Monday, July 09, 2007

Excuses, excuses

why I'm not blogging so frequently: I've been working on getting my study transformed into a craft room. It is coming along splendidly and I will post photos when it is completed.

In the meantime I guess I had better try to upload some photos I took in the Barossa Valley. I hope Blogger is co-operating tonight.

In the last post I mentioned that the Barossa Valley was settled by Germans in the 19th century. When we were last here in 1990, evidence of German heritage was still quite strong. However, that seems to have diminished in the intervening years. German restaurants and bakeries are rare now, and there are only 2 butchers left producing the traditional German sausages and other smallgoods. We did manage to find a bakery that made those beautiful large soft pretzels with the large salt grains on them. I could eat them daily. Here we are at a lookout above the valley, brandishing our pretzels. MIL really got into the spirit of things.

It was a bit too breezy for our picnic though, so we retreated to the hoon-mobile we hired. What a lurid color! But it seemed to be quite a popular car color around Adelaide, we saw it frequently. You might just be able to see the MWC and MIL sitting in the back seat getting ready to eat lunch. We had a panoramic view of the Barossa Valley from here.
This church and cemetery has a very German look to it, and there are churches everywhere. Very picturesque.

We also saw a number of thatched roof buildings.

One memory I had of our previous trip to Adelaide and the Barossa was of our young sons' joy in visiting Gumeracha, home of the largest rocking horse in the southern hemisphere and where you could climb to the top. There is a toy factory and shop next to it which specialises in wooden toys. It was also where I finally relented and bought them old fashioned wooden pop guns. (I had never let them have toy guns before). I'll never forget their happy little faces. For nostalgia's sake, I bought them each a pop gun and I think they were both tickled by that. Occasionally I hear the gentle pop of a pop gun coming from their bedrooms. Remember, they're 20 and 22 years old!

The Barossa is famous for its wines, and vineyards fill a lot of the landscape. We did a tour of the Seppelts winery, founded by a Prussian. There are thousands of date palms throughout the property. The Seppelts developed a scheme for their employees to plant the palms during the Depression, so they could remain employed. Unfortunately the business is no longer in family ownership.
An unexpected highlight for me of our trip to the Barossa was practically right across the street from where we were staying. The owner of a craft shop was retiring and selling all her stock at great discounts. I bought stamps, embossing powders, stickers, paper, glitter and a craft punch at a fraction of what it would normally cost. I was a happy camper.


lindsaylobe said...

Hi Val, a fine ending to what you might say in a sense was a "pilgrimage' back to the mighty Barossa. It reminds me of the weary work life of those first German immigrants. Labouring by day in the vineyads and at night on their own meagre vines until they were able to build up their own substantial holdings. So many perished in the initial journey up the river and in those settlements as they struggled to gain a foothold. The story of the early pioneering families is a fascinating one but as you say sadly not many of the earthy family holdings prevail to day.

Great photos

Best wishes

Merle said...

Hi Val ~~ Great post Val and nice to see those places. Glad you got some bargains for your craft work. I had
to smile at your sons and the pop guns !!. Nice to see you back.
Take care, Love, Merle.

Susie said...

Loved seeing all your pictures of your trip. I laughed at the pop guns too. Our daughter doesn't allow guns in any fashion either, but the boys always make pretend ones to use in their play.
Can't wait to see your craft room.
Oh, and yes, Bill did make the elephant that sits by our front door. I decorate it for each holiday!

PEA said...

Hi Val:-) So enjoyed hearing about your trip and seeing the pictures...I would have loved to visit that toy shop and I can imagine how happy your boys were to get the pop guns! hehe Mine are 26 and 29 and still love it when I get them something they couldn't have as children! LOL Sounds like it was a great time visiting all these places!! xox

Joan said...

So glad you're back to posting. Your photos are amazing and they so make me want to come visit your part of the world. I especially love the rocking horse...I had one (albeit a much smaller one) when I was a little girl and I would ride it for hours. Ah....such loving memories...

jellyhead said...

You DO look cold in that photo!

Glad you enjoyed yourselves, and that you encountered those craft bargains

Anonymous said...

Nice commentary and photos. Germans seem to migrate everywhere.

Gina E. said...

Gosh Val, it must be more than 40 years since I went to the Barossa Valley and I don't remember anything resembling your gorgeous photos! Looks like a trip is in order - on the train of course!

Jeanette said...

Hi Val Just taking a peep at your holiday Photo's, Oh You all look so cold having your lunch. Its been many years since we visited the Barossa, all i can remember was going through a few wineries and very stately home in the valley near the wineries. Hope to catch up with you in the very near future.

Kali said...

Hello lovely lady!
Yes, it's been a long time since I've dropped by, though I have been thinking of you and how your trip to SA went.
These are great pictures, and they brought back some very happy memories for me.
How nice to be able to travel across by train, and experience the changing landscape.

Kerri said...

It does look chilly at the lookout, but the pretzels sound delicious.
Thanks for the tour Val, and the great pictures. Looks like an interesting place to spend a vacation. I can imagine the boy's delight with the pop guns..reliving old memories :) Perhaps they'll be able to pass them along to their own children someday.
I'll bet your MIL enjoyed herself too.
Great luck finding the craft bargains!