Adelaide, the capital of South Australia (the driest state on the driest inhabited continent) completed the Mark & Jim Friends Tour with a bang.
There are a lot of reasons to come to Adelaide. An Australian city that doesn’t trace its roots back to convicts, it has a long history of progressivism: South Australia was one of the first places in the world to give women the right to vote, and it was the first Australian state to outlaw racial and gender discrimination, to legalize abortion, and to decriminalize gay sex. Still, it’s known as the “City of Churches” and has some great 19th century architecture (the 19th century is what passes for “old” in Australia). As we learned, it has at least one remarkable tapas restaurant, making you feel as though you were in Spain for the night, and a nice Argentine restaurant too, with great live rock & roll as the night grew late. And, as if all that weren’t enough, some of the best wineries anywhere in the world.
Lots to like.
But we came here to see Pip. We first met her back when our world consisted of our Regent St. loft, our Davis Square office, and Gargoyle’s restaurant, strategically placed between the two. After we befriended her there she eventually came to work for us, left, came back, and left again, this time to return to her native South Australia. With all this time in Australia, no way we’d miss a chance to visit with Pip.
And, to our delight, some of her family, too. We took a train down the coast to Port Willunga where Pip, her mom, and her nephew Raffy met us for a day tour of the area. Beaches, wineries, hilltop vistas – it’s a great area. But mostly just a chance to visit with Pip and her peeps. Her mom Anna was a firecracker; get her on the subject of religion or Donald Trump or immigration and you learn quickly this is a woman I can relate to. Raffy was almost enough to make me rethink my belief that children are more trouble than they’re worth; he even laughed at some of my jokes. And there’s nothing like reconnecting and catching up with a wonderful friend like Pip, now working on a Masters Degree in Education.
There’s one piece of Adelaide’s history that really struck me. The city is named for Adelaide, queen consort of Britain’s King William IV. He was the third son of crazy George III, he of American revolutionary fame. George’s eldest son, also George, served as regent while the elder George was incapacitated and later succeeded him in 1820. George IV, though, had no legitimate sons and only one daughter, who had died in childbirth in 1817. Thus George III found himself (to the extent he was aware of much at that point) with nine children and no legitimate grandchild. The race was on to see who could spawn a king for the empire.Number One son, George IV, had a miserable relationship with his wife, so there were no more kids coming there. Number Two son, Frederick, had a truly miserable relationship with his wife and they had no children. Number Three son, William, who would succeed George IV, was obviously fertile; he had a long-term mistress with whom he fathered 10 children. But that relationship was a bit on the rocks, and the kingdom needed an heir, so William went searching for a young bride. He found one in Adelaide.
As others in similar circumstances have found, Adelaide had but one duty: to have children. And she got pregnant plenty of times. A premature birth and quick death of the child in early 1819. Another pregnancy and miscarriage later in 1819. A daughter born in 1820, who then died just three months later. Stillborn twins in 1822. Truly a tragic story; ultimately she had no surviving children though she became a highly sympathetic figure in Britain at the time. With William & Adelaide ultimately unable to provide the kingdom with an heir, it fell to Number Four son, Edward, who died before William but had successfully sired one legitimate child, a daughter they named Victoria. And thus history was made.
So that’s Adelaide’s story. The modern city isn’t quite so sad. It was HOT, though, with daytime temperatures up over 100 degrees. Two of our days we spent with Pip & her family, but one day I went down to the local beach where sitting on the sand in the sun was insanely hot. For a while I moved up into the shade of some trees where I saw people out on their daily runs. Seemed a little insane to me.
And thus ends our time in Adelaide. We have one more stop in Australia, Perth way out west, before we move on to Bali. If this heat continues we’ll be plenty ready to leave.