A Tazzie Christmas

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Ho Ho Hobart!! Yes, its Christmas again and cold weather was called for. Tasmania is pretty much the coldest place we could find this side of the planet so thats where we ended up.

We flew into Hobart (the capital city) on a flight that was delayed by an hour. Believe it or not its the first delay we've had throughout our whole trip!! Hobart is a really nice place, reminded me a bit of Galway - small and welcoming with a great atmosphere. We decided to stay in a fancy hotel and spoil ourselves over Christmas and ended up in the Grand Chancellor. Apparently its the best hotel in Hobart. Apparently.

It turned out to be a bit of a Fawlty Towers experience. The rooms were a bit grubby and the staff were lazy and pretty much incompetent. We had to ask for everything twice or more, stuff like towels and room service and fodd and wine in the restaurant. All little things really. It might sound a bit petty but all the little things are what makes the difference between a three star and an apparently 4 and a half star hotel. And when you're paying top dollar you want the service to be good.

But we didn't let it ruin our trip, we had a great time regardless.

On the night we arrived we made our way over to Salamanca Place, which is party central in Hobart. Since it was the Friday before Christmas the entire city was out boozing. It was a bit mad, everyone was out on the streets sitting on whatever patch they could find lashing the drink into them. Literally tens of thousands of them!! Great craic all round.

On Christmas Eve there was a great market on Salamanca too. We've seen loads of markets on our trip but this one was legend. It had stuff you would actually like to buy!! There were tonnes of local food merchants all selling their wares and we spent most of the morning sampling everything (they all give you free samples) from fruit, to fudge, to pancakes, to sausages and even wine and port. So Vinny and Aishling got free brekkie and lunch that day!!

Christmas dinner was quality too. We had a buffet dinner in the hotel, with everything you cold possibly want there for you. All the usuals like turkey and ham and all the trimmings, but loads of seafood too, end every kind of desert (except Christmas cake, though they had a nice pudding). You could even personally ask the chef to make something up for you. I had him roast me some scallops and whip me up a few mussels. Delish. There was all you could drink too, so there were a few sore heads the next day.

It was nice to get away (yes I know we're already away) for Christmas to somewhere a little less hot. We were told that it was 38 degrees in Sydney, which is too hot to do anything. Tassie was like a mild Irish summer, so it was nice.

One thing that we made a balls of was missing the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. When we booked the hotel and flights we had no idea the race was even on at the time. Its one of the biggest sporting events of the year here and there's a massive festival in in Hobart when it arrives. Of course they got in the evening we were leaving so we missed them. Typical. Would have been good......
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