Our Tasmanian adventure actually started off on a spectacular path in whimsical Hobart. I met up with Gwenda who had arrived at the Pickled Frog hostel the previous evening whereas I caught the earliest flight available the next morning. My Melbourne hostel had a freak flood evacuation at 1 a.m. and my flight left before sunrise so I was desperately needing some sleep by the time I stumbled in the door of the Pickled Frog. That didn’t happen.
After throwing my backpack in my bunk room, we met a sweetie from Manchester named Karl, and the three of us trooped down to the town square in hopes of hearing some live music (per our hostel’s recommendation). The band chose that particular night to take a musical break and we were left to wander around Hobart until the pubs got a bit livelier.
No invitation? No worries! – Near the end of one dark alley, we stumbled upon an art show opening, where, low and behold, they were serving free wine and appetizers!!! Well, as any backpacker knows, you never pass up an opportunity for free drinks and food, even if you are looking quite dingy in cargos and fleece hoodies. The rest of the “artistic community” of visitors were prepared for the night, decked out in jazzy clothes, knee-high boots, and suit jackets. Although we looked a bit out of place, we had some wonderful conversations with many of these locals. I met a guy from Iowa who is now operating a berry farm in Tasmania (how he managed that change of career, I’m not quite sure), and a woman from Florida who ran a used book store in the very heart of Hobart.
I’m ashamed pleased to admit that Karl, Gwenda, and I were the very last to leave the art exhibition somewhere after midnight. We spent quite some time happily toasting the bartenders and chatting very frankly with the artist about her choices of perspective and medium. I think she found us oddly entertaining but she was probably pleased with our profound interest.
Downtown Hobart – Saturday was spent exploring Hobart and preparing for our road trip around the island. Gwenda and I rose early to trot down to the famous Salamanca market near Battery Point. We sampled various local cheeses, honey, and fudge while watching fishing boats enter the harbor. There were many items to try on and buy at the weekend market, including some cozy sweaters, scarves, and fun jewelry. We settled for some fresh bread and coffee, and continued on to Arthur Circus, a quaint circle of Georgian houses. As we perched on the stone wall bordering the village green, I could imagine Hobart as it was a hundred years ago. It’s a homey, cute town and reminds me of the Falkland Islands. There were several fishing boats tied off at the docks, barges serving fresh fish ‘n chips, and a comforting chill in the air. The fresh sea breezes had a faint fall smell in them – it was relaxing and refreshing all at once.
Just as we were finishing our second flat white coffees of the morning, the rainy weather set in and had us back in the hostel, curled up on the couches with some twenty odd other backpackers,. We spent the remainder of the afternoon complaining about the gray clouds and watching old DVD’s from the Pickled Frog’s collection. Finding a car and packing for our road trip would have to wait until tomorrow.