Roses are red…

Valentine’s Day on the road is not all hearts and flowers. It had almost slipped our memories, but we remembered to wish each other Happy Valentine when we woke up in Ararat. No cards though so take that, Hallmark.

Our task today was not to be romantic fools, but to get to Adelaide and visit some old friends that we met many years ago when we were all (one of us very briefly) studying in Glasgow. We left Ararat and drove to Horsham, where we stopped for brunch.

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Horsham is another one of these film set towns that Australia appears to have in abundance. Maybe one day, someone will drive through lots of UK towns and admire the way the centres were ripped out of so many of them in the 60s and 70s to be replaced by brutalist concrete structures. Or maybe not.

After that, we drove out of town and passed a hitch-hiker. It was probably his guitar that inclined us to stop for him. He was a 22 year old German lad called Fred who was travelling around Australia. He was headed for Adelaide, so it was no problem for us to pop him in the back of the car and continue on our way.

The drive was fairly uneventful and we made it to Adelaide by late afternoon, despite the many dire warnings of the roadside signage.

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We dropped Fred in town in an area where there seemed to be a choice of backpacker hostels from which he could select. We then drove out to the leafy suburb in which our friends (A&C) lived. To be honest, all of Adelaide seems quite leafy with many streets lined with trees. It was delightful to see our friends again. It’s odd thinking that we’ve now known each other for 40 years and, even though we’ve seen each other only sporadically for the last 30 of them, we just pick up right where we left off when we get the chance to catch up again.

Upon arrival we were immediately caught in the embrace of their legendary hospitality and were directed to the beer fridge for something cool and refreshing. C had prepared a lovely meal for us and we spent the evening sharing recent news, ancient reminiscences, and red wine. Our friend A had to work the following day and we had driven a fairly long way so we all had a surprisingly sensible early night.

Adelaide had undergone a heatwave quite recently with temperatures up in the 40s, but Thursday had seen a very comfortable high of 23°C. Friday was destined to be a bit hotter. We decided to follow what has become something of a tradition for us on our travels and visit the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

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With the outside temperature pushing 30°C, we couldn’t spend long inside the greenhouse structures, but Ishbel was once again snapping away at the exotic plants scattered around the gardens.

After our visit, we headed back to the house and organised our evening. Coinciding with our arrival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival was opening today. We did some research and decided to get tickets for “Choir of Man“, a musical show set in a pub. With free beer. Definitely my kind of show. We ate at the festival grounds and enjoyed the show before taking a wander through the city. We passed by the festival grounds and the Adelaide Oval before stopping for a nightcap in The Tap Room bar in the Adelaide Festival Centre.

We then headed home since Saturday was scheduled to be a big day – off to the McLaren Vale wine country!