Vales, Velos and Vietnamese!

Luckily for John, the Continental Breakfast was not that enthralling and even with an hour less of sleep – Karen was bright eyed and bushy-tailed as we waiting for our bus.

We had blagged the last two places on a mountain bike / wine tour with a company called EscapeGoat. Run by an English/Australian couple called Ian and Deborah this turned out to be a great choice and the guide – Ian himself – kept us entertained with facts, trivia all delivered in a Richard Hammond-esque patter.

At 8.00am our motley crew of tourists all pilled into the van and we left Adelaide CBD, due south, for our first stop – Kuitpo Forest in the Adelaide Hills. As we made our way up to the forest on the Mount Lofty Ranges, we passed through a small yet very peculiar village – Hahndorf.

Classified as Australia’s oldest German settlement and celebrating over 175 years this year – Hahndorf is a quaint little place with one main road lined with 100 year old elm trees and contains dozens of buildings in the ‘Fachwerk’ heritage mould. Shops and cafes are sandwiched between two beer halls and you will struggle to see this many lederhosen anywhere else east of Oder river.

A short time later we were being ‘fitted’ for our bikes under the cooling canopy of Kuitpo Forest – a forestry reserve near the top of Mount Lofty. Our bikes were decent – with working disc-brakes, a plethora of gears and some weird suspension system that made the journey smoother, which came in handy for the next hour and a bit as we went ‘offroad’ cycling through the forest, dodging fallen timbers and maneuvering ravines all the while trying to keep an eye out for wildlife.

As we circled back to the van we finally made contact – with some Wallabies. (John had seen some earlier through the treeline)

Spot the Wallaby!

Spot the Wallaby!

With the forest trail conquered it was a short spin to the top of Willunga Hill and our adventurous descent downhill. Not to exaggerate – but there was quite a liberal use of the brakes on the way down 🙂

At the bottom we took a sharp right turn onto Kangarilla Road and our first wine stop – the aptly named Kangarilla Road Winery. This cute little cellar door had some really great sparkling shiraz and before you could say ‘Sauciehall Street’ we had purchased two bottles.

It had been quite a few hours exertion and a few tastings down by the time we stopped for lunch. The venue was Ekhidna Restaurant and Winery and the food was amazing! A veritable smorgasboard of meats, cheeses and breads. The main man here is Matt Rechner and whilst he ran a good ship – with a cellar door, restaurant and micro-brewery – he had his finger in too many pies so his wines were only alright. No bottle purchases but we did get two glasses of grenache for lunch. (one each mind!).

With the pleasure of a satisfying lunch came the pain of getting back on the bike, and with it an immediate shock as we had to start climbing a very steep hill to reach our last destination – Oxenberry Farm. Run by the Scarpantoni Brothers this was a good end to the trip as we hung out at the cafe and worked our way through their cider collection.

And that was it. Such a great day trip and it must have been tiring as both of us were sounds asleep in the van on the way back to Adelaide. Zzzzzzzz

Later that evening…

With freebie tickets for Asia Fest coupled with the fact that it was being held nearby, we took the plunge and popped along. Unlike most festivals of it’s ilk – Asia Fest was not cobbled together but divided into 5 separate zones; each with their own identities. Japan had karaoke booths, arcade games and Manga cosplayers, Korea had K-Pop groups, Dance-Dance Mania booths and kimchee stalls. Vietnam had pride of place next to the lake and attempted to recreate the boat markets whilst Thailand had a huge Full Moon Party section whilst there was Peking Opera in the Chinese Zone!

We spent about an hour traversing Asia – a lot faster than the real thing last year, and we were rewarded with all 5 stamps that were needed for the Air Asia Flight Raffle.

We decided not to eat at Asia Fest as all the food was vastly overpriced. Instead we did the next best thing and jumped into a taxi to Gouger Street – the heart of Adelaide’s Chinatown and enjoyed ourselves.

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