Festival fun in Adelaide - 21-23 February, 2019

When the long-awaited John Coghlan's Quo tour of Australia was sadly cancelled, we managed to fully refund the Queensland section of the trip we'd planned but couldn't refund the flights and hotel in Adelaide so we decided to make the short trip anyway.

An early drive up to Melbourne airport on Thursday 21st February saw us pulling into our pre-booked long-term airport parking at 8.45 and then soon after checking-in to our Virgin Australia flight. The 11.10am flight left about thirty minutes late but still saw us landing in Adelaide at a little after noon (accounting for the half-hour time difference between Melbourne and Adelaide). That's the kind of short flight we rarely get to enjoy! It was very warm in Adelaide on our arrival (and would stay that way for the duration of our stay). It was then an easy local bus trip from the airport into the city centre and a short walk to our home for a couple of nights, the Holiday Inn Express Adelaide City Centre. Although we arrived at 1pm, we could access our room almost immediately and were pleased to find a large, contemporary room up on the ninth floor, well away from the noise of the city below. We walked from the hotel the short distance along Rundle Mall to Juice Lovers (situated in a stunning arcade) and enjoyed an excellent fresh lunch there. After lunch, we explored the magnificent (and surprisingly large) Botanic Garden and were particularly impressed by the First Creek Wetland which showcases sustainable water usage and purification using natural wetlands. Wandering back through the city centre, it was buzzing with street performers and large crowds for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. After freshening up back at the hotel, we headed to V-Vego for dinner and managed to get their last table. We opted for their "feed me" menu which gave us a sample of many of their best dishes, so we had a real treat and some delicious Asian (mainly Japanese and Thai influenced) food. It was so good that we made a dinner booking for Friday night as we left! After a huge dinner, it was nice to walk in the pleasant evening warmth and we headed down to the Torrens River to check out one of the fringe festival attractions, the Yabarra Gathering of Light. This was a really interesting and genuinely different light installation with an Aboriginal theme, a lovely way to end a full day.

It was another sunny start on Friday and we headed to Juice Lovers again for a yummy breakfast (and also grabbed supplies for Saturday morning to stash in the hotel room fridge). We then caught the popular tram out to the beachside suburb of Glenelg. It was a perfect day to walk along the promenade and pier and we also walked a few kilometres along the beachside track to the suburb of Somerton Park, admiring the stunning waterfront properties along the way. Walking back into Glenelg, we were certainly ready for a decent lunch and the plant-based cafe, RAW Conscious Eatery, did the job very well. We caught the tram back to the city at about 4pm and then explored the Hindley Street area to check out the Street Art Explosion as part of the Fringe Festival. After freshening up back at the hotel, we walked to V-Vego again and enjoyed another great meal at this vegan pub/restaurant. The evening was warm and pleasant so we decided to revisit the Yabarra art installation along the Torrens before calling it a night.

Saturday kicked off with breakfast in our room (sourced from Juice Lovers the day before) before we checked-out and headed into the hot morning sun. It was an easy trip back to the airport by about 10.30am to check-in to our Qantas flight back to Melbourne. The 12.30pm flight left on time and saw us touching down in Melbourne at shortly after 2pm. After returning to the car, rather than driving straight home, we headed into Melbourne to do a big shop at our favourite organic supermarket, the crazy busy Terra Madre in trendy Northcote. We usually go up there every couple of months to stock up on our staple foods. Before shopping, we enjoyed a drink and snack at the organic raw cafe, Shoku Iku, and then did our big stock up shop (over two trips). Being in the area at just the right time, we decided to head to the Moroccan Soup Bar in Fitzroy North. This institution of the Melbourne vegie scene is always ridiculously busy and we've failed to secure a table during a number of previous attempts, but this time we were towards the front of the queue at 5.30pm in readiness for the 6pm open. To say dining there was an experience is an understatement! The banquet of Middle Eastern vegan food was excellent, substantial and great value, albeit on a "spoken menu" basis (they tell you what you're getting with no choices), and the vibe was best described as "vibrant" (a bizarre mix of crowded, noisy, hectic and welcoming!). It was great to finally experience this place and it was an easy drive back home for about 9pm to round out a fun few days.

While it was disappointing that the John Coghlan tour was cancelled, visiting Adelaide after a gap of more than ten years was very enjoyable. The vibe in the city was excellent with the Fringe Festival crowds and events. The weather was just about perfect and the availability of top notch vegan food was awesome to see in this small city.