Day 23 of the “Ultimate Australian Rail Holiday” Thursday 9th June 2016
If we were on our “correct” schedule of the Ultimate Australian Holiday itinerary, this is the day we would be “departing from Southern Cross Station aboard the XPT bound for Sydney in a First Class Seat“. The XPT train leaves Melbourne at 8.30am and arrives Sydney at 7.54pm. Which reminds me of the story of an English friend of mine who, in the early 70s, booked an air ticket from London to Sydney, and on arrival in the early morning, realised he was meant to be in Melbourne. He made his way to Sydney Central train station and asked for a ticket on the next train to Melbourne. He was issued a ticket for the overnight express passenger train – the Southern Aurora (which no longer runs) which used to leave around 6pm. “I want a ticket on the NEXT train,” my friend politely “demanded” in his polished British accent. “Mate,” said the ticket seller in his best Ocker accent, “that is the next train!”.
(Note: “Ocker” can be thought of as a broad, uncultured accent also known as Strine, which is a contraction of the word Australian spoken in a nasal twang. And if you wish to hear English spoken as only an Aussie can, try this link, which features a parody on Aussie locations and animals performed by Austen Tayshus . . . get it? It’s a play on the word Ostentatious.)
Okay. So we are not on any train. We have spent a pleasant night as the guests of our Adelaide friends, and in the mid-afternoon we are scheduled to catch a “big old jet airliner” back to Sydney. In the meantime, there is still a little time left to explore Adelaide some more. The weather is still “iffy“, so we choose an undercover excursion to Adelaide Central Markets. This market, first established in 1869, is the most amazing fresh food mecca! If I lived near them, I would never bother with a supermarket again. Here over 80 stallholders sell an incredible array of multi-cultural and staple foods. Fruit, vegetables, small-goods, grains and legumes, meat, poultry, fish, bakery, dairy, nuts, confectionery, and so on and on. I was wandering around so bug-eyed I forgot to take any photos, but if you are interested, it is all there under “Traders” in the above link.
The market is in Gouger Street, which is also the mecca for Asian cuisine and next door to Chinatown. We pick a cheap and cheerful favourite restaurant and order the dumplings. I’m ready for comfort food, so choose the broth version; our friends choose the dry version. I make a bit of a hash of sharing the broth between Bill and I, but hey! Tomorrow we will be back home with a mountain of washing anyway.
I don’t remember which was the TV ad which used the slogan, Home – it’s our favourite destination, but I’ve used it plenty of times since first hearing it. It’s a couple of hours flying time from Adelaide to Sydney, plus a half hour time difference, and another couple of hours for the train connection to our south coast home, and we are looking forward to home as we fly into the sunset.
We have had a FABULOUS trip: seen amazing sights, criss-crossed Australia and experienced so many of its variations, and I have had so much fun writing about it – even though it took nearly three months to complete the series. Blogging ensures our memories have a repository that can be recalled at will, and many of you have come on board with wonderful comments. Thank you! It’s been an incredible journey and I am so glad Bill talked me into it.
At the end of the day though, it is always wonderful to return to your own home and your own bed, ready to plan another trip when the opportunity permits.
Here is how the distance calculator finished up.
Running Total = 12,700 klm or 7,880 miles
Adelaide to Sydney to Wollongong = 1250 km or 775 miles
FINAL TOTAL = 13,950 klm or 8,655 miles
For Reference: We booked our tour through the Australian Holiday Centre.