Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hobart: Day One

Part of the requirements for applying for my new permanent residency visa are having a health check. This health check, however, can only be performed by doctors/centers who are certified to perform such a check. The only place in Tasmania that contains said doctors and centers is the state's capital: Hobart.

By car, it's about a three-hour drive (as opposed to driving by truck, which my husband does on occasion). This meant that we could either make a day trip of it, waking up ridiculously early and leaving whenever the health check was finished, or we could spend the night at a hotel.

Phillip and I decided that we would go for two nights, spend an extra day doing the tourist thing (since I haven't seen much of Tasmania or Australia other than the few towns we live by and one night in Melbourne), go out for a nice meal, and just enjoy ourselves and relax together, almost like a sort of mini vacation/ celebration of our nearly-one-year-anniversary. And to kind of make up for the fact that, in spite of our "one date a month" rule, we have allowed ourselves to get too busy or taken up with things this year to keep that up, even with very small at-home dates, and just wanted to spend some time together with no distractions. At least for one day.

We arrived Sunday night, after driving through what is some of the most beautiful and breathtaking scenery. Tasmania is just plain beautiful. And this is just the small portion of it that I've seen. Driving on the Heritage Highway was stunningly beautiful. Rolling misty hills surrounding golden or green plains, massive gum and other eucalypt trees scattered across pastureland and eventually joining into small clumps of trees and meandering into forest. The sky was nearly completely clear, except for a few massive clouds, so sunset was spectacular. And the thing about Tasmania is, the air is just CLEAN. There really is something about the atmosphere here, the air, that is just clean. So colors look crisp, clear, un-muddled, except by natural fogs or rains, and sometimes the smoke from houses. So driving along this highway through almost nothing but pastureland, what I saw was just... natural. I saw why Tasmania is called "Your Natural State".

Not that this highway went through nothing. We did go through a few towns. Like Baghdad, Epping Forest, and Brighton. We even passed The Walls of Jerusalem and the Lower Marshes (that last one made me feel very in the mood to read Lord of the Rings). But they were all so small, a few seconds and they were behind you.

But it was all only three hours. It was... weird. I'm used to 5+ hour road trips with, mostly my cousins, and a few friends. Depending on who I travel with, we have very few, if any, stops in that 5 hours. And pass a lot of nothing. Traveling 3 hours with my husband was, well, an entirely different experience. Especially when you get into a road-trip state of mind (you have to mentally prepare, you know), and you're done before you even feel you've started. But that's Tasmania, for you. At least the habitable parts. Small.

Unfortunately, we had dinner reservations we had to make, so we didn't stop to take photos of the beautiful scenery. You'll just have to take my word for it. Or look stuff up on Google Earth or something. I can't even do the "roll the window down and take photos while moving fast and HOPE they turn out well" because my brother-in-law broke the window a few years ago. It doesn't roll down ever. It leaves you with a nice trapped feeling.

Us, after a very satisfying meal
Dinner was at Mures. I larg-ish place on the docks in Hobart that apparently has it's own fleet of fishing ships. So, fresh seafood DAILY. Phillip and I were starved and ordered the two-tiered seafood platter that had cold dishes on top and hot ones on bottom. Basically a nice sampler platter for two. It. was. Delicious. Everything on there (except for maybe the first oyster, but only the first as the second was one of the best things I've ever tasted, and the muscles) was delicious. And FRESH. I mean, I've had fresh fish before when I've gone fishing with my dad and actually managed to catch something big enough to eat. But this... you could taste the difference. And prepared really really well. Really, I could rave about it all day, but that'd be more boring than the rest of my writing. So we'll just leave it at fresh and delicious, shall we?

The next day, Monday, we spent wandering around Richmond looking at historic buildings and landmarks, and further wandering around Hobart itself. But that is for a later entry, as I am tired and want to go to bed.

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