Tuesday, August 29, 2006

29 - August 2006

We awoke in time for a beautiful sunrise over the Hobart waterfront. After strolling through the many courtyards, cafes, boutiques, and grassy parks within Salamanca Place and Battery Point, we savored a leisurely brunch at the Jackman & McRoss bakery (they make a to-die-for chicken and mushroom pie and goat cheese/spinach/tomato/carmelized onion tart as well as flavored iced milks, which we hope to recreate at home).

We wish we had booked another night in Hobart and definitely intend to return and stay longer. The European-feel city is much bigger and more fashion-forward than we expected but really warm, welcoming, and charming all the same. We admired the traditional architecture (from grand colonial homes to sweet little cottages to sandstone and brick buildings and warehouses) and enjoyed learning about the city's history and reading about some of the people who settled there starting in 1804.

And what an ideal time of year to be in Hobart--everything is in bloom, the air smells sweet, and the skies are so blue!

Sawyer, we spotted Herbie! Guess everyone needs a vacation sometimes, eh?

And check out this in-progress (and mighty intense, I might add) chess game at the park...

In the afternoon, we drove to the pinnacle of Mount Wellington (which nestles the city of Hobart and protects it from the wind). It's a frighteningly narrow road but well worth the white knuckles; the views of Hobart and far, far beyond were breathtaking (note to self: pack ear muffs next time!). You wouldn't believe the amount of undeveloped land in Tasmania--it's immense and magnificent and evident everywhere you look.

Tonight we made it to Port Arthur, a notorious and fascinating penitentiary established in 1830 and closed in 1877 after housing more than 12,500 prisoners. It's located on the wild and beautiful Tasman Peninsula that is nearly an island in itself (the narrow isthmus that serves as a link to the mainland was once guarded by ferocious dogs). After dinner (and a delicious affogato dessert that we also hope to recreate at home), we took an eerie moonlight Ghost Tour with a really entertaining guide, Todd. Mike got seriously spooked several times (to the amusement of many, myself not included--his jumps and yelps startled me more than any ghost probably would have!). Let's just hope he can get some sleep tonight.

--It seems we're in a nation of squatters. There hasn't been a toilet seat cover to be found in Australia thus far. (Good thing my Mama taught me to squat even with the added paper protection we enjoy in America.)

--McDonald's steps it up in OZ! Within the Golden Arches, there's a "McCafe," complete with elegant and beautiful desserts and a coffee selection to rival any Starbucks. (Yeah, we admit it--we stopped in for some fries for the road!)

--You don't need to wait for your water to be refilled at restaurants here (hallelujah!)--at the start of a meal, they bring you glasses and a perfectly chilled bottle of water (no ice necessary). It's lovely for guzzlers like us!

Favorite signs of the day:
--"Discount You Know Whats" (at a petrol--or gas, as we know it--station on the road toward Mount Wellington; we've given it a lot of thought, and we still don't know what...maybe you gotta be Australian?)

--"Speedo check ahead" (on the highway toward Port Arthur; Mike wasn't wearing one at the time, but I'm confident he'd have passed with flying colors.)

--And of course, there's...


(No sightings of either as yet, though we have driven past many an unfamiliar and mighty peculiar roadkill.)


Mike said...

Sonya, where the bloody hell are you?

I've been waiting for a comment for, like, 15 minutes!



9:16 PM  
Sonya said...

OK, relax, relax...just don't stick a toothbrush in a socket and she'll be right mate...


11:34 PM  
jessica said...

Emily is dying to know--was that the REAL Herbie? He's her current obsession...

11:37 AM  

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