I read an interesting article recently, by an American living in Melbourne. After five years, she wondered if her views on the place had changed. Luckily for us readers she had diarised her first impressions of Melbourne at the time.
I’ve been living in Adelaide since late January and I really need to collect my first impressions, before they become diluted by familiarity. Here’s a selection to get started:
- Heatwaves: My memory of Adelaide, from earlier visits, was of dry and sizzling heat. Certainly we arrived in January during a heatwave. 40-something degrees for days on end. Mega publicity. The hottest city in the worldTM. No wonder outsiders think it’s like this all the time. Stay a bit longer, and a milder climate makes itself known. Cool crisp mornings even during summer. It’s almost chilly now (April). But yes, heatwaves in summer, punctuated by spells of perfect warm sunny weather.
- Winds: I read somewhere that the cooling evening breezes in the eastern suburbs where we live are caused by air falling down off the hills when the sun drops. For a few weeks I woke in the night to blustery winds whipping the trees for an hour, then calm. The other week the burn-offs in the hills brought wood smoke notes to the afternoon air.
- Clocks: Being half an hour in front (of Queensland) is weird. And now half an hour behind. Evening sunlight is a novelty. Clocks going back is a novelty. (Doesn’t stop the toddler getting up before dawn.)
- Parklands: A couple of Saturday’s ago I cycled all the way around the Adelaide Parklands with the toddler. 24km of woodlands, lakes, lawn, heath and scrub. Play and sportsgrounds of all types and shapes; dogs and birds and horses and people. We even heard monkeys whooping in the zoo. North Adelaide’s amazing heritage streets and buildings called for a urbansketch stop at Wellington Square.
Through a golf course, look left look right then bump the bike and child across four railway lines (Adelaide’s rail network is 1950s standard), over the river again to Bonython Park with its new playground, coffee kiosk and groups of parents. Behind the old goal where the police horses live beneath olive trees. The parklands are not just the lungs of the city but a heart of community and sporting life. A real gem.
5. Adelaide Central Markets on a Friday night after work. Cheese tasting, Spaghetti Bar, spicy soups, glass of wine, olives, fruit and veg for a weekend, and a toddler tantrum.
6. Mad March: more festivals than minutes in the day. Even with the toddler we enjoyed a night-time festival parade, Sunday morning baby disco, the festival opening concert, book festival, WOMAdelaide and (kids) comedy. And who can forget the bee festival…or was that buzz in the back garden really from the V8 supercars racing in nearby Victoria Park??? Listening to David Malouf interviewed at the writers fest. Hearing about Brisbane and feeling nostalgia for the subtropical life. Already! Exploring the city and region was postponed until quieter times.