Thursday, October 19, 2017

Third time's a charm

It's been quite a while since I last took a holiday and this one has been on the cards for a while. In just under two days I will once again be in the lovely Japan. This time I am travelling with my best friend Abi. It'll be her first trip to Japan and I am incredibly excited to show her around and explore new places together. 

The itinerary is very detailed and very thorough - I just can't help myself. And it is jam packed with excitement. We will be flying into Osaka where we intend to spend a couple days, one which will include Universal Studios before heading to Tokyo for the remainder of our two week trip. There we will be spending four days at the two Disney parks and visiting Harajuku, Akiba, Nakano, Asakusa and a number of other hot spots around Tokyo. 

At this stage, my suitcase is mostly packed and just waiting the last few items to be tossed in on Saturday morning before I head to the airport. So stay tuned to this blog, as once again I will be blogging my way through Japan. 

Only two big sleeps to go!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Adelaide in Autumn

August saw me head down to Adelaide again for my annual trip to the Australian Costumers Guild ball (which you can read about on my costuming blog here). But while it is the main reason for my trip, I certainly try to see the sights and do interesting things while I am there. And there are a few.

This year, I made a point to visit the Hello Kitty Café. It’s the only one in Australia and opened late last year. I just couldn’t resist visiting while I was in town. It’s a little hard to find and trust me when I say google maps don’t make it easy. But, it is essentially on the very edge of the large permanent markets in Adelaide City. So while it took us a while to find, it was well worth it. The café is beautifully styled in brown and yellow – quite paired back for what you would think Hello Kitty would normally be. But like all theme café’s, everything is themed. I think the photos speak for themselves as to how pretty it is inside. I loved it! And the food. Definitely worth it. I had a dark hot chocolate which was the most delicious thing ever (not too sweet), a dark chocolate mousse (because it is hello kitty shaped) and matcha sponge gateau (reminiscing over the many delicious matcha flavoured foods in Japan).

Afterwards, we wandered around the markets and stocked up on delicious cheeses. My family are very dedicated to cheese so it was incredible to see so many options available. I just wish there was something like this whole area close to my home back in Brisbane. It was amazing. Everything that you could want to stock up on for your weekly menu – cheeses, breads, meats, fish, bakery items, fruit and veggies as well as many specialty items. I am very jealous. We also found the most inviting Italian café / restaurant inside the market area where we decided to stop for lunch. I was still full from my Hello Kitty experience so opted to share a dish. And the gnocchi fiend that I am could not pass up freshly made Italian gnocchi. Beautiful little pillows of potatoey heaven on a plate.

We also stopped at the Vintage Market across the road which has a huge range of items. It made me wish I was driving back to Brisbane so that I could stock up on pretties and load them home with me. Instead I just purchased a tea trio which I very carefully loaded into my carry-on luggage and a couple of vintage hats from the 1960s, including a turquoise one which just so happens to match my hair.

On Sunday, we decided to trip on up to Hahdorf again. It was mostly at my own urging because I really wanted to visit the Berenberg Farm again and stock up my carry-on luggage with delicious jams, chutneys and dressings. Believe you me, when I say that I stocked up good.

We then spent the remainder of the morning in the beautiful German town Hahndorf. I wrote quite a bit last year about my visit there, so I tried to capture things a bit differently this time. There are many little stores along the main street each with a very German vibe. The town was settled by German immigrants originally and I love that it has managed to maintain its German charm. If you like poking into little shops to while away your day, then Hahndorf is definitely for you. But just remember to wear your eating pants. There are so many beautiful little restaurants and café’s offering a taste of Germany.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Annual Trip

or, what is becoming the annual trip for me. The last weekend in August marks it time for my trip down to Adelaide for the Australian Costumers Guild Ball. This year, my mum decided to come down with me so that we would both be able to visit our relatives who live down there.

We were up bright and early on Friday morning for our flight from Brissie to Adelaide. We had a fantastic trip down, flying with clear skies, and managed to arrive about 20 minutes early. After picking up our luggage, we were picked up by our car rental company. They aren't located at the airport, however are happy to come out and pick you up to take you their depo (only a 10 minute drive towards town). And you really couldn't ask for better prices.

If you are planning to rent a car to get around in Adelaide, I highly recommend Ace. Great price, very friendly and helpful staff and you really couldn't ask for more. Their website (the best way to book, is direct with them): We had a little Toyota which we were surprised fit both of our full suitcases and our carry-on bags.

We picked up some lunch before heading to the hospital where my Great Aunt was currently staying. A misshap earlier in the week had meant a trip to the hospital. So while it was lovely to see her again, it wasn't great that she was in hospital. Afterwards we checked in at our hotel, where a few of the other interstate travellers would also be staying. This year, we were unable to book the place that we would normally stay, so we had to find a nearby replacement. The main goal is to find somewhere that is within walking distance of the ball venue itself so that we don't have to struggle to drive in our costumes. This year, it was the Regal Park Motor Inn. Plenty of off-street parking for our hire cars, clean room, restaurant downstairs (great for breakfast) and an affordable price. It was a little dated (1970s), however it certainly served it's purpose for a couple of nights.

We walked over to O'Connell Terrace for dinner at the Regent Thai on Saturday night. They have a fantastic range of options and I can attest to a very delicious fried rice. They apparently have one of the best ratings for restaurants in North Adelaide for Thai food.

On Saturday, I was up and heading down for breakfast before a trip to the airport to pick up our final Brisbane traveller. From there we made our way around a couple of fabric shops. I won't go into details on them, but if you are interested, I did write about them on my trip last year. I tried to restrain myself this year and only brought home one piece of fabric and a few pieces of lace. From there mum and I split off with the group to meet up with my mum's cousins for lunch. It has been a very long time since they have seen each other, so it was quite the catch up.

It was after this that I had to head down to the ball venue to start preparations for the evening. This year I entered workmanship and the parade competitions with my Steampunk black widow. If you want to read more about my costume, head on over to my other blog. It was quite the successful night for me, bringing home the award for Master Workmanship, Master Parade and People's Choice.

I was again up bright and early on Sunday morning to start packing my suitcase before dropping one of our travellers to the airport for her flight home to Brisbane. After some breakfast back at the hotel, mum and I were on our own for the day. We decided that we would be heading to the Adelaide Hills for some touristing for the day.

 Our first stop was the Beerenberg Farm just outside of Hahndorf. If you go there in spring and summer, you are likely to enjoy the benefits of pick-you-own. They are in face quite well known for their Strawberry Farm. The farm was originally settled back 1839 and has been farming the land ever since. Now, they bring a wide range of condiments created from the own farm grown produce. I went a little nuts in store and picked up a number of different sauces and spreads. I really enjoyed the taste-testing on offer which really helped me choose which ones I wanted to buy. I loaded up my carry-on suitcase to come home but really wish that I had more room to bring more with me. But I will definitely be going back to their website when I run out - they are incredibly delicious and affordable.

 Afterwards we headed back into Hahndorf proper. It's a town that was settled back in the 1830s and it has managed to keep it's German heritage. There are a plethora of cafe's, pubs and restaurants to choose from down the street as well as some lovely little shops. And should the mood strike you, there is also wine tasting nearby. I was driving, so no wine tasting for me.

We first wandered into the German Cake Shop for morning tea. There were so many delicious looking German bakery items to choose from. I decided to try a doughnut pretzel which turned out to be so over sweet and sugary that I could only eat a couple bites. The shop was quite unique inside. Clocks lined the walls and antiques were stacked on every sideboard. And the ceiling was stocked with plates and framed prints. It was a very interesting store.

And for lunch. While we were there, I decided that if I was going to have lunch in a German village, I wanted to have some delicious German food. Mum and I found a nice looking little restaurant that served up schnitzel, so we pulled up a seat for some food. Can I just say - delicious.

 I have to say that if I ever find myself on holiday for some time in Adelaide again I will definitely plan to stay in Hahndorf for some time. It would be well worth it to try out the different restaurants and pubs around the place. It would be a delicious trip.

Afterwards, we headed back for a final visit into the hospital before dropping our car back and heading to the airport for our flight home. Dinner was the last thing on my mind after stuffing myself full of delicious german food. But it is good to be home in my bed again. And I can still enjoy all my condiment purchases.