(September 29, 2020 – written by Dave)
We’ve had a lovely relaxing day in the Hunter Valley. We started early, the relaxing part at least. The deck at the hostel, sitting in sun overlooking the vineyards, got a good workout. The hostel is much less than half full so there was no rush in the kitchen and no hurry getting our table cleaned up. After brekkie, we both managed to sneak in short naps out in the hammocks that have been strategically placed right on the edge of the creek that rambles through the vines. It was a pity that one of us had to get up to check our clothes drying on the line.
For lunch we hopped on the bikes and rode 5k out to Petersons House for a lovely vineyard side lunch. They were booked out for formal seating but it worked out better for us sitting on the tables in their big lawn. I don’t think the folks in the restaurant proper would have appreciated our sweaty bodies, nor the clomping of our cycling shoes. Petersons is famous for their sparking but we managed to find a nice red from their sister vineyard called Lambloch. Being sensible adults, we didn’t finish off the full bottle until we got back to the YHA – safety before wine as they say.
Back at the hostel good news, Roman has arrived. He caught the train out to Newcastle and rode up this afternoon. We are sitting on the YHA deck now enjoying the rest of the wine. There is a well known brewery just 800 metres from the YHA. It was closed last time Roman was up. And somehow Nancy and I missed it when we were here with Pete and Inge back in February. So tonight we are heading there to finally tick that one off the bucket list (can a brewery be on one’s bucket list? Of course it can, it’s one’s own bucket list after all…)
Tomorrow we head out through the Hunter Valley to Denman. The first half the ride is in the vines, the second half the ride is in the mines. The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region but it is also Australia’s oldest coal region. The lower Hunter is mostly wines. The upper Hunter is mostly mines. As an interesting side note, we learned yesterday that apparently many of the mines have shut down for this week and next – the NSW school holidays. Turns out that the Chinese aren’t buying as much coal as they used to so why not give the planet a break – good result in my mind. It’s not clear if the buying pause is caused by Covid or general trade deal argy bargy. For fear of censorship on this blog, I’ll not take this discussion further.
We’re off now for the brewery – get those bucket list checkers ready!