Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tasmania Adventure, Part 1

First flight out of San Antonio.
The second flight was from Dallas to Sydney:  the 2nd longest flight in the world (the longest is apparently between Oakland CA and Dubai).  My flight was just over 17 hours and I crossed the international date line in the process.   I left Saturday and arrived Monday.  Long enough!
Before I left I was looking at distances from Hobart, Tasmania.  You might be interested to check out this link.

I’ve been going to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 pm (gasp!) to shake off the jet lag and mostly this weird little mild virus.  I’m sleeping well.  I feel okay, jet-lag wise.  I suppose I’ll just be finishing with the remnants of it when I turn around and head back to the states.   It was surprisingly okay.  I slept in 2 4-hour segments, watched a movie and read quite a lot.  I felt pretty human when I arrived in Sydney.  

Because Tim is in Hobart, Tasmania, overseeing an exhibition at MONA called, Hound In The Hunt, two of my daughters and I are traveling down to visit.  I've never been to this part of the world and I have been very-much looking forward to it.  

Tiim has been multiple times in preparation for this and between his descriptions, as well as information I've read about the area and the art museum, I'm happy for this opportunity.

We are having a great time here is Tasmania, despite the crazy weather.  Apparently the storm that raged for the past several days is exceptional and not a typical winter scenario.  People have been without power for several days and there were a few roofs blown off.  With winds clocked up to 100km gusts and the wind blowing around this mostly-glass walled hilltop apartment we are fortunate enough to be living in was causing said windows to bow drastically inward.  The word unsettling comes to mind….
We are staying in tan apartment in the Battery Point section of Hobart.  This building used to be the weather station and the views are stunning.
A pano of the view in our apartment.

Yesterday was our first day of going out to MONA.  They mic-ed me and filmed the girls and I for our initial visit into the exhibit.  The Vermeer exhibit is really nicely put together:  one can view a couple of artists working on paintings, and there are multiple set-ups of the comparator mirror for visitors to try, with trained docents available to assist. Apparently the exhibit is now extended to at least next Easter.    
The museum is totally incredible.  The work here is very avante garde:  basically a curated collection of work that resonated with the owner.  I am as fascinated by that idea as with the work itself.  To me, the entire museum is an installation, of sorts.  The building is amazing.  Dug out from under a vineyard, it is a multi-level experience.  Outside there are many installations of art melded with nature.  Several restaurants on the grounds, some accommodations, and David and his wife Kirsha live in a house right above the museum!  Constructed of sandstone walls, Cor-ten steel, and beautiful wood, I could spend much of my time staring at the architectural features alone. 
 The walkway from the museum to the MONA ferry

Our first day together we wandered around in Hobart, taking in the local Historical museum.
Lunch at the Harbor included looking at all the fishing boats and the cool hand-constructed traps made from what looks like grapevine.

Yesterday the girls and I drove up to Mt. Wellington.  The remnants of the storm were being cleared away by a work crew so part of the road leading up to the summit was closed.  We parked and decided to walk one of the many trails that wind themselves around the mountain.  To say that it was beautiful would be an understatement.  The plant-life was dense, somewhat exotic, and aromatic.  Apparently the air and water here are counted as possibly the cleanest on the planet.  

This view was beyond belief.  The strong, gusty wind added a bit more to the thrill of being up there.  

During the outbound portion of our hike this tree snapped and fell over the trail just 40 feet or so after we walked by.  It was TOO close for comfort!  I took this photo of the tree on our return.

The eucalyptus trees (several varieties) add to the fresh scent.  It was still quite windy but not the gale that we had been experiencing.  We hiked.  We even (perhaps foolishly) stopped and refilled water containers directly from one of the many small streams that crossed the path.  So far there has been no consequence!  The views were pretty mind-blowing.  We turned around and worked our way back to the car, about a 5+ K hike.  

During our hike the workers finished and the road had re-opened so we drove up.  Keep in mind that I am driving on the left side of the road.  The road was (in my opinion) designed for 1.5 or 1.75 vehicles to be present side-by-side so this made for some air-sucking moments along the way, particularly when a small busload of Chinese tourists literally squeezed past our car.  Yikes!

The summit is otherworldly in the same way that the summit of Haliokola on Maui is (and I am certain I massacred the spelling because I didn’t bother to look).  The basalt columns jut upward in varying heights and are lined with low-growing alpine plants and the most tenacious eucalyptus trees that will never hope to reach the heights of their lower-growing cousins.

Hoping the summer hasn’t gotten any hotter where you are….

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