Wednesday 23 March 2016

Adelaide the green city

I normally prefer the bush than the beat, however I found myself liking Adelaide. It is rated one of the greenest cities in the world, and the inner city is surrounded by 29 different park lands separating the inner city from the outer suburbs. Adelaide is also home to the first solar powered bus in the world.

Cameron and I visited Adelaide in mid February. There are many places all through Adelaide upon which bikes are loaned out for FREE. It is and initiative of the government. All you have to do is leave your I.D with them and away you go. We found out about a man named Stewart who runs free bike tours around the city every Friday providing it is not too hot or wet. You can find him on Facebook by looking up "Adelaide Free Bike Tours". Even though we could have hired the bike from the caravan park where we were staying, we decided that the best way to learn about the city would be from a local.

We rode around for about two hours. This was a big deal because I have a healthy respect for the road traffic which is why I don't usually ride, but in South Australia the laws favour bike riders. Vehicles must stay 1m away from bikes on 60km/h roads or 1.5m if the speed is higher. Riders also have the advantage of being allowed to ride on the footpath!

As we rode we learnt how Adelaide was a planned city, and how the idea for the gardens were started way back in the 19th century. The council have had ups and downs over the years with pollution, drought, and building damns for water to get it to look as beautiful as it does today. There was a time period where workers were in short supply so they got the inmates from the gaol to work and tend them.

Today there is a variety of 29 different parks. After the ride we went for a walk through the botanic garden. Here there is a greenhouse which simulates growing conditions of rainforests. As we walked through, we found what was left of the Amorphophallus Titanum or “The corpse flower” given the name because it smells like rotting flesh. These flowers typically only flower once in a decade although sometimes every 3 years. The flower can reach 3m tall but only stays open some where between 12-48 hours before it closes again. It had opened 2 weeks prior to our visit, but when it did thousands of people had lined up to take a whiff. It was the second flower to bloom in Adelaide within a month, the first being at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

There is much artwork to admire around the city too. A similar vibe to Melbourne with large artworks on building walls. The council provides scaffolding for when the artwork is being done. Some of the paintings are long term, and some of the them are seasonal and change with the many different festivals. There are other paintings that are permanent but ever changing because other artists add parts over the top to the artwork. I can't remember many names of the artists, but one I remember is Toy Soldiers.

Another reason Adelaide is known as a green city is because of the use of space, and the amount that is recycled. There are apartment buildings with herbs and planter boxes on the walls of the buildings, and many cafes are doing the same, sourcing the herbs from the walls of the buildings. One such place that Stewart showed us, a mural had been made using only materials that had been found at the site. He also told us of the use of space in empty buildings. The council has given permission for temporary use of the building space until it is filled. Some such temporary uses include pop-up shops or cafes where they can build a client base, until they find somewhere more permanent to go, or to see if the business will work. I think some cities have much to learn from Adelaide.

The wonderful smells that emerged while riding through the city was tempting for lunch and afterwards we went to the International food court. There was so much variety, and many people there so it must be good! We settled for a Japanese Ramen soup, then afterwards found a place to enjoy a bubble ice tea. YUM! At some point in the day Stewart had mentioned a favourite pub of his called The Elephant British Pub. We stumbled across this at the end of the day while walking to the bus stop so of course quenched our thirst with a Guiness.

We were only in Adelaide for two nights and normally I would think this is too long in a city, but I feel Adelaide has much more to offer so we will be back. Perhaps we will base ourselves here for a period of time in the future, but for now we are on a mission to the west.

- Jeni

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