Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hot Van-on-Bus Action

“Hot Van-on-Bus Action” is the final installment in the three part series:  “Beyond Sydney:  Day Trips & Shit.”  There will not be anymore installments in this particular series, but rest assured I’ll have plenty of other shit to post about.

The Friday before my first day of work marked the final big bit of tourism in Sydney for a while.  Oscar and I took a day trip up to the Hunter Valley, one of the best known wine producing regions in New South Wales and world famous for its Semillon.  We were accompanied by two of my lovely American girls, Karen and Liz, and Liz’s two visiting American friends, Jeff and Rob, and a small van full of other characters.  The day started out with a bang.  Literally.

Our van driver hit a bus.  Great.  What a way to start off a day of wine tasting.  Nobody was even drunk yet!  Ok, it was just the side mirrors, and it only really set us back a few minutes while they exchanged information, but still.  We are all a bit nervous after that, especially because our van driver was… how do I say this… somewhat older than we would have preferred.  Not to be ageist or anything, but the age combined with the incident at the very beginning didn’t really do much to instill confidence.  I mean, have you been to South Florida?  I spent most of my formidable years there and let me tell you:  older drivers are often times quite worrisome.  Like that guy who drove into the post office.  INTO the post office.  And then got mad because the cops wouldn’t let him drive his car home.  No no no.

Plus it was 7am and we were all cranky.  Luckily, our van had those mirrors that fold back, so there wasn’t much damage to our car, but the giant mirror on the poor bus was just dangling helplessly from the side of the vehicle. 

Anyway, moving on, I won’t elaborate too much, but here’s the skinny:  we went to a cheese shop for a cheese tasting (I LOVE CHEESE) and then we went to two wineries - a big winery called Tempus Two and a little winery called Blueberry Hill (I LOVE WINE).  The little winery was a one man shop and I swear this dude should narrate documentaries about winemaking.  He was so complimenting yet modest of his wine and I really wish I had recorded what he said but you seriously need to go here and listen to what he says.  Then we went to lunch at the Blue Tongue Brewery, where we had schnitzel and did a beer tasting (I LOVE BEER).  Then we hit up two more wineries – IronBark Hill and Tintilla Estate – the latter of which had a sassy lady serving us and the former of which told us that they used ethanol in their fortified wine instead of brandy or rum or something.  Big mistake.  That’s the only winery where I didn’t buy anything.  Then we went to a chocolate shop (I LOVE CHOCOLATE) which had another cheese and gelato shop next door (I LOVE GELATO) before we were driven the 2.5 hours back to Sydney.

Ok, but here’s the best part:  we saw kangaroos.  IN THE WILD!!!  Winery #3 had a big field out back and there, waiting for our arrival, was a mob of kangaroos!  A mob is what you call a group of kangaroos, like a school of fish or a pride of lions or a pod of whales or a pack of rats or a shit of small children.  That’s what you call three or more small children, right?  Well of course our whole van ran over to look and take pictures and video of the kangaroos and we missed half of our scheduled time at the winery so I sort of felt bad for the lady running the place, especially when she was super sweet about it.  But then again it was the ethanol winery, so maybe I shouldn’t feel so guilty.  So yeah, here without further ado, are the pictures and of course – video of the kangaroos!

Our group!  From left to right:  Rob, Liz, Jeff, Karen, Me, and Oscar.

Wine sampling and price sheet from Blueberry Hill.

It’s a MOB!

It’s a bit fuzzy, but I’m no professional videographer.  Oscar hopped in front of the camera like a kangaroo at the end, but I was zoomed in too far to get it :(

Oscar with the vineyards at Tintilla Estate in the background.

Well, if you insist…

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