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Ice Sculptor, Aerialists, Mount Lofty, and Hahndorf, Adelaide - Queen Elizabeth Cruise 2020

Giant Chess Set, Queen Elizabeth Cruiseship
Giant Chess Set, Sports Deck.
Our first full day at sea on our Queen Elizabeth Cruise was anxiety inducing. For the first time since, I can't even remember we would have no internet access on our mobile phones for at least 24 hours.

If you're new to TET Life, or this is your first post, I'm blogging about a cruise ship holiday my partner, Enigma, and I went on at the end of January 2020 for eight days.

You may like to continue reading from this point or you might like to start from the beginning, Automobiles, Planes, Buses, Trams, and Boats and then click  Queen Elizabeth Cruise 2020 to get the all the posts, in descending order, of how we got here.

Day 2: Sea Day

Breakfast in Bed, Queen Elizabeth Cruise
Breakfast in bed. It was nice but ultimately we decided 
eating out was a better experience all round.
A 'sea day' is exactly what it sounds like, a day spent entirely on board the ship at sea. All cabins have full room service included so we began our day by ordering breakfast in bed as the ship made its way to Adelaide.

Although the food you can order to your cabin is pretty much the same as what you can get from the various restaurants, I do remember it being a little less special by the time it reached our cabin, with covers over each plate to keep in the heat.

It's not that there was anything wrong with the food. It just wasn't as hot as it would be if it was served to you straight from the kitchen in the restaurants. After that we didn't have anymore of our main meals in our cabin.

Pavilion Pool deck - Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship
Pavilion Pool Deck, looking from the couches
across to the pool and two spas.
The rest of the morning was spent relaxing on the Pavilion Pool deck which has the main swimming pool with two smaller spa pools alongside (each big enough for about four people). Surrounding the pool is plenty of banana lounges that get plenty of sun from the open roof. The rest of the deck down each side is undercover with large outdoor couches.

The Pavillion deck is very popular because it's great for people who love to relax in the pool, and great for those who would rather relax on a couch with a good book. It's also the only pool kids can access so makes for a great family space too.

Day 2 Highlights

Rather than give you a blow by blow account of every moment on the cruise from here on in I'll just point out the highlights of each day. Otherwise you're going to read that we relaxed a lot, and had some of the nicest food we've ever eaten when going out for a meal.

Ice Sculpture

Chef De Partie Catalino
sculpts an eagle from ice.
This day, in the afternoon we were treated to one of the ships chefs, Chef De Partie Catalino, creating an ice sculpture on the Lido Sun Deck (which is like the Pavilion Pool deck but is generally a no kids zone).

You wouldn't expect ice sculpture to be particularly a spectator event but actually it was quite engaging with a female compere explaining the process and running a competition to guess what the final sculpture would be.

Apparently it's common for the sculptor to start out with one idea but end with something different due to mistakes and especially ice sections breaking off. This day didn't disappoint with what started out to be a swan, ending up as an eagle when the neck section broke off.

Aerialists Suzie Q & Toby J.

Evening dinner service is broken up into two sittings, one at 5:45pm, and the second (our sitting) at 8pm. As a result the same show plays twice in the theatre every night so that everyone can have dinner and a theatre show if they feel so inclined.

The late theatre show was at 10pm giving us around 30 minutes to fill after dinner and before the show. Since we went to every theatre show each night we settled into a routine of dinner, then the table/board games area to work on one of several jigsaws that were always on the go for anyone to do, then going to the theatre.

Suzie Q & Toby J. Queen Elizabeth Cruise ship
Suzie Q & Toby J.
Photo: Queen
Elizabeth Programme.
Day 2's show was Aerialists, Suzie Q & Toby J. who you may have seen perform as finalists on Australia's Got Talent. Personally I wasn't familiar with them and, while their aerial work from a single rope hanging from the stage above was impressive, it's not really my thing.

However, it did end up being one of the better shows because the duo had crafted a story around their performance, giving it much more dimension than simply watching them perform their aerial routine.

Day 3 Adelaide, Mount Lofty, and Hahndorf

It did seem a little weird to book a bus tour in our home port of Adelaide to visit places we've both seen but, at the same time, we've probably only visited Mount Lofty and Hahndorf less than a handful of times each as they're still a fair distance away from Gawler.

Our day started with our first breakfast in the Britannia Restaurant. Unlike dinner, you're not assigned a table, you just get whatever table is available, and breakfast is only served on the lower deck of the restaurant.

Again, being so long after the event writing this, I couldn't tell you what I had to eat but it was cooked and I did note that I tried black pudding for the first time ever. I didn't specifically order black pudding it was just included on the plate as part of a selection of food included in the dish.

If you know what black pudding is you may be grossed out just by the thought of it. I wasn't. If you've eaten rare steak you've probably eaten blood less cooked than what's in a black pudding. Anyhow I noted in my journal that black pudding doesn't taste as bad as you would imagine. It actually reminded me of vegan hamburgers (which I had recently tried not long prior to this trip).

Mount Lofty

Mt Lofty Summit Look out.
At 10am we left the ship to get on the tour bus to the  Mount Lofty Summit. Along the way our tour guide, a relatively senior woman, pointed out things of interest as we drove through Adelaide. 

Memorably, she highlighted things that seemed to suggest she may have had several run ins with the Adelaide City Council, probably writing a sternly worded letter or two over the years.

Topics included the council's decision to plant Victorian Box Trees along the median strips (drop leaves all year round and the nuts are like ball bearings to stand on apparently), and her opposition to infill housing amongst all the heritage buildings. She was happy that Adelaide is surrounded by parklands though.

Mount Lofty itself, I believe is the highest peak of the Adelaide Hills. Getting to the top involves driving up a long winding road with steep drop edges, if you go the front way, or a less winding safer road going the backway. I think we went the back way.

I thought I'd written in this blog about my first Mount Lofty experience but I haven't been able to find anything. Unfortunately the bus tour visit was a whirlwind stop, with enough time to visit the toilets, check out the spectacular view, and then maybe a quick whip around the gift shop. 15 minutes in and out.

There is actually a really nice restaurant that's great for lunchtime meals, as well as plenty of historical exhibits, many focussed on the devastating Ash Wednesday bushfires that ripped through the hills in 1983.

Hahndorf

Hahndorf was founded by the Lutherans in 1839, and is still very much a German village in its appearance and architecture. By the time we arrived it was pretty much lunchtime. Since the tour guide gave us only two hours here, Enigma and I decided to first find somewhere for lunch.

Kitchen 2C
Kitchen 2C.
Photo Via Facebook.
Not too far from where the bus dropped us off we came across Kitchen 2C. I'm not entirely sure what drew us in, maybe the eclectic, sort of rustic look of the place, and the wall menu (which was actually a little confusing if I'm honest). 

However the Ploughman's Platter for two we ordered did not disappoint, looking very much like enough for a third ploughman, with a selection of all local produce including, meats, cheeses, vegetables etc, to try. From memory we did actually get through most of it.

Our remaining hour or so was spent walking up and back down the main street, with only enough time to stop in a couple of the shops for a quick browse.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Hahndorf, SA
St. Paul's Lutheran Church,
Hahndorf.

Back to the Boat

By the time we got back to the boat it was 3:30pm, not too long before the boat would again depart. 

It was a perfect day so Enigma took the opportunity to try out the pool and spa's on the Pavilion deck. Out at sea the main pool would often be closed due to the fairly rough waves generated by the ship's movement through the sea. (It's surprising how much of the up and down of the sea you actually do feel on ship this large - though you notice it most walking around).

Cartoon Polar Bear sketch by TET
My cartoon Polar Bears.
I'm not a swimming pool or public spa kind of person so I sat on one of the deck chairs nearby and worked on my designs for a cartoon polar bear character I wanted to team with a cartoon Yeti I designed as a skateboard graphic a few years earlier.

I posted a picture of my bears to my Instagram with just enough time to see it getting a few likes before we lost phone reception, heading back out to sea.

---o ---o--- o---

The rest of our evening was very much like our first evening on the boat. Dinner at the Britannia Restaurant, killing time doing some jigsaws mid ship before heading to the late theatre show performance. 

This particular evening it was Danny Elliot, who we had seen on our first night. He again played every song on a different intrument, though, if memory serves me correctly, he played an entirely new set of songs, and possibly played a few different instruments. I'm certain he didn't perform the exact same show.

Either way, that was the end of day 3. Next post will be days 4 and 5, another 'sea day' followed by my very first ever visit to Hobart, Tasmania.

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