My last few days in Brisbane were wonderful! Arron and Brendan took me to a Turkish restaurant, we played a game of barefoot lawn bowling- which was a blast even though I now know of yet another sport I suck at. We went on a short bush walk, visited a fish store, had some overpriced ice cream, went to browse through a swap meet, and just had a great weekend hanging out together.
Fun fact: Did you know that some people (two I know in particular) actually go to bed by 20:00? I know what you’re thinking, but the two people I’m referring to are neither small infants nor are they old/decrepit yet. Does this mean that they’re just giving up? I think so. I gave them a hard time already.
I’m on Qantas flight 15, headed back to the states. I’m sad that this vacation is coming to an end. I guess it’s time to get back to reality. This isn’t so bad, however, because I’ve created a pretty awesome reality for myself. It’s time to get home so I can start preparations for my next adventure.
My favorite part of the Mona Gallery is this picture of the big-bad-wolf eating grandma. Yes, it’s graphic, and yes, there’s a boob there, but look at the wolf’s eyes. Isn’t it spectacular? Either that or I’m going to have nightmares tonight. I’m not sure which one. Ignore the boob. Look at those eyes! Brilliant piece!
I’m on the ferry that is taking me back to Hobart from Berriedale. For some reason there is a cow made of something like fiberglass and well I’m going to say it: There should be more fiberglass cows on ferries. There are also some sheep nearby but they’re hardly worth taking a picture of… stupid sheep.
I just woke up from a deep nap- I was exhausted! I just introduced myself to a new hostelmate who is from Essex and he had the exact same experience at Mona today. He said he was there for only a few hours and feels like he really needs a nap. There is just too much concentrating- it wears a guy out. Some of the artwork I really like and appreciate- and some of it doesn’t seem like an ounce of talent. This is just my opinion- you may disagree. I’ve said it before: If it looks like it was drawn by a 3rd grader, maybe that artist needs to reconsider his or her life choices.
I have just purchased tickets to the Mona Gallery. This is one of the things that the flight attendant who brought me down here from Melbourne told me I had to see. She told me to make sure I come with an open mind. That makes me wonder what she’s talking about.
My mind is open to a whole mess of things (probably more than it should be) as most minds are open in this day and age. A small part of me wants to jump online and find out exactly what she was talking about. But I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
I am standing on a memorial walk at the Hobart Botanical Gardens. This walkway has been planted with so many trees. Each tree has been placed for a soldier who died in the first world war- it’s very moving. Some of the trees are younger because the original tree has died, but they keep replanting new ones when that happens. I just came across a plaque/ directory of the names of these soldiers. My eyes scan these names for someone who might possibly be a very distant relative. The directory tells me that tree #160 has been dedicated to Spr. Alfred Ernest Watson.- that’s the tree I need to find.
For some reason, I’m very emotional while I’m looking for this tree on the memorial walk. I am wondering who his descendants are and if they’ve come to visit him lately. Is someone bringing him flowers? As I approach the plaque, there is a black and white bird perched atop it. I tell the bird that he needs to leave because I’ve come to speak with Alfred. The bird looks at me and understands and leaves (ok I know the bird actually was afraid of me, but I’m choosing to believe he was flying away because Alfred and I needed a moment).
Alfred (who I’m nicknaming Alf- since I have now decided that he is family) was a carpenter by trade. He was the son of Joseph William and Very Mary Gaunt Watson and his brother was Charles Watson of Port Esperance (later Geeveston). He was a Roman Catholic and he enlisted the 5th of January, 1915, embarked on April 19th of that same year. He was with the 2nd Tunnelling Co. Aust Mining Corps and was accidentally killed on the 17th of September, 1916.
Accidentally killed? What happened to him? Maybe some sort of mining accident? Did a tunnel collapse? Further investigation tells me that he was accidentally killed on railway line near Laventie.
I’m reading this information and for some reason, I’m close to tears. This is stupid. I don’t know this guy- maybe I feel this attachment because he’s the only Watson on the list. That must mean his is/was a good person. All of us Watsons are great- some greater than others. I need to know all about this man for some reason. I need to do some digging. I wish I would have brought flowers to leave next to his tree.
I had set a goal to climb Mt. Wellington today. I’ve set this goal half-heartedly because according to Google Maps, it’s about 12 miles from the hostel one way. Therefore, I have updated said goal to at least walk toward the mountain. I’ve seen pictures from the top and it’s a great view of Hobart from above.
I didn’t sleep too well last night. I now have a roommate who snores. He’s a tattoo artist from Perth. He’s down here for work and is sharing a shop with a local friend. He showed me some pictures of his work and he seems to be really, really talented. I’m not into the whole tattoo thing but if you’re going to have it done, make sure you get an artist who has talent! This guy seems to have it.
Road kill here is like road kill at home- only the conversation I have with myself goes a little like this… What on earth is that smell? Something must have been hit by a car! I think I’m going to gag! Oh man, that’s strong- I may get sick! Oh look, it’s a pademelon! How cute!
It’s Easter Sunday. I figure the least I could do on this day is attend church. I check the internet, and it looks like the nearest chapel is about 4 miles from the hostel- I’m glad that I was in the mood for a walk. I stop several times on the trek to make sure I wasn’t going in the wrong direction. When I arrive, I’m greeted by a heavy-set man who is ‘jolly’ for lack of a better word. He seemed very welcoming and excited that I’m here.
We end up in the chapel, and I sit on the back row, trying to blend in with my surroundings. The problem I have is that it’s a small congregation- if you’re not in attendance every Sunday, they notice. I guess it doesn’t help that the hair on my head has been bleached blonde and that the sides are growing back brown. Maybe I look rebellious to them and am sticking out like a sore thumb.
A little old woman sits by me and asks my name. She then asks if I’m related to “those Watsons.” I tell her I don’t think I am. After the 7th or 8th person asks if I’m part of the ‘Tasmanian Watsons’ I have decided to change my introduction to, “Hi, I’m visiting from the States on holiday, but I’m not related to ‘those Watsons.'” Everyone that I say this to seems to understand.
Now the little old woman has taken to doing the introduction on my behalf. She is such a sweet thing and reminds me so much of my departed Gramma Bess. I want to hug her, and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. I’m so blessed to have this temporary Gramma Bess sitting next to me.
Finally, the meeting starts, and so I don’t have to introduce myself anymore. It’s a good Easter service, nothing special or out of the ordinary. I’m glad I went, however. I always feel at home when I make it to church.
I am sitting on my bed at the Brunswick Hotel (Tassie Backpackers) in Hobart, Tasmania. I’m wondering what I’m going to do for breakfast. Since today is the day before Easter, I’m not sure what is going to be open. McDonalds may be my only option but I need to crawl out of bed and put on clothes and go find something. This hotel seems so old but has so much quirky charm about it.
Hobart is a lovely little city. I really didn’t know what to expect, especially since I did absolutely no research before booking my flight. I got some exploring done yesterday but it was a rainy Good Friday and this means that the city was more or less a ghost town. I tried to go out and be social last night, but nothing was open.
I went for a walk up a local mountain called Mt. Wellington but didn’t know which road would take me. Found some beautiful houses and neighborhoods, but the road didn’t lead to the mountain sadly. When I returned to the hostel, I asked the desk clerk if she knew what road would take me there. She showed me on Google Maps and printed out the directions for me. It looks like it’s a 4-hour walk (one-way) and so I think I’ll find out if there are bicycle rentals in the city.
For dinner tonight, I was in the mood to eat something a little fancier than the quick Asian cuisine that I’ve been having lately. I grabbed my phone and launched the Urban Spoon app (I highly recommend you download this app if you don’t have it yet- it’s great!) and shook my phone, causing it to pick a restaurant at random. The one that came up was an Italian restaurant called Smolt. It wasn’t too far of a walk, so I gave it a try.
I looked the menu over and ended up ordering the grilled Tasman venison, seasonal fruit puree, quinoa, spices, cauliflower & almond salad with a creamed garlic. I had to make a note of exactly what I’d ordered. It was amazing!
I am so thankful for delicious food! I don’t know if I would consider myself a foodie because I’m not really great at knowing what the chef has put in each dish. I sometimes recognize some of the ingredients by their taste or texture but I don’t think I could recreate most of these dishes at home- I wish I could!
Arron gave me an assignment before I’d left Brisbane. He told me that while I was in Melbourne I needed to go find the brightly colored bathing boxes at Brighton Beach. These are quite the tourist attraction and he told me that they sell for about AU$200,000.
I think they’re fun, but they’re definitely not worth that much money. Maybe there’s a supply and demand thing going on? Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely… I guess I could set up a lemonade stand or some such nonsense. For more info, check out http://www.brightonbathingbox.org.au.
I just got back from my free breakfast upstairs. It was a bowl of Rice Krispies. They may have been the generic version, but I’m not sure. They were good. I’m thankful that the hostel provides it for us.
In less than an hour, the hostel will give a free walking tour of the city. I think I’m going to join them. My driver from the airport told me that downtown Melbourne is 9 blocks by 9 blocks and is 2km by 1.9km or something like that. This means there’s a lot to cover and I’m curious as to what I’ll learn about the city. Since I don’t know very much, I guess anything I learn would be good.
I had a fun night last night- I went on a long walk with one of my hostel roommates, who has a name, but I can’t remember it. He’s from Malaysia and is here visiting a friend who is going to school in the city. My other roommate is from France, also a very nice guy, whose name is Pierre (of course it is).
I opted to not go on the free walking tour. The boy from France asked me if I wanted to go explore with him. This was his last day in Melbourne before he leaves for New Zealand and he told me that he wanted to walk to the bay. It is such a nice day and we had a great time! We walked out on some pier and took pictures.
A sign told us there would be little penguins, but they must have all been out finding food. We fed some black swans instead. We found a cafe for lunch- he had a salmon pizza and I opted for the lamb. We put in the miles today!
This is the reason I love to stay in hostels- You never know who you’re going to meet. After our walk, I felt like I deserved another massage, but decided not to get one. If you recall my experience in Sydney, you understand why.
Tonight I helped Pierre drag his stuff to the bus station. He was grateful and I’m going to miss him. I gave him an American dollar and told him that he needed to return it to me someday, but it can’t be returned via mail. One of us will have to travel. Kind of a cool idea, if you ask me. I should be spreading out U.S. dollars to everyone I meet. Maybe this will get me to travel more often.
The first thing I have to say is that I love this hostel. It’s a prime location in the city and it’s right above a police station- that’s always good! Last night I asked one of my hostel mates about places to go jogging in the city. I decided that I am going to return to Brisbane in a couple weeks and I’m going to be skinnier than I was when I left. I must impress Arron and Brendan. This is my new life-goal.
Here’s the problem- my hostel room has no windows. I thought I was waking up early but I realized that it was already after 09:30! Still, I didn’t lose hope that I would get a decent jog in. Someone told me that the Botanical Garden was a good place to run. There was some charity run for children going on- or such some nonsense. There were so many people in the garden that it was impossible to get moving at all- I did get a fairly decent jog in though.
I am some kind of idiot: I left my camera on the plane yesterday and I was going to just take my iPhone and take pictures with that. Arron told me I needed something better quality than that and I wholeheartedly agree with him- I’ve gotten ahold of Virgin Australia’s lost and found department and they said that nothing had been turned in from my flight but I should check back again this afternoon. This is so frustrating to me! Why am I so scatter-brained that I’m doing things like leaving my camera behind? For now I’ll just take pictures with my iPhone.
Security at the Sydney Airport is ridiculous today! My flight doesn’t leave until 16:00, but I thought I’d better get to the airport early. I waited in line for about an hour, just to check in for my flight. As I lugged my bag through the line, I reached the realization that I need to pack less next time. I packed for two full weeks, but next time I’ll just pack for one week and do laundry more often. The nice ticketing agent was willing to move me to the 14:00 flight. There is also a 12:30 flight but it’s completely full. I’ll just sit and enjoy the airport.