Week 9: Hahndorf, South Australia

Hahndorf South Australia.

Hahndorf is a small, quaint little town with a huge German influence. The architectural style is simply beautiful with chalets, tudor homes and turn of the century German style cottages. It is nestled in the hills of Adelaide surrounded by vineyards and cellar doors on the outskirts of town. It’s as if you stepped out of Oz for just a wee bit and plopped yourself in a European country like …Swiss or Germany. Having never been to either of those places…yet ;)….for me, it’s as if I am walking down the streets of Vail, but on a much smaller scale. We are here at a time where it’s not so good to be in a tent..brrrr…but perfect weather for knitted beanies, ugh boots, woolly jumpers, knitted gloves and scarves. It is simply a magical transformation with the deciduous trees ripening into warm gold, russet autumn foliage; The log fires crackling in the old cottages while you sit with hot chocolate, glass of wine, or 25 beers on tap from lagers to ciders. As you walk down Main Street, there’s fresh warm apple strudels, hot German pretzels and foot long German hotdogs with sour kraut on every corner. The fall fruit is ready for picking with “you pick” fields of fresh sweet strawberries (in this country strawberries are ready in the fall) and apples ready for harvest. It is a very tourist town with handmade everything from soap shop, puppet shop, lollie shop, jewellery and fudge shop. There’s very little “import” here, but rather keeping it local with either fresh from the farm or handmade.

We decided to “whoop it up” and stay in “Hahndor Resort.” For $50.00 a night, we had to try it. I’ve never stayed in a “Resort style” campground, but wowzer…this place is on the edge of town and unbelievably nice: clean modern toilets, swanky kitchen for the guests, business centre, family bathrooms, well kept lots with a bistro if you didn’t feel like cooking or leaving the premises.

All of our maintenance and purchases for Troopy is in Adelaide or back at Murray Bridge, but we liked Hahndorf so much we decided to bunker-down for a week or two in Hahndorf while we waited for parts, a kitchen to be built and roller drawers for Troopy. While in the Resort we met another family with 3 kids traveling around Australia. The girls become instant friends and later find out ….ironically…the 8 year old, Priya, is Stella’s CCCCClllllassmate!!! How bizarre???!! They attend the same school, Students of Isolated Distance Education-S.I.D.E, same grade, and they have the ssssame teacher with the ssssame syllabus–sweet! This stunned both families as it’s pretty rare to meet a classmate of your year because some of these children aren’t even in the country and if they are traveling around Australia…the chance of being at the same place at the same time is pretty darn slim.

After speaking to Mum, Elisha, I ask her how it was going with school? Her first response….”hard…very hard…we are very behind.” I let out a deep breath of relief having the same response. The next day, I offered to teach both girls at the same time.

Laughs, smiles and tons of fun was finally had by both students and teacher…bye-bye tears and grumpiness…hello friend in class & happy classroom! I teach the girls daily while Elisha focuses on teaching her other two kiddos. Divide and concur method is working wonders; we are cruising through the syllabus ….and mind you…much, much more happily!

We stayed 10 days in Hahndorf and fought the rainy and cold weather. When it rained, we headed for a coffee shop to work and teach school. The girls loved going to a coffee shop as during break time they would get $2.00 each to wander the quaint streets of Hahndorf and find something to spend their pocket money on…usually it was the lollie shop! During morning tea they got to order from the menu and split a hot chocolate and a muffin or slice of their choice. They worked really hard together and put in some long hours catching up on their school work. They are year 3 which is standardised testing year, NAPLAN, (I just barfed a little in my mouth typing that word…I hate the pressures standardised testing puts on a curriculum, school and students) so it’s their first go at understanding time constraints, bubble testing, and essay writing (yuk). The coffee shop and 2 bucks to wander are great rewards for their hardworking, year 3, brains.

Through the 10 days, we really got to know Elisha and her family. We are like minded people doing like minded things. Crazy they live where we love to go – down south at Dunsborough just 3 hours from Perth. Elisha’s husband, Brendon, is working on the road too and is fly-in-fly-out to the mines, so we didn’t get to meet him unfortunately. Geoff is the first to realise the crossovers with Elisha and his wife….so much so he says to both of us…. “do you realise how much you two have in common and are alike??? As each day passes, we start to realise our similarities and just have some great all round, palling around fun. Our 4 kids hang out constantly from wake up to sundown (well 3 really as poor Ol’ Will got the shaft from the 3 girls.) Double sleepovers, dinners, outings and such! We get into a routine whereby I teach the girls and then Elisha has dinner waiting for us when we all return. Ginger, 4 year old, let’s it be known that she dislikes the routine as she has to patiently wait til after the girl’s school for some girl time and doesn’t get to go to the coffee shops. We promise to bring her and Will a treat back to help ease the pain, but it doesn’t work…Elisha has to pull Ginger away kicking and screaming…Poor thing! Will on the other hand…not bothered and thinks a treat is a great bonus. However, when we return, Ginger explodes out that door to the girls and asks about her treat. All is good in the 4 year old’s world again!

We couldn’t get all the work done on Troopy as we needed, so we decide to head north for some warmer weather. 1-2C degrees is way too cold in a tent! We will stop heading East. We decided to skip the lower South-East Corner of Australia for some warmer weather, catch it when we head to Tasmania for Christmas, and boot scoot to the Sunshine State for some warm weather. Brisbane ….here we come! ☀️

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