Yeah, another day of touring. After this, I'd like to not get on a bus for a good while. Picked up at the hotel; full bus two and a half hour ride up to the Hunter Valley. Raining pretty hard, but out guide/driver is a pro. Within a few minutes of getting on the bus, I regret it a little.
There is a group of about 8 people touring together and it really doesn't matter what country they are from because I am not into perpetuating stereotypes and frankly, they could have been from anywhere. But it was 8 AM and they were passing around a bottle of Jameson. And they finished it on the drive up there. And they were loud and rude and unpleasant. It didn't matter that they were speaking a language I did not understand. I wanted to beam myself out of there. I focused on my book on the way up, which usually makes me car sick, but I was willing to risk it so that the really drink guy stopped introducing himself to me as "Bond, James Bond". I'm sure he thought he was really cute. the third time he did it, the driver had to ask him to leave me alone. Gawd. Yeah, so two and a half hours of that.
So we end up stopping off at several wineries, have lunch, wander around a bit, etc. Here's a picture of me at Iron Gate:
So I guess that the region specializes in Semillon, Shiraz and something called Verdilho, which is usually blended with other grapes, but is bottled by itself here. I have to admit that I don't care for Semillon. Not a big fan of pear or citrus in wine. What I notice is that the wines here are pretty dry and high acid, which I generally like. I didn't really have anything that I couldn't live without taking home with me but I had some interesting dessert wines (usually so not my style) at Hungerford Hills that I decide to take home with me. It was really nice to just see the scenery out there (and I met a nice mother and daughter from Toronto that I spent the day with).
The loud people bought and chugged a bottle of muscat in about 4 minutes and then proceeded to drink another whole bottle of Jameson on the way home. At that point, I wished I was anywhere but in that bus. Again, I pulled out the book and tried to appear engrossed, versus just grossed out. Needless to say, although the experience off the bus was good, I was happy to just order room service (it's not like I needed any more wine).
And that's that for day ten. One more to go: my "free day". Good weather unlikely. Shopping and eating. Probably won't make it to Bondi Beach given the rain.