. By the way, shank's ponies were pretty tired at the end of the day.
Stay tuned as we explore Adelaide's historic Botanic Garden, the South Australian Museum, the Art Galley of South Australia and so much more. Let me catch my breath!
Part 2 will have to wait till next weekend when we plan to return to lovely Adelaide to pick up where we left off. We still have several museums to see and we haven't visited the iconic Central Market (closed on Sundays).