Thursday, May 29, 2008

Blue Heaven

Rach had a surprise organised for me and had told me not to organise anything for the Sunday night that I was in Adelaide after the Enduro. I remembered her telling me about a fantastic little place near Goolwa (60km South of Adelaide) where she had shared lunch with the owners of a flower farm. They ran a bed and breakfast style getaway with two small cottages, decorated with an extensive range of artefacts and choice décor.

We eventually arrived at Blue Heaven after picking up a tourist map at breakfast in Hahndorf. I was immediately taken back by the beauty of the driveway alone, but the best was still to come.
Brian greeted us on his four-wheeled motorbike, in the middle of his daily work on the farm. We immediately felt welcome and as he showed us through the cottage I couldn’t help but think he was letting us live in his very own house for the duration of the stay, as the place was packed with every comfort, art and piece of furniture found in a private home.

Around every corner I was surprised by the attention to detail and amazing combinations of cultures and décor, Brian and Ulrich were truly gifted in their ability to create something like this in a glorified tin shed! I was also slightly alarmed at the size of the house as I was sure we must be sharing with someone else, it was all too good to be true.

The abundance of lamp light created a homely feeling and the music streaming from one of the two stereos was soothing and so similar to our music taste that it was as if they had selected it just for us.
Then, as quickly as he arrived, Brian was gone again; leaving us to our own devices for the next 24 hours.
Our initial exploration of the house had us in constant amazement; I’d say, ‘Hey Rach, look at this!’ Then Rach would do the same until we realised that we’d be busy all night if we kept on the way we were, it was time to dig into the decanter of port positioned pride of place on the bar.

The fully stocked fridge had a platter of food ready for us and we retired to one of the porches to enjoy some of the cleanskin red wine we found in the kitchen, while looking over the farmland that flowed all the way to the sea.

In the space of an hour I felt like I was in my own holiday shack, perched on the side of hill overlooking my very own patch of dirt and my three Alpacas. This was a true escape.

Late we explored the swimming hole and lay on the side of a hill enjoying the last of the sun’s rays and the serenity.

We ventured into Goolwa for dinner, trying to find a restaurant Rach’s boss had called Thistles, we eventually found it, although alternatively called The Whistlestop, close! It was closed till six so we went for a walk along the pier and ran into Brian and Ulrich, they invited us to sit and enjoy a wine with the owners of the café.

Brian warned us that the owners were shutting up shop and would have to leave in a few minutes in order to open their restaurant, The Whistlestop. We enjoyed some colourful conversation and our wine before we organised to be at the restaurant just after six, in order to give them some time to get ready.

Dinner was amazing, and the venue just as beautiful as our holiday house. The added bonus was the personalised service.

We then headed back to Blue Heaven and arrived at the front door to the sound of music coming from within and mood lighting streaming through the pulled curtains. That’s service!
We enjoyed a hot bath in the deep tub and finished off what was left of the port.

I swear there were at least a hundred hidden chocolates throughout the house and as we roamed we found ourselves unexpected gorging on the sweet surprises.
Then it was movie time and we began watching The Beach on the screen in the main room, before we retired to bed and watched a bit more from the four post wooden bed.
The night-time silence was broken by the sound of song birds in the morning and clear blue skies. I was eager to get started on devouring a breakfast of bacon, eggs, tomatoes and sausages, fruit, toast and coffee.

I was getting quite attached to the gown and slippers that were provided and wasn’t looking forward to returning them, or even removing them for the drive home.
Another couple of hours were spent on the balcony admiring the view and readying ourselves for departure. It was a short stay but we honestly felt completely at home from the time of our arrival, making our stay feel like a few days.

Brian and Ulrich had invited us for a farewell drink in there home, where we were greeted by their huge and affectionate bear of a dog. As was expected their home was equally as interesting as the two units; their living room, adorned with rugs and leather couches, overlooked a garden full of native birds and the valley all the way to the ocean. As they explained the full time work involved in the upkeep of the business and property I couldn’t help but feel envious of their position in life. There’s something to be said for being your own boss, living in a spectacularly beautiful and peaceful region and maintaining a passion for hospitality and design/art.

Now to plan my next trip to Adelaide so that Rach can surprise me again with another visit to Blue Heaven.