Tasmania at Last

Trip Start Feb 26, 2013
Trip End Apr 15, 2013

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Where I stayed
What I did
Hobart Harbor
Franklin Wharf
Franklin Park
St David's Park
Mawson Place

Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Friday, March 1, 2013

I was up early in the morning - earlier than my 7 am alarm -  but wanted to maximize my sleep so I waited until the alarm rang.  I think I heard it vibrate before I heard the alarm.  After a quick shower, I finished my cheese and olives and was on my way out by 8 am or so. 

It took a bit longer to find the terminal for Virgin Australia than it had to find the Ibis last night.   I  was tired carrying my pack by the time I got there.  It was around 8:25 am by now and there was a huge line to check in.  I got in the slowly moving line and looked around for Doreen.  I was worried I would not make it to the gate until way after our 8:30 am meeting time.  It was close to 9 am by the time I made it to the gate.  I didn't find Doreen there and played on the computer and waited.  I had it in my mind that we were meeting at the gate, but actually she was waiting for me at the check-in counter.  She very graciously did not act irritated at all when she battled the long line and made it to the gate - by then it was nearly 10 am, or was it later.  I know I was worried that something had happened to her and we couldn't communicate.  Our flight had been delayed otherwise it would have been boarding time.  Finally, almost 2 hours late - or was it not that late - we boarded and were off.

I watched the coast of southern Australia recede.  There were lots of narrow sandy beaches and some with what looked like white foam along them.  We went over some water and I watched the clouds on the horizon and then it seemed very soon, I saw another coast line....and this time it was Tasmania's.  There were patches of brown and beige and some dark green.  It was not as green as I was expecting.  Next to me sat a woman on her way to a friend's wedding.  She had lived in Tasmania for 10 years and proceeded to draw me a map that highlighted the various tourist attractions and towns.  She helped me with the pronunciations as well so I wouldn't sound like a foreigner.  She was very thoughtful and nice.  I asked her whether she needed the stuff written on the back of my map and she said no....oops, then yes.  So she took back her map and made me a new one.  This one looked more like a heart than the original one that she said looked like a tooth.

After Doreen and I got our bags, we went to Avis and picked up the car.  It took us awhile to get Doreen's GPS working.  She handed it to me because she thought I would have greater expertise due to being on the computer so much.  Wrong.  She was better.  She got the GPS working and it helped to get us into Hobart and on a street running parallel to the one we wanted (lots of one-way streets).  Then we went around the block several times as the GPS told us without telling us where to stop.  Doreen took another street and got a new set of directions to the hotel and we managed to find it.  It was on the opposite corner of the place we turned originally, but the parking garage was on that street.  Of course, we had no idea and it didn't seem to be identified. 

We settled in our room and immediately went out for a walk with the thought of food....or at least I did and I know Doreen was hungry because she didn't even have the granola bar on the plane that I did.  We got to the famous Salamanca Place - famous for its market, craft shops and restaurants and our eyes were caught by a sign board with appetizer-wine special from 3:30 to 5 pm - or whatever time bracket we were still in.  We sat at an outdoor table in the sun and had a delicious little red peppers stuffed with goat cheese and served with ciabatta slices and some chianti.  It was lovely.

We didn't want to eat too much to spoil our dinner.  We resumed our walk and turned toward the harbor.  We walked around the piers seeing various old boats, tour boats to Bruny Island and other tourist destinations...we saw boats with lobster traps...lots of them....lots of traps and lots of boats.  We noticed some of the old historical buildings and walked into the courtyard of shops that used to be the old jam factory.  I know we saw more things.  I kept stopping to look at the restaurant menus.  I became fixated on oysters.  We saw one restaurant with a decent menu but it was a little pricey.  We walked along on a different part of the harbor and ran into some floating eat-in and take-out fish & chips shops.  Very different from the restaurants with umbrellas and cafe tables.  But the one we stopped at was perfect:  good fish and chips, excellent oysters, cheaper, and right on the water.  It may have been a boat or some kind of container turned into a small restaurant. 

After I placed our order, I noticed that I paid for a dozen oysters when I only wanted a half dozen.  I wasn't sure I could eat them all so I got a refund and changed my order.  When our order was delivered, I had gotten the full dozen.  We enjoyed them all - they were very good.  Then we got our fish - which was also quite good.  In the end, I paid for the extra oysters.  Otherwise I would have felt guilty.  By now it was night and we headed back for the hotel, looked over some of our accumulated brochures and formulated a tentative plan for our itinerary. 

Now Doreen has gone to sleep since she was up very early.  I will soon follow but since I am hooked into the internet, I will check that first.

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