Australia 16 May: Strathalbyn, SA - Adelaide, SA

In the Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills is one of the most beautiful and hospitable regions in Australia. Starting from Strathalbyn, we ran through farmland, native bushland and small communities ...

... on a cool, sunny, glorious morning.

... into Mt Barker.

Our first engagement this morning was a friendly meeting in 'Keith Stephenson Park' where we were greeted by the Deputy Mayor of Mt Barker, Cr Trevor Corbell, representing the Mayor, accompanied by Cr Ian Ferguson.

Cr Corbell received a letter from the ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher and handed us a reply to be taken back to Canberra at the conclusion of the Run in August. Cr Corbell, who lived in Canberra for 35 years, remembers
when Katy Gallagher used to come to his house to work on university assignments with his son who, as it happens, is Simon Corbell – now ACT's Attorney General.

On our way we visit schools most of the time, however, in Hahndorf we were invited to Hahndorf Residential Care Services for elderly people.

Salil gave a moving speech thanking the older generation for their contribution to our society and for paving the road for us to reap the fruits of their actions.

Josie Mann, Director of Nursing at the Centre, graciously received our Certificate of Appreciation.

The Activities Coordinators were dressed as Dorothy and The Strawman, celebrating the anniversary of the release of 'The Wizard of Oz.'

Coming closer to Adelaide, we get to meet other wonderful members of the Sri Chinmoy centre. Januja and Chakori operate 'Rainbow Heart-Sky' gift shop and flower shop in Hahndorf, and we did feel like Alice in Wonderland there! All articles are beautifully arranged with great taste and the whole shop is decorated with Sri Chinmoy's colourful 'Jharna Kala' artwork.

Januja and Chakori also organised a huge lunch for the whole team with the contribution of other friends.

Because of the planned number of meal courses, we were warned not to have breakfast and the rumours turned out to be an underestimation!

You can imagine how difficult it was to start running after such a generous lunch buffet!

Fortunately, we had a little detour to Mt Lofty which is a Sri Chinmoy Peace Summit. We enjoyed a panoramic view of the city and offered a quick prayer for peace as well.

The second and unplanned enchanting detour led us to the nearby Cleland Wildlife Park (many thanks to their manager Melanie who granted us a free entry).

We were absolutely delighted to see for the first time real koala bears (and not only those on road signs, postcards, toys or souvenir photos...)

They were absolutely cute! A bit quiet though. Hm, basically, they were just sleeping...

We could also see other less-famous Aussie animals ...

... but we were especially pleased with the kangaroo pictures which are the best proof that we are in Australia.

... then as we were departing, this wide-awake fellow came running across our path, and climbed straight up the nearest tree to resume his lunch!

Our next ceremony – in nearby Hahndorf Primary School – was a great surprise for us.

It was all coordinated and managed by the students themselves and actually they were preparing for it well in advance.

The meeting was called '2013 Peace Assembly' and it was the first school where we got to hear the national anthem.

We were also impressed by the idea of creating a circle of chain people, symbolising oneness and harmony in the whole world.

And we finished the event by running with the torch around the field oval.

While our girls team were at Hahndorf Primary, our boys team visited nearby Heathfield High School and met with a couple of PE classes before their volleyball session. We presented the Peace Run to keen and interested ears.

Following the ceremony and DVD, which they loved, we had the joy of running with the students around the perimeter of the school for 2km.

We quickly saw who the fit ones were and who had the most energy, it was great to see their enthusiasm and the message of the Run being carried with them as they took turns holding the Torch.

After about halfway and a long steep hill, the turn for home was separated with those who wanted to burst the finish, this prompted Nelson to create a sprint finish where the front runners blasted back into the school…

The exuberance of the Torch ...

After we had got our breath back, there was time for some group photos with our new friends ...