Sunday, January 14, 2007

Penola, Pathaway and Morambo Creek Winery

Dec 29 & 30 - We packed up the 2 cars and camper and headed out to spend the night with the Sue and Andrew (parents to Maddie 3 and Angus 5). They own a ranch/farm/winery about an hour & a half north of Mount Gambier deep in Australia wine country.

We piddled around all morning, trying to wear the kids out so that they'd sleep on the drive up. We stopped for lunch in this VERY cute little town called Penola. It was an old old town (200 yrs old?) and had a cute main street with an old fashion candy shop, antique stores and wine cellars. After wandering aimlessly for a little bit, we found ourselves in one of the wine cellars (go figure). These are the store fronts to the local wineries. You can taste the wine, eat crusty bread and buy kitchen supplies that would make William Sonoma jealous. After trying desperately to prevent my kids from breaking something, the owner brought in his brand new beagle puppy. Billy was smitten. The kids spent 30 minutes playing with this puppy and Billy was in heaven. It also gave Tom and I a chance to taste the local wine. Yum! God was watching over us again and we escaped without as much as a mark on anything.

After a picnic lunch in the park, we were back on the road. We arrived at Sue and Andrews about 3:00 and the kids proceeded to play like they had known each other for years. The best part about it was, Maddie and Angus were also born in Korea. So.. we all have a ton in common.

The ranch raises cattle and sheep, grows a variety of grains (wheat, canola, beans) and most importantly grapes for wine. The grapes they grow are part of Morambo Creek and Jip Jip Rock wineries. They had BOXES of wine sitting around the house. As you can imagine, Tom and I were in awe. The wines are really great. The have a fabulous Shriaz as well as a very tasty Chardonnay and if you can find some at your local shop it is worth it. Otherwise request them to put it in stock, Andrew and Susan would be grateful.

It was harvest season so the boys went down to see the combines and tractors. We could hardly pull them away. Jimmy even got to help by riding shot gun in the combine. After a pretty unbelievable sunset, dinner was meat/chicken on the "barbie", wine and the most unbelievable dessert "pav" (pavlovia). Its a spun sugar egg white cake topped with whip cream and 5 different types of berries. Tom declared it the "best dish" he had had in 5 months and Kay wouldn't stop eating the berries. All in all, a perfect afternoon.

The Bangalore 5 called it a night and retired to our camper. It was the best. We were in the country... the cool night air... sleeping in sleeping bags... total quiet. There were even little glow in the dark stars on the ceiling of the camper so that when you turned off the flashlight it glowed in the dark. The kids were TOTALLY impressed with this part. Billy kept popping his head up next to mine and say "hi mommy" "hi mommy" "hi mommy" until he passed out.

The next day we took a tour of the grape fields, the wheat fields and took the kids 4 wheeling. They "picked" eggs from the chicken coop and jumped on the trampoline. We lunched on a Plough mans lunch (cheeses, meats, breads, chutneys, pickles, mustard's, fresh veggies .. you know, my favorite lunch) and then tried to rally the kids for pictures. This did not work so well. Like dogs that can tell when they are going to the vet , they could sense that we were leaving, they were tired and all very uncooperative. After 3-4 different tantrums that ran through 3 different families, we gave up all reason and bribed them with ice pops (or icy poles as they are called there). This finally calmed everyone down enough for some group photos. The only draw back is that each kid has one sticking out of their mouths in all the pictures. At least they were quiet.

We packed up all the kids and once again, they were all asleep before we hit the end of the driveway.