Seeing our city in a different light

Linear Park really is a city treasure. Photo: News Corp. Australia

IF you were born and raised in Adelaide, I bet you like to think you know your city inside out. But how well do you know your home town, really?
A confession up front: I’m not the world’s most avid cyclist. (Shocking, I know).
But when I do feel I’m coming down with a desire to exercise, I usually lie down until the feeling passes. Hardy har.
But at other times, when the inspiration strikes, I hop on my bike and cut into the Linear Park for the punishing 8km ride through the western suburbs to finish at West Beach.
If you’ve never bothered to take a stroll along at least the smallest section of the Linear Park, don’t worry.
You’re only missing one of the most beautiful walking/cycling trails in Adelaide and one of our city’s greatest assets, natural or manmade.
I’d call the Park world class. But plenty of cities would kill to have something so special and unique. World-leading might be a better way to describe it.
But as good as the Park is, variety is the spice of life.
So on a recent burst of energy, instead of beating the same old path to West Beach, I decide to point my wheels in a different direction and follow the Park east towards the city.
Now, unless you want all your friends to think you’ve turned into an anorak-wearing train-spotter who likes his sandwiches with the crusts cut off, you should use the term ‘be a tourist in your own town’ sparingly.
I’m going to use it just this once because it neatly sums up what it feels like to go wild and crazy and actually dare to explore somewhere different and new. It’s like being a tourist in your own damn town!
Passing the now-shuttered Brickworks (sad) and crossing South Road I hop off at the Hindmarsh Cemetery to stroll through avenues of crumbling headstones and where I learn something new.
Here lies Ronald Gladstone Mitton. Born in Hindmarsh. PhD from Oxford and gained “international recognition and received many awards for his researches into the chemistry and technology of leather”.
Past the Entertainment Centre, through Bonython Park and up behind the old gaol, the new RAH and oh… look, there’s the SAHMRI, from a whole new angle.
Through the Festival Centre, a spin around the Rotunda, over the bridge, pause to check out the stunning new Oval up close, then push on home.
A lazy few kilometers from home; so how come I’d never bothered to do head that way before? *Shrugs shoulders*
Being a tourist in your own town means seeing things you’ve never seen before. But also to explore the secret nooks of a city you thought you knew from a wholly new angle; from a pair of sneakers or a bike seat, not a speeding car.
There’s another reason to mix things up. Exploring new places can not only help cure boredom but make you smarter.
In the ABC TV series Redesign My Brain, presenter Todd Sampson meets a researcher who reveals that, by simply being open to new experiences – trying new foods, finding a new route to work - people could re-train their brains to make them more creative and better at problem-solving.
If you were born and raised in Adelaide, I bet you think you know your city inside out.
I bet you’re wrong.
Here’s my challenge to you, Adelaide. See your city from a different angle. Find a different way to drive or walk to work. Look at your city from above and below. And Tweet with me @GregBarila to tell me what you discovered.
TELL US below about your favourite spots in Adelaide.
This column was first published in The City Messenger and on advertiser.com.au