Today I finally headed into town, to get a look at Adelaide outside of a bus. The city is kind of a mesh or Perth and Sydney – a lot of large generic buildings, but a healthy chunk of old, more traditional architecture dotted around. My first stop was a shopping hub, Rundle Mall – a street filled with shopping centres and shops – my iPod was acting up and I needed to find an Apple store.
Sadly, although I found one, I got some bad news. My iPod would pretty much need to be replaced due to the problem, and it’ll cost $450 to do it! And as an added bonus, I hadn’t realised the iPod Classic had been discontinued, so I can’t just buy a new one. Completely sucks.
(thankfully, a friend back home has said I can have her old one, and I’ve gotten an insurance quote from Apple to try and see if travel insurance will cover it).
Head out of the shopping area after this and after a quick stop at the information centre, leave armed with a map and destination – heading towards the Cultural Precinct on North Terrace. This is where the SA Museum, State Library and Adelaide University can be found.
My first stop was the library, as I’d been told there were a few exhibitions on that were worth seeing. As it happens, when I arrived a woman at the desk ended up giving me an impromptu tour of the whole building. The second floor was hosting an exhibition on Pop-Up Books, and how they’ve existed throughout the years. There were some pretty old pieces there, including one that I think came from the 1700’s.
Down the hall and into the original building (which has been around pretty much as long as Adelaide has), there’s another exhibition, this one regarding Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish man who managed to save thousands of Jews in Hungary at the end of World War 2.
Wallenberg went to Hungary and created a ‘swedish passport’ that he could give to Jews, which stated they had biological or important business ties to Sweden to give them protection. He also rented out several buildings as part of the Swedish Embassy where he would then hide Jews from the Nazi’s.
Sadly, his story doesn’t have a happy ending. When the Russian forces came to Hungary, they arrested him for no apparent reason, especially since they were on the same side. His final fate remains unknown, although a death certificate (whose validity is under scrutiny) says he died in prison in the 1970’s.
She also took me into the other section of the library, which hosts thousands of books that were once held at the smaller offices in the bush years ago. There are books on just about every topic – some of them extremely old. They even have a clock that was brought over from England as a keynote piece in this new library – made by the same people who created Big Ben.
The crown jewel of the library though, is their section of rare books, mostly inherited from a wealthy Adelaide man. Some of the books are hundreds of years old, and cover everything from Shakespeare to Alexander Hamilton. It was pretty awesome to see them.
After the library, I went next door to check out the museum. Its free entry like most museums in Australia, with its special exhibit (opals) requiring a ticket. I decided not to bother, and just enjoyed the rest of the museum.
It reminds me a lot of the museum in Perth. On the ground floor is a taxidermy animal collection, and aboriginal artifacts. The second floor however, holds an exhibition it’s featured since its opening, featuring relics and pieces from the Pacific Islands. Some of the pieces are a lot newer, while others have been around since the opening.
Further up is an ocean level, and some exhibitions on fossils (especially one that has been opalised). Its a nice museum, and worth seeing, but not if you’ve been to the one in Perth – its very same same.
There’s a few more places in the cultural area, but I was getting hungry and decided to start looking for Chinatown. Check where it is on the map…only get the numbers mixed up and 30 minutes later realise I’ve headed towards the Parklands in the opposite direction. By the time I’ve backtracked my steps and made it to the district, nearly all the restaurants are closed. End up grabbing something quick from a food court to tide me over, and head back into the main shopping area to catch a train back.
However, my lost wanderings aren’t done yet. I get a little bit absorbed in reading something on my mobile, and realise I’ve missed my stop about 20 minutes too late. End up in the middle of nowhere and have to backtrack again in order to get home.
Amar’s day had been pretty stressful too – he’d come back and slept, so didn’t hear me come in. We ended up having a quiet evening playing Chess, which I haven’t played in years. Not as rusty as I thought I’d be, and it actually ended up being a close game. Really need to play it more often.