Hello all

At present I am sitting in my van – with the heater on – in the beautiful, green lush Barossa Valley in South Australia wondering where the time has gone since we left the outback three days ago.

You see, as soon as we hit civilisation on Sunday (Port Augusta) clouds began gathering overhead and rain seemed ominous. We didn’t have to wait long for it to happen! Six weeks on the road and we hardly saw a cloud in the sky the whole time and now rain.

Heaven knows that the outback needs the rain … while South Australia have had plenty of it but they got some more on Sunday night when we decided to stay overnight in the little town of Port Germein (pop 900) instead of at one of the larger towns along the way.

The cafe on the sea at Port Germein where I had a lovely coffee.

The cafe on the sea at Port Germein where I had a lovely coffee.

What a fascinating little seaside village. Somehow, after all that outback, desert, dirt and dust, it was so refreshing to view the sea! We walked around the town and chatted to some locals who sung the praises of Port Germein. They have a jetty there that is the longest in Australia, so of course, we just HAD to walk it didn’t we?

Now our legs feel like jelly because we had walked the town before walking the jetty … my pedometer tells me I walked almost 15,000 steps and folks that’s an incredible amount of steps.And, we’ve done lots more walking today also.

Now, back to this blog post as I have digressed dear friends!  I want to leave you with this piece from my journal which I wrote whilst waiting for lunch in an interesting hotel on the way to Tanunda. It will give you some idea of where we are now … quite a different place from three days ago!

Monday 1st September 2014

Well, here we are in the Sir Anthony Kidman Hotel in a little town called Kapunda (pop 3500) near the Barossa Valley in South Australia (a famous wine-growing area) waiting for our lunch in a proper old-fashioned Dining Room the likes of which you don’t see anymore.

We’ve been driving through the Clare Valley and heading for Tanunda in order to stay for three days.We have tried to find sustenance along the way but when we stopped at a tiny pub with a big name “The Sir James Ferguson Hotel” in an even tinier town called Tarlee, we were told “Oh no, we don’t cook on Mondays! Try Kapunda.”

We almost tripped over two huge dogs as we tried to walk out the door (the pub was far too small for both us, the dogs and the two men at the bar). Onwards to Kapunda to find lunch.

As we drove, rain was falling lightly and mist hugged the countryside in this beautiful part of South Australia. Canola fields of bright yellow delight were interspersed with the greenest wheat fields I’ve ever seen; there were cherry and apple blossoms on trees in every direction; sheep were grazing on emerald-green pastures and there were quaint stone colonial houses everywhere. What a delight!

Such contrast for us desert-weary travellers. We have been permeated with the dust and dirt of the outback … now we feel as if the rain and the lushness of the Clare Valley (adjacent to the Barossa) has washed us clean. It’s been a balm to our spirits as well, especially our decision to stay the first night out of the desert, at Port Germein on the sea.

The Bikkies in Port Germen was so friendly as they set off.

The Bikkies in Port Germen was so friendly as they set off.

It was a small seaside village and we were able to walk to all the places we wanted to go with the Pub being at the centre of things. We met a motorbike group (Bikkies) about to set out for the Germein Gorge to raise awareness and funds to help the gorge after being ravaged by fire and flood.

Later, when we walked the jetty, we met another local who was instrumental in us going to the Pub for a pizza supper and joining in with the three locals at the bar (there are always locals at the bar in these little towns!) with all that was going on.

Now, we are well and truly settled in at the Caravan Park at Tanunda where we almost froze to death last night! However, this place is a delight with lush green grass around the vans instead of the dirt of Coober Pedy. We’ve well and truly left that life behind us now and gone on to brighter pastures.

Today we caught a train to Adelaide and enjoyed the delights of the Botanical Gardens … but I will tell you all about that later. For now, dear friends, my best wishes as I sign off from the beautiful Barossa Valley.

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