People told us we should visit Adelaide while we were in Australia. We followed their advice, and we were glad we did. We spent a long weekend there, Thursday-to-Sunday, at the end of March (late summer in Australia). It was a delightful little respite.
Our arrival in Adelaide, however, was not so auspicious.
We got to Adelaide on a hot sunny afternoon, and found ourselves locked out of the cottage we had arranged to rent.
The cottage itself, moreover, appeared a little grim on first impression. It looked less like a cottage than a stubby little one-story row house. There was a wee narrow porch fronting directly onto the sidewalk.
By its outward appearance, the small house had none of the charm that the word “cottage” evokes.
We found the key in the lockbox, as the instructions provided, but the outer storm door was locked and the key would not budge it.
We had the unpleasant feeling of being abandoned in strange place.
Because we had no local cellular coverage, we needed a WiFi connection in order to send a text message to the landlord, to let him know we were stranded outside.
Using one of our cell phones, we managed to bootleg our way onto the WiFi network at a hostel across the street.
Then things started to look up. The landlord, a nice guy named Rob, drove up in his car within a few minutes.
Rob had no better luck than we’d had with the lock. He said he would need to call a locksmith. He gave us a $10.00 bill and insisted we walk around the corner to a coffee shop on the main street. It was his favorite place for coffee.
At first we resisted taking Rob’s money, but he insisted. The coffee shop was a delightful little place, just as Rob had said, and we got cold soft drinks (rather than coffee) and sat at a table outside, in the shade.
No sooner had we seated ourselves than Rob appeared, telling us the lock had been jammed but was now working. We returned to the cottage and let ourselves in, along with our luggage. We thanked Rob and said goodbye.
The interior of the cottage was lovely, cool and private. It had large rooms, high ceilings and nice decorative touches from the late 19th Century when it was built. The walls were thick and soundproof. The kitchen was roomy and well-equipped for cooking and eating. We could resume our tradition of home cooking. The bedroom was cozy and romantic. We instantly felt at home.
Now we were in a position to wander about and explore the lovely city of Adelaide.
With its wide, tree-lined streets, its generally flat topography and the influence of the University of Adelaide, the sweet City of Adelaide reminded us of Davis and Chico, two college towns familiar to us in the Central Valley of California. It also resembles Sacramento, California’s capital city.
Adelaide is arranged in a thoughtful, well-planned grid, surrounded by an expansive, lush and generous green belt.
Its building stock is charming, old and well-maintained. The dominant style could be described as low-slung Victorian or a blend of Victorian and Queen Anne styles.
Outside of the central business district, no building was taller than three stories and typically no more than two.
Adelaide is very calm and comfortable. It has beautiful parks and open spaces.
The city offers free bicycle rentals and free bus service on a loop around downtown.
There is free, city-wide wifi service on the streets that actually works pretty well.
Adelaide also has a vibrant gay culture.
People in Adelaide are friendly, good-humored, inquisitive and outgoing.
We toured a wonderful sculpture exhibit at the museum centered on statues by Auguste Rodin.
Our overall impression can be summed up in a phrase: “A person could live in Adelaide!”
We didn’t really do all that much in Adelaide. We just lived there for four very happy days.
Our quiet weekend in Adelaide was sandwiched into our itinerary between the much bigger, major port cities of Melbourne and Sydney.
Adelaide nicely rounded out our experience of Australia on this, our visit to the Land Down Under.