ANZAC Day At The Seaside

Thur. 25th April 2019

Today's message - At the pier in Brighton, SAToday is ANZAC (Australia & New Zealand Army Corps) day and it is the equivalent of our Remembrance Sunday – though possibly even better marked. It is a Bank Holiday here and there are parades and ceremonies in pretty much every town. The streets are crowded with soldiers, veterans and even the relatives of former soldiers wearing their parents’ medals (on the right side of chest if they are not your medals). The day is the anniversary of the start of the First World War campaign at Gallipoli and traditionally the ceremonies kick off at 6am local time (all across the country and in Gallipoli) at the war memorial. (Right around the time I eventually got back to sleep after having woken around at 2am – 5:30pm, UK time – and spent 3 or 4 hours trying to get back to sleep. The 8½ hour time difference between UK & Adelaide is proving to be a bit of a killer, and I don’t suppose that being older makes it any easier to cope with).

Getting ready for paradeWhen we did surface and head back to our new favourite breakfast café, the streets were much busier and the café was full of folk who’d been to the earlier ceremony and were fuelling up before either participating or spectating in the parades to come. Given that the city centre is likely to be busy and many of the shops and museums closed, we decided to head out of town and meet up with our friend Myf (she who gave us many of the ideas for our itinerary on this trip). It is a complete coincidence that Myf is here as we last saw her in Melbourne on our RTW trip (six years ago). Since then she has retired, come back to the UK but then been persuaded to come out of retirement for a 1-year contract working for South Australian schools.

The marina at GlenelgShe is staying in the nearby town of Glenelg which is a seaside resort / suburb ½ an hour’s tram ride from the city centre. There is lots of news to catch up on (on both sides) and her fabulous apartment with views out over the beach from one side and the marina on the other is a great place just to sit and chat. Better yet, in the apartment complex there are some good seafood restaurants and so we are able to yak away over a shared seafood platter and a bottle of Aussie Sauvignon Blanc. Very civilized.

Under the jetty at GlenelgThere isn’t a lot to see in Glenelg other than the sandy beach, the long but very plain jetty (pier) with a memorial at the entrance, and a display in the old Town Hall building on the damage done to beach and pier in various storms over the years. Looking at the old photos reminds of similar exhibits on the same subject in coastal towns around Norfolk and Suffolk. After enjoying our lunch, we feel the need for a bit of exercise not least because we are a long way from hitting step target for the day, and so, we decide to press on and walk down the coast to the neighbouring town of Brighton (not that one!). It takes us about an hour and a half at a leisurely pace chatting and admiring the long beach stretching away on one side and the beachfront houses on the other. There seems to be a bit of a property boom happening with lots of ‘For Sale’ signs and much building work as older, smaller properties are being demolished to make way for newer, shinier houses.

Memorial to Glenelg foundingBrighton seems to be much the same as Glenelg but a little smaller. It is dominated by its jetty (again very plain by UK pier standards, but sort of understandable if they keep being washed away in storms). Again, in front of the jetty is a war memorial that is impressively decked out. The ‘Lest we forget’ message is exactly the same as back home but, in place of poppies, rosemary is grown and displayed as an act of remembrance. By the time we get to Brighton, there’s been a distinct change in the weather with the wind getting up, the clouds rolling over and what looks to be rain out to sea. Given the weather (and over-achievement of step target) we opt for a taxi back to Glenelg – getting back just before sunset. We spend a little time on Myf’s balcony looking at the setting sun peering through gaps in the clouds and wondering whether it will be able shine up from underneath the clouds and give us a really spectacular sunset. Sadly, that wasn’t to be though the orange glow on the horizon constantly changed as the clouds shifted and the sun set.

Not quite the spectacular sunset we were hoping forOn getting back to Adelaide, we are tired but not hugely hungry and decide that pizza would fit the bill nicely. And here we make another of the day’s great decisions by going to Amalfi Pizzeria – not just a super atmosphere sitting out on a table by the pavement under a heater (it’s autumn here in Aus) but what is quite possibly the best pizza I’ve ever had. Good texture to the base and packed with tasty toppings including hand / home made salami. Just yummy! Even better, the owner / manager stops by for a chat at the end of the meal and we end up putting the world to rights – but concluding that the lessons and sacrifices being commemorated on ANZAC day are in danger of being forgotten by politicians and people around the world.

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