Friday, February 6, 2009


Just a thought before I start. Why are we here? Hobart? Hobart? It's name doesn't dredge up exotic images like Dar es Salaam or McLeod Ganj or Luang Prabang. It's because of where it is located. From the time I was a young boy in the fourth grade (coincidentally the age the girls are now) who loved geography, I have “known” the city situated on the bottom of Tasmania. I didn't know much about it, but I knew it was down there...way down there. When we started the trip planning, I couldn't pass up adding Hobart to our itinerary.

On one of our first days here we toured the Cascade Brewery. I wanted to tour Union Brewery in Ljubljana, Slovenia but they only gave tours once a month and we weren't there on the right day of the month. Not here, every day is tour day – three times a day! A good hour and a half but we all were bored after awhile with technical beerspeak. The tasting room was more fun. Lisa and I drank beer samples while the girls sampled soft drinks that Cascade makes. The gardens were very scenic as well.

Another day we went in search of books. Not for lisa and I because we still have a few unread in inventory, but the girls are down to nothing. Hobart has a lot of second hand bookshops. Unfortunately books of the genre Harry Potter or Percy Jackson are few and far between here. The area of the bookshops was Salamanca Place, an area of restored warehouses by the waterfront. It has sidewalk cafes and has the look of a European city.

Hobart has a very nice waterfront with beautiful yachts. We enjoyed sitting on a bench by the harbour eating fish and chips. Where we had meat on a stick in Thailand, we survive on fish and chips here. Not just here but in all of Australia; it's plentiful and inexpensive (not that anything is inexpensive around here). Hobart also has nicely designed parks and buildings that are typical of their time: mid 1800s. The place has a charm, from Salamanca Place to our apartment up from the Cascade Brewery. Our area is green from the tall eucalyptus trees to the lush undercover. It has the everpresent Mt. Wellington, soaring over 4000 feet just on the edge of town. I said it: town. This place feels less like a small city and more like a big town. You have lovely (a word used a lot by the Australians) small cottages with neatly groomed hedges and flower beds .

Just a “normal lovely” town.

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