It’s been hard to write a travel blog without doing much travelling. Since Japan (twice) and Hong Kong last year, I’ve been golden handcuffed to my desk job so there have been no more international trips.

There have been however, a few domestic trips for business and pleasure. The last trip for pleasure was an exciting adventure to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

I had high expectations of Radelaide. The City of Churches received positive write-ups in the international press (The Telegraph UK and the Chicago Tribune). It was also listed as Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities for 2014. It described Adelaide as “…effortlessly chic… like a perfectly cellared red, it’s ready to be uncorked and sampled.”

Pop-up dive bar in Adelaide CBD
Pop-up dive bar in Adelaide CBD

WOAH, back the truck. It may be chic (with its beaches and parks and festivals and even laneways) but it isn’t effortless. In fact, it tries very hard. Adelaide is all about the ‘pop-up’: temporary set-ups that creates a sense of intrigue and excitement = for a limited time only! You don’t want to miss it or it will be gone!

They do this with everything – bars, markets, shops (even the Typo and the Kookai are pop-ups… err… they’re everywhere, Adelaide people, EVERYWHERE) and even a pop-up after party.

Night markets outside Lola Pergola's
Night markets outside Lola Pergola’s

The pop-up after party is Lola Pergola’s, an outdoor playground set up only for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. It’s a place for people to go after their show. The set up itself is not bad. It’s a fenced area on the bank of the River Torrens.  There is a live DJ, a ‘chill-out’ area with picnic rugs, night markets selling local, arty things and of course, the usual outlets to buy beverages, grilled meats, lattes and gelati. The area is decked out in pretty lanterns and fairy lights. There is a $5 entry fee after 10pm which creates a bit of a queue (=manufactured excitement).

It was fun but it was not effortless.

As for Adelaide being “perfectly cellared… ready to be uncorked…” sorry Lonely Planet. Sorry Adelaide, I suggest you remain in the cellar until such time as you figure out the following:

  1. What is the point of your half hour time difference?
  2. Why don’t you have an underground train network in your city; real cities NEED an underground train network
  3. Why are your coffee shops IN THE CITY (I’m thinking Troppo and House of Donkey) not opened 7 days a week. For goodness sake. Real cities NEED coffee 7 days a week.
Hipster cafe in Adelaide only open on weekends
Hipster cafe in Adelaide only open on weekends

OK sorry Adelaide, but here is what I will give you. Your food is SO GOOD. Buying fresh produce at farmers’ markets and roadside stalls is part of the Adelaide way of life. The Central Market is a foodie’s dream with dips, fancy cheeses, fresh bread, deli meats… all of it was very dddelicious.

In Adelaide, even the produce from the povo corner store is amazingly good.