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Monday, 25 March 2013

Adelaide: Central Market

Adelaide (or "Radelaide" as I more often hear it referred to) holds special meaning for me, because it's where my parents grew up before they relocated to Sydney in the late 1970s. As a result, I've been there a lot - particularly as a kid with the family, mainly to see the grandfolks, when they were still around. We'd stay at their place in North Plympton, on an avenue of one-storey, sand-brick houses, each and every one with a tidy lawn, neatly-pruned rose bushes, and a low fence, over which you'd chat to the neighbours. We'd hang out in the back room (because that's where the air con was), with its tiled flooring, vertical blinds, green knobbly couches, photo frames galore, and my grandfather's bar (yep, near-alcoholism goes way back in my family). Nanna would put out little bowls of Dixie Drumsticks, beer nuts and YoYo biscuits, and Grandpa would pour me a lemonade  from one of those mini blue Schweppes cans. While the grown-ups talked and Wheel Of Fortune played in the background, I'd go nuts with Nanna's Circle-A-Word books on a lap tray. Oh, those were the days.

As an adult, I've only visited Rads a handful of times. It's a city that gets bagged out a lot, and sure, it's quieter than Sydney or Melbourne. But it has great wine, parks and beaches, and is one of the most easygoing and friendly cities I've ever been to. In recent years, its Tourism Department has gotten a bit cluey and scheduled a bunch of events and festivals around February/March to boost tourism - including the Fringe Festival, the Adelaide Festival, Womadelaide, and a host of others. With grown-up cousins and new-ish friends living over there, my sister and I decided it was high time for a weekend visit.

One of my South Australian friends (whose behind is already famous from this blog, apparently) recommended the Hotel Metropolitan (46 Grote Street) for classic above-the-pub accommodation, right in the guts of the city. (This was the same awesome friend who printed out a Google map and marked out all the cool bars/cafes/restaurants/sights for us to check out! Thanks, HK! xo) The Metro is a nice old pub across the road from the Central Market, and - had we bothered checking that the rooms were air-conditioned before arriving for a weekend of 35+ degree heat - it would have been perfect for our purposes! The rooms were basic, and it was a shared-bathroom kinda deal, but it was cheap, central, friendly and relatively secure. We also shared the upstairs wrap-around balcony, which was both alarming and awesome, in equal parts.

We were in town from Saturday morning to Monday night (a long weekend for Adelaide Cup Day, and Labor Day in Vic/Tas), however, the only day the Adelaide Central Market (44-60 Gouger Street) would be open out of those was the Saturday (WHY?? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY). So we legged it over there almost as soon as we landed - to get our bearings, and hopefully some spuds*, before checking in.

We didn't get spuds, but we did get HEART-SHAPED MACARONS, YEAH

The Central Market is large and undercover (i.e. weatherproof!), mainly offering beautiful fresh foods - fruit and veg, meats, seafood, nuts, lollies, cheese and deli items, tea and coffee, bread and cakes.

Extremely large melons (oh yes I did)

Extremely large grapes (what?)

Extremely small avocadoes

It also has a few built-in cafes around its edges, including the infamous Lucia's (a traditional Italian coffee hotspot), and random stores on its outskirts spruiking new-age wares, clothes and shoes, pet supplies, and so on. It's a great place to stroll around, taking in the fantastic items on offer, the people, and the busy vibe.

Lucia's.  And people.



Grow your own wheatgrass? Sure, why not

Post-market, we had a bit more time to kill before check-in, so we went for yum cha. I didn't take photos because (a) this place didn't have trolleys, which are clearly essential for yum-cha photo-taking, (b) most yum cha foods look the same in most cities, (c) I was too busy catching up with my sister, and (d) I couldn't be arsed. But I did take this lovely photo of my sister, who is making sure we are all aware of the exact location of Chinatown in Adelaide is. (It's basically the one street, and most of it was closed... but she did purchase a very nice new iPhone cover.)

Adelaide's Chinatown

And thus was our introduction to the city of Adelaide for the gazillionth time. More Rad shenanigans to follow.

*Only the best confectionary, in the world, EVER. It is somewhat a family tradition to purchase spuds (brown, kinda marzipan-y lil ball things) from the Central Market, and it is my mother's tradition to eat them all before giving any to anyone else. So we were kinda excited that she wasn't there. (Sorry Mum... you know it's not true. xoxoxo)