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Since we’ve been to Australia on many occasions (and have always had a blast), we decided this year to not focus on any touring but instead to enjoy some “R&R” after our intense touring in China.  So, we visited a few cities, enjoyed some great Aussie wines and in general did as we intended – rested and relaxed.

Friday, 21 October:  Our flight from Hong Kong arrived in Sydney on schedule at 9:30AM.  However, Customs and Immigrations were extremely crowded and it took over an hour to enter Australia.  So, the Cathay personnel in Hong Kong were correct and we did miss our connection.  However, Qantas had no issue with changing us to a later flight.  The next flight to Melbourne with available seats was at 4:15PM in the afternoon.  So, we went to the Qantas Club and once again relaxed, enjoyed salads and fresh breads and had a wonderful Shiraz.

Our flight to Melbourne left on schedule.  We were somewhat shocked that the Qantas cabin crew served a hot meal in the Business Class section on a flight that was just over an hour in duration.  Not only was it quite good, it too was accompanied with great wine.  When we landed in Melbourne, we took the hotel shuttle to our accommodation for the night.

Saturday, 22 October:  We left the hotel at 9:00AM because we knew we could once again enjoy a Qantas Club lounge before taking our noon flight to Adelaide.  When we arrived at the airport, we did our first-ever baggage check-in.  That is, using Qantas’ kiosk, we printed our baggage tags; then put them on the bags; took the bags over to a carousel which weighed each one and then sent it off for processing.  All this was done without needing an agent.  Pretty impressive and likely a cost-savings for Qantas.

Again, we had a short flight – this time just under an hour – and we once again were served a hot meal and wine.  Amazing!  Upon arrival in Adelaide, we collected our luggage and then caught a SkyLink shuttle to our home for the next four nights, the Franklin Street Apartments.  The FSA are located in downtown Adelaide.  This area has undergone re-gentrification and now has lots of restaurants, shopping and even a mall (Rundle Mall).   The FSA itself is an historic building.  The offices of Southern Farmers Co-Operative Union opened the building in September 1900.  In 1997/98, the building was redeveloped.  However, the original façade was totally restored to maintain the building’s original charm and character.   In the past, we stayed in the Adelaide suburbs (Glenelg).  However, we visited downtown using the metro and trams so we were somewhat familiar with it.

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The Historic Franklin Street Apartments

After settling in, we went for a walk to get some liquor and groceries for our four night stay.  First we went to Rundle Mall to visit the Woolie’s (Woolworth’s) market to purchase some gin and wine.  While wine is very good and affordable in Australia, the gin cost an absolute fortune ($41.50USD per liter for a low-alcohol (37.5%) version). 

After we dropped these items back at our apartment, we went over to the Central Market.  There we stopped at the Cole’s grocery and bought food items.  At long last, with Ed in the kitchen, we were able to enjoy some salads, fresh vegetables and other low-calorie items that had been missing in our “Executive Club Lounge’ diet in China.

When we returned to the apartment, it was after 4:00PM so we spent the balance of the day unpacking and settling in to our place.  Ed made a great dinner – veggies and dip; a salad; and cheese bruscetta.  Wonderful!

Sunday, 23 October:  After having breakfast (real oatmeal; not the instant stuff), we did paperwork and then went to the FSA lobby area where we were given 20 minutes of free internet access/day.  It was just enough time to check a few financial sites and that was it.

Afterwards, we went out and wandered around Rundle Mall.  It was very crowded as many individuals visit the Mall on Saturday and Sunday.  Otherwise, the streets were quiet as most of the restaurants were closed since no businesses were open.  Also, there was very little traffic since most individuals use Adelaide’s great mass transit system to access downtown.

In the evening, we watched a movie while enjoying a wonderful meal thanks to Chef Eduardo.  All and all, this was a very relaxing day.

Monday, 24 October:  We held true to our goal of lots of “R&R” while in Oz.  In the morning, we watched the Game 4 of the World Series “live” and had fun rooting for Texas.  Afterwards, we did go out for a walk to look at many of the historic buildings in town.  Then, we made a quick stop at the Central Market as well as Cole’s.  Afterwards, we spent the balance of the day in our apartment catching up on business items, reviewing photographs, etc.

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This is historic Beehive Corner
(you can see the name on the corner tower)
Adelaide Town Hall
Central Market, a great shopping spot
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
The interior of the Cathedral
The Adelaide Central Post Office

[ T O P ]

In the evening, Ed prepared a wonderful pasta dinner.  We enjoyed this with our Aussie wine while watching a movie.  It was a fun and relaxing evening.

Tuesday, 25 October:   Since we knew we had World Series coverage, we once again tuned in to see Game 5.  Again, Texas came through for us.  It had gotten very cold overnight (about 49 degrees) so we were in no hurry to venture outside.  However, we did go for an afternoon walk.  The streets were really crowded as many shoppers were out and about as well as children in school uniforms returning home.  We noted that per capita Adelaide must have one of the highest numbers of coffee shops of any major city.  Coffee definitely has replaced tea as the beverage of choice – at least while one is outside of the home.

We again enjoyed a relaxing evening but did have to pack items in anticipation of our departure tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 26 October:  This was a travel day to the Western coast of Australia to the town of Perth.  We left our Adelaide apartment early so that we could enjoy the Qantas Club lounge; in particular, the free internet access since we had very little in Adelaide and we anticipated none at our Perth hotel.  Like Adelaide, we previously visited Perth and toured it extensively.  So, this visit was primarily to take advantage of our “Round the World” fare which included multiple legs in Australia.  Also, we were logging lots of frequent flyer miles!

Our flight was very enjoyable.  Instead of a “one hour hop,” this was a three hour flight.  After enjoying both great service and great wine, the flight’s Customer Service Manager gave us a bottle of the Australian Shiraz we had been enjoying.  What a nice touch!

After arriving in Perth, we called the Comfort Inn and they sent their van out immediately to pick us up.  So, we were settled into our room (Ed thought it was the same room from a prior visit) in the early evening.  We relaxed and again enjoyed some great Shiraz.  Toward the end of the evening a heavy deluge began.

Thursday, 27 October:  Our destination today was back to Sydney in anticipation of our next international flight.  Interestingly, Queen Elizabeth was doing a tour of Australia before an upcoming meeting of Commonwealth government heads that was to begin in Perth on Friday.  Thankfully, she arrived on Wednesday well after we did.  We were able to watch her arrival on SkyNews and it basically had the airport at a standstill.

Our flight again was very pleasant and we enjoyed another great meal.  We arrived in Sydney at 7:00PM.  Once there we found the Super Shuttle kiosk and we were at the Crowne Plaza at 8:00PM.  We made it a very early night since we had to get up early on Friday to leave for the United Arab Emirates.

Once again, we enjoyed our time in “Oz”!  We did get our “rest and relaxation” and had some fun, ate fine meals and watched some great movies.  Undoubtedly, we will return again.

Now, on to our next stop....    D U B A I