I have a friend who insists on sending her postcards wherever I am travelling. Shit I never seem to find time for that as I am busy eating, shopping, clicking pictures of myself and screening which to put up on Facebook. I was in Hobart, harbour capital of Tasmania, last weekend. Such a picturesque place but neither my camera nor my cameraman did any justice to the place. So I was looking at postcards to frame as memoirs.
I usually find Australia such a uniform country, uniform in its sight, sound, smell and colour. You find a Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, Valleygirl, Sportsgirl, etc., everywhere and you find similar houses and similar layouts of suburbs. Most Indians would describe that about the west especially coming from diverse, chaotic, smelly, colourful and peopled backgrounds. After reading travel bible Lonely Planet had listed Hobart as one of the top ten cities of the world to visit, my excitement was palpable. As Jetstar, the airline we were flying in, touched down Hobart on a Friday noon in just an hour, something felt things were going to be a bit different.
For one, I love the rains as much as I love my sleep. No, I am not suffering from depression. But a rain-soaked Hobart held out that romantic appeal. We were met by a charming, friendly taxi driver who gave us a first stir of Tasmanian comfort. Such a polite man, he also told us Charlie (Prince Charles and Camilla) had come calling the day before. I had made my own small to-do list.
And there bang in the middle of Australia’s most historical city at Macquarie Street was our hotel standing opposite an 1800 built church. We dumped our bags and ventured out, the rain notwithstanding. Old buildings, few skyscrapers and green surrounds, this small city looked like a scene straight out of a novel. I wouldn’t mind being stranded here alone!
But it was the Salamanca market the next sunny morning and a trip by boat to the famous Mona Gallery that I realised what a missed opportunity this would have been had I not come. Every Saturday morning, the Salamanca Place with its nineteenth century waterfront warehouses dating back to the 1830s and surrounded by yachts and boats buzzes with activity as it holds its outdoor weekly market. You get your flavour of Tasmania here. Local producers sell everything from organic fruits and veggies to local craft, clothes, jewelleries, paintings, bags, flowers and food.
|Spooky! A work of art on display at Mona|
Then there is entertainment with numerous local musicians and such talented souls playing different instruments and singing. I loved every moment wading through Salamanca with its cafes, restaurants, galleries and art studio. Such a cultural hub!
Mona Gallery was out of the world. In brief, it is the largest privately funded museum in Australia boasting antiques, modern and contemporary art. Never seen anything like it before. I will need a page to describe Mona and reserving that for my travel pieces. Just trying to fill my page with some writing as I have been so slack and the creative juices are not flowing. My three-hour tour of the gallery ended with a nice old pinot noir by the clear blue waters, which someone on my Facebook photo called the ‘fifty shades of blue’. How apt. I did come out feeling rapturous in more ways than one.