Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Initial & Abbreviated Observations from Australia

Sydney: the tunnel system is incredible...never seen so many tunnels for cars as well as trains. But traffic is also a nightmare partly because road signage is terrible. Everyone also uses navigational devices....so they are driving and reading their devices! But, the buildings are really interesting, beautiful hiking trails in the city along the many shorelines, and people are very friendly.
Country driving: terrible signage!...great roads but.....one comment by local is that since everyone is using GPS devices, the government saves money by limiting spending on road/street signs.
Driving in the Barossa Valley wine country: beautiful, fabulous wines, but....limited signs to towns and wineries, especially driving in from the south. Driving in the McClaren Vale wine country: great signs!
Australian roads are remotely monitored for speeding...and they are very serious about this. Lots of rules and taxes in Australia, making the cost of living here very high, for locals and tourists alike.
Adelaide and Canberra...great parks, very heavy looking public buildings. The houses in town and country are really pleasing to the eye and reflect the country's settler and colonial history.
Museums and art galleries: really excellent...The Migration Museum (an educational experience for all to understand the rich variety of in migrants, their experiences and influence in this country, as well as the effects of these in migrants on the Aboriginal Peoples already here), the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Museum of South Australia in Adelaide are well worth hours of browsing. The National Glass Museum in Wagga Wagga as well as the Contemporary Art Gallery there are fabulous, unexpected in a town of several thousand in the middle of nowhere.
Wineries: in general, the wineries have not succumbed to the ostentatious inclinations of many Oregon, California, and a few Washington wineries of building neo-Tuscan villas: the tasting rooms suit the landscape and reflect the history of the area, landscapes, and materials found locally.

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