Perth and the
Swan Valley...
Taking a short break from drinking wine.
Claude telling us about the wine.
Near the port in Perth.
February 13, 2008

I have been slacking in a major way on journaling. But I am going to make up for it now.

I got back into Perth on Monday afternoon. As the story always seems to go, I was dropped off at a hostel only to find out there
wasn’t one bed available. I then moved onto the next one. Struck out again. And then I went to the next one that was
recommended only to come across Strike Three. I kept my big bag at one of them and then set my sights on just finding a home
for the night. But since it was still business hours, I actually stopped to get my Japan Rail pass since I was on the street where I
could obtain one. I even got to kill two birds with one stone since the girl working there was sweet enough to search the internet
for a bed for me.
One bed in all of Perth came up. I was forever grateful to her for doing that for me – I wasn’t going to be
choosy about the roof that was going to be over my head. (Note to self: Damn it, Jen. Can you just book ahead next time???) I
continued my productivity by going to the Post Office to send off a CD to my sister. What a roll I was on…

On Tuesday the productivity continued. I had an oh-so-delicious cappuccino before picking up my Japan Rail pass. Then the
sweet Japanese girl offered me a good amount of suggestions of places I should visit in Japan. I can’t wait to go! It’s going to be
a bit of a whirlwind but that shouldn’t be much of a problem since I can hopefully leave my big bag at Dave and Masayo’s.

I also went to a travel agency and booked some stuff for my remaining time in Australia. I would have loved to spend days in
Margaret River – but I had a big hunch that it wouldn’t have the same feeling there being by myself as it would if I was with
friends. It’s known for food and wine – but food and wine is always better when done with others. So I opted for a one-day wine
tour to the Swan Valley and then a ‘South-West Australia’ tour that stops in Margaret River but covers a scope of this chunk of
Western Australia. I felt good about this.

After doing this, I took the free network of CAT buses around the city to get to and from different places. A free bus is always
appreciated by me. I stopped at the Swan’s Bells near the ferries at Swan River and then put myself in a bit more air-
conditioned comfort to get to the train station.

I took the train a few stops to the nice suburb of Subiaco. I could have walked…but why when it is this hot outside? ‘Subi’ was
great – so many boutiques. I even bought a bracelet that I loved the minute I saw it. Now it was time to take a train to go to
West Leederville – where Jo lives – to attend her friend’s birthday party. But it was more than just that – it was a sex toy
party in honor of her friend’s birthday. But when Jo got home there was some bad news – the sex toy lady got in a car accident
and broke her arm (I guess this would make some of the demonstrations difficult?) and so the sex toy party would no longer be.
It was fun hanging out with Sarah and Rose while I was there. Rose had just booked a trip to Ayers Rock but Sarah seemed
more than down to do the wine trip I had booked. The plan was that she would meet me near my hostel and we would hope
there was room on the bus.

And now today is Wednesday. And what a wonderful Wednesday it was. I guess any Wednesday that is solely devoted to wine
isn’t going to disappoint. And it worked out that Sarah coming along was no problem at all. Claude – the owner of the company
– was as sweet and funny as could be. And the itinerary of the day couldn’t be better.

Our first stop was one of the larger wineries of the area called Sandalford Wines. It was a nice tasting that already got me
started with an early buzz (I guess that’s what happens when they trust people to do their own pourings). I have to mention
that their Chardonnay was quite a nice one. The next winery was one of my favorite stops – Lancaster Wines. Not only did we
have some great wines to try but they also had a large cheese platter set up for us to do some cheese tasting. Highest marks go
to the creamy cheddar that literally melted in our mouths. The next stop was Windy Creek – the wines that agreed to me the
most here were the ports. I ended up buying one because they also happened to be quite a steal ($12 Australian dollars!). I don’
t think it really needs to be said that the day was going very, very well. Now it was time for lunch at Sittello…which also
happened to be a winery. Our arms were heavily twisted to do a wine tasting before sitting down to a lunch consisting of
platters of cheeses, sausages, fish, samosas, vegetables, different dips, Turkish bread, fresh watermelon and figs. And then it
was back to the tasting room to try some of the dessert wines. It was finally time for the last winery – for the life of me I can’t
remember the name right now. I think it was something Heford Glen. Yes! That was it! Wow, I impress myself sometimes. I
also remember they had an excellent Chardonnay. Yummy.

Then the day would only continue to get better as our next stop was a chocolate company. We had as many tastes of white
chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate at our disposal. And we also got our pick of a truffle and Claude was passing a bag
around of chocolate covered caramels for us. I resisted buying anything mostly because it was a bit pricey. But no worries as I
more than took advantage of the free samples and was actually feeling a bit ‘chocolate-ed out’ by the time we left (I didn’t
really know it was possible but it happened).

And our tour didn’t end there. Then we went next door to a brewery where we got to have our choice of beer and they brought
over a plate of crisps, cheeses and sausages.

And this would officially wrap up our oh-so-tasty day in the Swan Valley. If only I had time to do it all over again!

I just got done taking my requisite post-wine tasting nap. I always need one of these after a day of tasting. Now it’s time to pack
up my stuff that I’m taking with me for the next few days – getting picked up really early so it’s best to deal with this now.
Back to Australia.