Tasmania

Midday Friday I headed off to the airport for Tassie! I left plenty of time for the flight, as is normal in the US, but I forgot that domestic travel within Australia is quite lowkey. I walked through a metal detector and my bags were checked for traces of explosives, and I arrived at my gate more than an hour early. I had carefully weighed out my luggage to be under 7 kg, but nobody weighed it. I was a little nervous on the flight, because I was staying with our family friends Ali and Bob, who I had never met (so kind of them of course to provide accommodations for someone whom they had never met). But I was also excited beyond belief, as can be seen in this photo after I landed.

Bob picked me up and we drove to their house, where I met their cats Baron and Bosco. After settling into their lovely home, we headed out to Franko Street eats, a night food market in a local park. We shared some things; I had a bao and some of a really good savory Indonesian pancake.

After a lovely dinner we took a walk down to the water, and I got a lovely tour of Hobart’s waterfront complete with sculptures, cool hotels, tons of history, and me trying to make some sort of mental map of everything I had seen. We stopped for ice cream (I tried lemon mrytle) and then headed back home through Salamanca. We even saw a paddymelon on the way home, a sort of cute little wallaby.

The next morning I woke up to a gorgeous view of the city. Not only are Ali and Bob wonderful people (this will be a reoccurring theme), but they have such a lovely home. I really loved Tasmania, and it reminded me a lot of home and the Pacific Northwest, and some of that could be due to being able to stay with people who know the lay of the land and how welcoming they were. Needless to say, I woke up to a sunrise and two cuddly cats. Hard to beat that.

We went to a classic bakery, and shared a few things. I had never had a scallop pie, which is apparently a Tasmanian thing, so I tried some even though I’m not always the biggest scallop fan. It was delicious, as were the other things we had. I miss the bakery I work at while at home, so it was nice to have a chill breakfast at a legit bakery.

We then headed down to Salamanca market, a famous Hobart institution. It was such an interesting juxtaposition, as we had walked through the same area the night before, and now it was teeming with people and stalls selling antiques, food, gifts, and pretty much anything you could think of.

Meanwhile, Bob being the super cool man he is (and given his wooden boat connections), was invited to go on a boat. We all went down to the water and after much arrangement of sails, a couple layers of sunscreen, and a good amount of standing around, we headed out onto the water. The boat we were on was absolutely gorgeous, and it was really cool to see Hobart from the water. It was also just such an unexpected experience that turned out to be lovely.

At that point in the day we thought we probably hadn’t done enough yet, so we drove up to the top of Mount Wellington. It was quite windy and cold up at the top, which I was told is quite typical, but we caught the beautiful view of Hobart before the clouds rolled in. There was something so exhilarating about just being a small human amidst such a beautiful place and such intense weather, and I think it was one of my favorite parts of the trip, because it had been a while since I had been out of the city.

We stopped on our way to MONA (the museum of old and new art) for some lunch at a cool vegetarian place. Ali smartly thought we might need sustenance if we expected to keep up our whirlwind pace. The burger we got had a green bun from matcha!

Next up was MONA. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I was prepared to be shocked, as I knew the museum was quite eclectic and edgy. It turned out I absolutely loved it. There were lightbulbs that match to your heartbeat, a waterfall that makes words, and so much more. We stayed until they closed and they literally ushered us out.

We wanted to see an outdoor piece at MONA that only lights up at dusk, so we headed to the grocery store to get a few cheeses and other things for dinner and then returned to the museum at night.

We headed home and had a delicious wine and cheese situation for dinner. Ali had picked out all Tasmanian cheeses, and we had some good bread with olive oil and dukkah. It was such a treat, and so thoughtful.

The next morning we started our day off by going to a bakery that has consistent times for when their croissants come out of the oven, so you can get one nice and warm.

We then visited Farm Gate market in the cbd. While Ali and Bob got useful groceries and thought about lunch, I was thinking about donuts despite the fact that we had just had croissants, and I bought one. It’s vacation! The market had such a different feel from Salamanca, as it seemed to be a lot less touristy.

We headed off to Mt. Field to do some hiking after the market. One of the things I was craving was some outdoor time, and the beautiful waterfalls, fungi, and lakes we saw fulfilled my cravings. We also saw some wildlife; skinks, dragonflies, and even a wombat. The forest was full of ferns and covered in moss, making it seem like a dreamy prehistoric place, and it was interesting to see how the foliage changed as we hiked up to the alpine area.

After our hike, we headed back to the city for dinner with Carol and Peter, Ali’s parents. My grandmother went to school with Carol back in the states, and they later moved to Tassie, so it was really nice to be able to meet them. They also have a lovely house a little ways out of town called “the shed”, filled with amazing things from their travels and work throughout the years, art, artifacts, impeccable scientific drawings Peter has made. I again felt so lucky to be welcomed into their home, and I fell even more in love with the Tasmanian lifestyle I had witnessed over the course of my stay. There is an appreciative and organic nature about it, people really living life and enjoying it, something that I think holds so much value, especially when I’m living and going to school in the city.

Sadly, the next morning I had to catch my flight home. I left with my 7 kg of stuff in my backpack, but with a few extra things tucked in, too. A container of leatherwood honey, a tea towel with one of Peter’s drawings on it, a shirt from VegBar that will remind me of Tassie, and a happiness and vibrancy I didn’t know I needed. I am so grateful to Bob and Ali for letting me stay with them, and I can’t wait to go back to Hobart or perhaps move there? Stay tuned.

Australian vocabulary log #7: speccy=spectacular, daggy=uncool/unfashionable, crook=sick, stuffed (it’s stuffed/you’re stuffed)=it’s/ you’re a mess, bogan=someone who acts trashy, cub(classed up bogan)=rich but still acts trashy

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