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Shades of Adelaide

Shades of Adelaide

If I could take home one thing from Adelaide it would be its colours. Those earthly tones like terracotta rooftops that spring out of the trees, and the nuances of the deep red and burgundy fallen leaves that pave the path to the intense orange and lemon tones in the background, are a rare find in tropical QLD.

The shades are the perfect backdrop to the sandstone buildings and gracious character homes all around Adelaide. As you enter the Adelaide hills, things start to get really characteristic and interesting.

Whether your looking for a wing of a plane or a stop sign, you’ll find it for sale in Hahndorf. Full of character that takes you back in time when things weren’t just things and weren’t disposed of so thoughtlessly, now they all live to tell a story in Hahndorf.

And what is there not to love in these yellow and mustard tones.

From Adelaide botanical gardens to Maggie Beer’s farm, and across to the wineries, your taste buds are continually challenged with local produce. With the last stop being at the chocolate factory, I couldn’t have ended my Art therapy training week in a better way.

The Wineries

My weeklong stay in Adelaide for my Art Therapy course and accreditation started with a few hurdles. I rushed out of work and headed for the airport to find my flight had been cancelled. A kind floor assistant told me I could have a cab voucher for the inconvenience, the second told me they could get me on a plane in the morning, which meant I would miss part of the first day of training; crucial in a workshop where the first part is about bonding. The third assistant at the counter assured me she would file the paperwork for a refund, but my only option now was to find and purchase another ticket with a different airline.

I finally found a flight that was close to boarding. Anxiously waiting in the long security lines, I only managed to relax when I fastened my seatbelt in the cab that was heading to the Adabco boutique hotel. But I had relaxed too soon, I entered my room to find it smelt of smoke, bundles of dust near the bedside table, food crumbs on the carpet and hair and urine around the toilet. I chose that hotel because I wanted a boutique experience in an old character building.

The hotel staff was very kind, but no other rooms were available. Already late in the evening, I had no choice but to spend an uncomfortable and wakeful night in a smelly and dusty room, and when the heating went on it just increased the smoky smell.

Overall, the hotel is gracious and full of character especially if you are travelling with others as it has great kitchen facilities and quaint communal tv and sitting areas. The rooms are large, and the décor is pleasant, but with one flaw in my opinion, cleanliness, hygiene, and air quality. These things may not bother some at all, if you’re not pedantic then give it a try as the rest of the hotel did not reflect my room; maybe my room was not the norm but rather a mishap in staff management, nevertheless the gracious hotel with helpful and polite staff, did not deliver the feel-good experience a traveller wishes to take home with them.

The morning after, as I made my way to the Hilton where my Art Therapy training was held, a made some phone calls to find a more suitable accommodation. I turned the corner and found myself immersed in the smell of freshly baked bread, coffee and croissants; I had entered the ‘Adelaide Central Markets’. Everything looked divine, the diversity in the local produce was eye catching, and the handmade things to purchase were tempting. I settled for a croissant and cappuccino, with cocoa sprinkled around the rim and handle of the cup, bit messy and sticky but nevertheless yummy. Unfortunately, it was time to leave the bliss and face the day, I was determined to put all my worries behind me for the morning’s program.

During my short lunch break as I was rushing to the Ibis hotel to see if they had a room available, I walked past HAIGHS Chocolates, which was dangerously placed right next to the Ibis. Should they confirm again they had no rooms, I would have some comfort waiting for me on the way out!!

Ten minutes after, I left the Ibis and entered HAIGHS. It was not to indulge in the cocoa smell, or to bury myself in grief, I entered with a sense of gratitude looking for the perfect chocolate for the wonderful and thoughtful girl behind the Ibis reception desk. She continued telling me she was only doing her job, but she did more than her job. She managed to move things around to accommodate me for seven days, giving me an even better rate than the other hotel. She was doing more than her job when she told me she found me a quiet room so I could have a restful sleep. I had not requested it, but she imagined the night I had passed.

As I looked around the shop, I remembered all my past Vodafone clients at Rome international airport that did the same thing to me and bought me chocolates from the chocolate shop next door—luckily every airport has a chocolate shop! When I helped them set up their sim card in their new budget flip phone and explained how it worked and added some tips and tricks about surviving in Rome, I was only doing my job, but to them it obviously meant something more. I gave them the possibility to immediately call and check in on the family, and I gave them one less burden to think about. I had set them up to enjoy their Roman holiday, just as the Ibis receptionist had done with me, so I could enjoy my weeklong training, without burdens and worries, in a quiet and clean hotel. It was priceless.

You can market and advertise your service with fancy and costly ads, but it’s the kindness and professionality, and above all, the empathy of your staff that allows them to connect with clients and deliver a tailored service for the need of the person they have in front. That’s what makes your staff stand out, and you, stand out above your competitors. As a past graduate recruiter for the Queensland government, I’ve always been guided by my intuition in hiring staff. If you want your staff to deliver an experience rather than just a service, then you will have to dig deeper than just technical skills.

I ended my stay in Adelaide on a high note when I entered the OmMade-Meet the Maker collaboration store in Rundle mall. I absolutely love this concept. The shop represents 32 small family owned creative businesses. Each one has a space in the shop to showcase and sell their product, and with so many creatives participating, they only need to cover one shift a month and sell in the shop.

I love the fact that it is Australian made and owned, and that it supports small businesses. These creative entrepreneurs share the load of owning a business, go through the trials together, but also have each other’s support as retail faces challenging times. Every city and town should have one as it is a fine example of community spirit and collaboration.

That day I was lucky to speak to Rachel as she presented her ‘Primrose Hill Set’ soy scented candles. She walked me through the process of making scented candles as she explained the months of research and endless experiments it takes to get the perfect balanced scent. She offered me a little bunch of Californian white sage to burn around the house to clear energy, thing I’ve never done, so that will be fun. I bought some bath salts for my new cottage spa retreat and one of her scented candles. I was so looking forward to my first bath in the new house.

We Stopped to Smell the Roses

Not the roses in Adelaide’s botanical gardens, but those at the Hilton. As I entered the first floor of the Hilton every morning for my training, I was greeted with immense beauty. Emma Hack’s collection of body artworks was the best way to start the morning. Sensual, evocative, but subtle and natural at the same time, it was the perfect backdrop for our art therapy training as we paired off in the foyers to discuss psychology and the subconscious mind.

The last time I looked at that foyer and her artwork I was holding my Art Therapy Diploma from the College of Clinical and Educational Art Therapy. What an intense week of training, working on blogs and preparing for my Brisbane classes till late at night, but I felt strong, proud and gracious; just like the women in the artwork.

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