Like many people, I would imagine, I don’t tend to take photos of the places where I live, work, regularly shop and eat. But having recently moved from the suburbs into the city in my home town, I am trying to take time to appreciate it in the ways I do other places when I travel. Which has meant spending time just walking, observing, and enjoying the atmosphere.
One of my new favourite places in Adelaide is Victoria Square. The very centre of our city, it has recently been redeveloped and with the beautiful spring weather we’re having, it is an amazing place to while away some time. Today is a public holiday, so all the better for wandering and appreciating the opportunity to take time out in the heart of my home town.
What am I loving about Victoria Square?
I love having a beautiful green space in the middle of the city. A public space that is open to all and for all.
I love the statement that the Australian and Aboriginal flags flying side by side makes about this land.
The redevelopment includes infrastructure that invites people to spend time together in the Square – sporting equipment available to be freely used, clean facilities, seats to relax on, fountains for children to delight in.
I wish I had had my camera with me during lunch hour the other day when the totem tennis sets were being used by a group of men in suits who had just come out of the District Court!
Its great that there are organised groups using the space, as well as those who have just happened along.
I love that you can just sit back and watch the world go by.
It’s a great place to people-watch – from tourists taking in a new city, to business people taking a break from work, to parents and children letting off steam.
There are various events seeking to get people involved, including currently some kitchen garden workshops.
During the week the northern end hosts different food trucks who provide a yummy variety of cuisines and also create a good buzz. I love that there is a live webcam you can check out to see what is available before you venture out! (and I’m really looking forward to the next “Fork on the Road” event this coming Friday night!)
And of course foodwise there are Adelaide’s iconic Central Markets just across the road, although that will surely be the subject for another Monday post!!
I love just watching trams depart in both directions from the Square, pointing outwards to the possibilities of culture, entertainment, nature, and beauty available in this my city.
What am I learning from Victoria Square?
Sitting and soaking up the Square, I see a really good model of both looking back and honouring the past and moving forward into the future.
Modern conveniences sit side by side old statues commemorating days gone by.
Queen Victoria surveys her square between the flags, linking different pieces of Australian history together. It’s a difficult balance to get right, but too often we don’t even try and I’m reminded that it is better to have a go than do nothing out of fear of not pleasing everyone perfectly.
Looking to the traffic and commerce happening all around, the Square is a reminder to slow down, take a few deep breaths, feel the sunshine on your face and just appreciate the opportunity to stop for a moment.
I need places like this in my life, both literally and figuratively, to remind me that the continued functioning of the world does not rest upon my shoulders, and that stopping my activity for a moment or two will not cause anything to fall apart … but perhaps sometimes will prevent me from doing so!
I’m also reminded by what the council is seeking to do in the Square that community doesn’t just happen. People can live side by side but never really connect. It takes effort and energy, it takes creativity and a willingness to give things a go to create true human connection. All the infrastructure and programs in the world cannot create community – we need to be willing to take that first risky step towards another person.
As I watch a young solo tourist half-heartedly swing at the totem tennis, these thoughts compel me to step in and make a connection, to pick up the other bat and bounce the ball back to her, to start a conversation, to learn where she is from and how she is enjoying her time here. It reminds me of all the times I have been the traveller, far from home, seeking to understand and enjoy what is on offer around the world, and the incredible privilege of just a moment of human connection from someone who takes the time to say hello, welcome, and we’re glad you stopped by to see our city.