In our week at the Paech farm, we ventured out on several day trips to Hahndorf, Barossa Valley, and Victoria Harbor in additions to visits to the smaller towns around the Adelaide Hills, Mt.Barker, Wistow, Tonanda, Lobetha, Woodside, and Stirling.
Victoria Harbor is at the southern end of Australian continent on the Southern Ocean. A viewing point at Horseshoe Bay listed the many shipwrecks when sailing ships ventured too close to shore, hitting the shoals and reefs just below the water.
We spend a Sunday afternoon touring an old German Lutheran settlement, Hahndorf, in the Adelaide Hills near the Paech farm. But before we drove there, we stopped in the Trims store in Mt. Barstow to pick up an authentic Australian bush hat I could wear.
I’d been wearing an American style baseball hat, but wanted something that would give more sun block protection for our country walks and upcoming visit to the Outback.
Steve showed me the proper way to ‘sport’ the bush hat so I’d fit in like a regular bloke.
With the proper head-gear, we headed into Hahndorf, strolling down the main street and stopping by some historical buildings in the German community. Virtually every church in town was Lutheran, which warmed my heart, being half German and growing up a Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota.
One of the classic German landmarks we visited were the oldest buildings in town where German farmers, crafts people, and laborers worked. It’s been renovated into a hotel, restaurant, pub, ‘pokie’ bar (slot machines and keno), and theater. A little tacky and too touristy for us, but Hahndorf has become quite a place for tour groups and packaged tours.
A more authentic landmark was the Hahndorf Academy. Inside were furniture, accessories, and interpretive displays describing the many uses the building had been for educating the German youth of Hahndorf.
One of the most famous wine growing areas in south Australia is the Barossa Valley north of the Adelaide Hills. We spent a day touring the wineries, many of which reminded us of Sonoma and Napa valley wineries.
The countryside is also strikingly similar to Napa and Sonoma, rows of vineyards on the rolling hills, small towns, and trees. But Barossa Valley’s trees are various gum trees, taller with greyish white trunks and branches as opposed to the shorter, bushier black oak trees in northern California.
Nevertheless, we felt very much at home driving through the countryside and remarking how familiar it looked to us.
Herbig family tree
We stopped by an amazing historical landmark returning from the Barossa Valley, the Herbig family tree where the German family raised the first two of their seventeen children in an old gum tree with a large and open truck. As their family expanded, they added a hut at the base of the tree.
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Next: Alice Springs, Northern Territories — kangaroos, koala, wallabies and feral camels
As many of you know, I also write mysteries and romantic suspense novels.
I recently published my first international thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, which is available on Kindle as well as other ereaders, tablets, and smartphones.
I’m back in Europe for the summer to hire a translator and to research my next book which will also be a thriller based in Milan. I’ll be posting along the way from Milan, Stresa, Zurich and other locations.
I have a few posts on another blog, Anatomy of a Thriller, where I write about the process of researching and writing an international thriller. I’ll add more posts there as well.
Please share these links with writers or readers who might be interested.