Heading for Hahndorf
Updated: Nov 14, 2018
22 Mar 2009
Early start this morning – we’re on the road before sunrise (groan) and driving like a bat out of hell for Hahndorf, just east of Adelaide. Google maps has this trip as just shy of 700km (not the heart-stopping 16,100km it originally returned when it thought I was trying to make it to Hahndorf, Germany).
Our original plan was to do this in two days and stop off at some appealing country accommodation along the way. But, as it turns out, there are none to be had, so we’re going for it. Google says this should take 9 hours – pah!
This is dead-flat-dead-straight road territory. Quite hypnotising really – the only thing slowing you down is the heat-warped road surface that makes anything over 130 km/h a bit of a bumpy ride. Overtaking is actually a little more interesting than you would imagine – since the road itself is almost totally featureless, it’s hard to see any oncoming traffic from the heat haze. On the upside, there is no oncoming traffic – we drive for 20 mins or more before seeing another car.
The monotony of the road is briefly alleviated by a pair of eagles feeding off some random road-kill. We’re pretty sure they were Wedge-tailed Eagles, as the picture right clearly shows (sadly, no zoom lens on the iPhone). You’ll have to take our word for it that they were huge and magnificent.
We eventually make it to the Victoria / South Australia boarder and stop for lunch about 50 kms past it at the somewhat optimistically named Bordertown. The place is full of bikers (the manual variety), which is quite surprising since we’re still a long way from anywhere – explains why they’re all looking so flushed. I have possibly one of the worse sandwiches of my life. We move on.
Unlike the USA, roadside billboards seem to be prohibited along the main highways. Therefore, the RTA (the Aussie roads authority) have taken it upon themselves to relieve the rolling monotony. In these parts, they appear to be currently obsessed with the possibility of you falling asleep at the wheel (admitted a very real possibility). Every so often there are signs to exhorting you to Powernap now!! (What, right now? Shouldn’t I pull over first?). Apparently Powernaps are good, but Microsleeps are bad. After a while they tire of the explicit and start to wax-lyrical with gems like “dozy drivers die”. It’s interesting the extent to which Aussie slang and colloquialisms are taken as red by the authorities; God help you if you’re not a native English speaker, you’d really struggle to make sense of some of this stuff.
We spend the night in Hahndorf, a little slice of Germany just east of Adelaide. If lederhosen, bratwurst and real German beer are your thing, this it the place for you. On a balmy Sunday afternoon, it appears to be the thing for a multitude of rather overweight tourists wandering up and down the street, with various Deutschland-knickknacks and hotdogs in hand. We retire to our hotel for a nice cuppa and a brief, but well deserved Powernap (taking one now!!).
Later, once the day trippers have loaded back onto their buses, we venture out. Absent the hoards, it’s actually quite an appealing, picturesque town. Bratwurst, wasn’t our thing, so we try our luck at one of the very few non-German places to eat and luck out with a very enjoyable Chinese dinner. However, good German beer is my thing, we round out the evening with a couple of mugs of that.