Thinking back a year ago, I was probably in some European town on the weekend doing a day trip or maybe sitting in a garden eating Erdbeerentorte – I miss being responsibility-less and free to travel across such vibrant cultures. It’s been hard adjusting back and keeping my head at ground zero but Melbourne’s fast pace living; trying to juggle work, life and study, keeps these wants at bay.
Adelaide happened because I wanted to get back in touch with my artistic side and go for a bit of fresh air. The exhibition “Colours of Impressionism” showcased works from the French Impressionists, Monet, Cézanne, Renoir and Manet. It was a neat collection, with a lot of content and overall a very curated exhibit. The paintings were organised per sector of the gallery by colour; it started with black, exploring how the Impressionists challenged the norm in using the first synthetic black paints and pushed the boundaries of monochrome. A significant work here was Manet’s “Angeline”, depicting a middle aged Spanish señorita in her everyday clothing, expressions. The painting also showed clear style influences from the 17th century Spanish painter Velazquez.
The gallery moved through lights, blues and greens and ended with vibrant pinks and roses. The fact that it wasn’t entirely chronologically presented but was more colour and thematically planned by the Musée d’Orsay curators introduced a more technical perspective to the exhibition. I was satisfied with the Monet presence in the exhibition, including “La Pie”, as well as being introduced to Pissarro’s works in person for the first time. It was definitely my pleasure to participate as an audience.
The city in general was fairly gentle. Very modern, clean and spacious with expansive amounts of greenery and parks in the CBD. Random statues and giant European style memorial monuments laced the streets. The neoclassical and Victorian buildings as well seemed very well cleaned and maintained. With the lack of a dense city crowd, drivers and locals seemed much friendlier compared to Melbourne or Sydney, Although with food, nothing can compare to Melbourne’s food heaven in choice and variety. Our food experiences really stopped at being amazed at the fresh seafoods and quality organic produce, which we saw in the Adelaide Central Markets. One pit stop to definitely avoid though is the Mexican restaurant “Zapatas” on Melbourne Street – ironic. We waited over an hour between our entree and main and had to ask five times before getting served water. I guess the food was alright but like all the other flavours we had, it seemed tame and under-spiced.
Our visit to the Adelaide Botanical Gardens was pretty impressive in contrary and really accentuated the state’s focus on achieving sustainable development. The entire garden relied on natural processes for water filtering and supply for plant irrigation. Solar panels were apparent everywhere, including beach houses in Port Adelaide and Semaphore – around 10km out of the city towards the west Adelaide coasts. Again, the natural scenery and tourist spots were rubbish free and focused on reducing pollution and waste.
Despite the size of the CBD, Adelaide seemed to have a lot of festivity and culture as the capital of South Australia. We even found a Latvian kitchen in the markets, where along with a $15 plate of typical Eastern European savoury food (cured sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes), we were offered an exciting selection of mustards. Wine culture is definitely peak in Adelaide, where in the National Wine Center for as cheap as $6.30 can get you a clean red or white. We tried a Clare Valley No. 4 Riesling and a Gibson Valley 2016 Reserve Merlot – both supremely well served and matched a local cheddar and cured meat platter.
I think Adelaide has quite a lot of potential of development as a city – radelaide is real. There’s clear efforts made to attract a younger first home population with the entry level housing market. But, personally I wouldn’t see myself moving there too soon because I’ll miss the vibrant city life of Melbourne too much – my Sunday brunches, cheap and tasty Asian eats and just multicultural people. I guess I’ll just confess to being a city snob for now.