Seitenwechsel

Ich bin faul. Oder zumindest derzeit ziemlich schreibfaul. Irgendwie finde ich mit Jobsuche, etc. gerade noch weniger Zeit als sonst, um mich mal hinzusetzen und über meine Reise zu schreiben. Wie praktisch, dass Dave da viel vernünftiger war als ich und sich netterweise bereit erklärt hat, sein Reisetagebuch zur Verfügung zu stellen. Was folgt ist also der englische Bericht von David Powell, aus Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, unserer gemeinsamen Tage in Tasmanien. Ich habe ihn nicht überarbeitet, nichts ergänzt oder zensiert – so faul bin ich. Viel Vergnügen dabei, mal nicht meine langweiligen Texte lesen zu müssen.

15 FEB Tuesday

Welcome to Tasmania!

Warning: All snakes in Tasmania are poisonous, and the tiger snake is most active in February.

Had to dump my 1 piece of fruit in special container due to quaruntine in Tasmania. Dog sniffer was trying to find more on folks. Got bag and paid $8 to ride van to hostel. It’s really bright sun out! Blond German guy was in seat behind me and I started a conversation. He’s solo, usually has it all planned out as I do, been living in Brisbane but exhausted from the heat, so escaped here. I offered to share the trip with him, 9 days in car picking up tomorrow. He is considering. He is surprised to notice we are both wearing the Swiss Rail SBB watch! Wow. We stay at separate hostels. I check in with Tony, supernice 60′s gentleman. A French guy, Tony checks in behind me. There is some confusion on beds in the room Mgr takes me to, and he switches me to a girls room. One is from London, another from Germany.

As agreed, Christoph comes to my hostel at 6:30p and we walk the city. We find the famous Salamanca Marketplace, and walk along the harbor and decide on a place to eat. I only get calamari rings and we both like white wine so we sat outside on the harbor, watching the fading light and nearly full moon and Nice cool air, its absolutely idyllic. We are discussing all sorts of subjects, he’s lived in NYC for 9 months, and been to Yellowstone and other parks out west and speaks perfect english. He is diabetic. Twice we caught ourselves saying the same thing simultaneously. He is an atheist. Great! When he mentions the subconscious, I pull out my thought for the day I wrote down and show him. The restaurant has closed. It’s 10pm.

On the walk back thru the deserted city to my hostel, he decides to come with me in the car. Perfect! I’ll get the car and get him about 10:15 I tell him.

16 FEB Wed

Well as luck would have it, it was only a 2 block walk to Hertz and was there at the appointed time of 10am, but car not ready for 45 minutes, and again, as luck would have it, gal looks up the hostel number and calls, and front desk says Christoff is right there… perfect…. told him I’d be there but looking more like 11. I use the time to write down the dates and names and phone numbers of the places I have reserved for Christoff. Finally got the car, a Hyundai wagon, automatic, and drive up to North Hobart and he jumps in and off we go!

First stop is AlpenRail, a place I found while driving in 2006. Rudi and his dad from Switzerland spent 20 years obsessively making this HUGE lionel type scale model layout. We meet Rudi, I pay the $25 for both of us, and we see all manor of Swiss trains racing around the Berner Oberland and it’s very very detailed and realistic. Even darkens the room, and fog comes out of a machine, so realistic. Rudi says this show is coming to the end, just not making it, wants to have it instead of being open 7 days a week, go to just groups, and “have it as a hobby”. There is a place near Scoul in eastern Switzerland where he’d like to retire to. He did make it to Switzerland in July/August but launched into the awful negative story about missing EuroStar train and a littany of misadventures; wow, he is so focused on negativity, more than I remembered from visiting him in 2006. It was a great visit really, and off we went again on Route 1.

Very soon left Route 1 for A10 to New Norfolk where we found ourselves looking for the very historic Bush Inn, and parking outside the Tourist Information building. 2 gals and a man are there all so helpful, even telling us which is the better boat to take at upcoming Strahan. It’s after 1pm and we talk about lunch. The 2 gals say they are going to this wonderful cafe’ just down the street and why don’t we join them? We did! Laughed and joked, all ordered the porterhouse steak sandwich.

Kaye says when she was in the States, she heard Soup or Salad she’d always say yes, hearing supersalad! Ha! It works both ways! Kaye and I have the exact same matching business cards with a blue flower on it. We are blown away by this, then we show the gals our matching watches. I gave a gold dollar to Frieda and $2 bill to Kaye. Fl ended up buying lunch behind our backs for us! Wasn’t that Nice?!!! Wow. Instantly the restaurant owner lady, and the 4 of us each all chip in $5 and go next door and buy a 4 million dollar lottery tickets! Had our pictures taken with the winning ticket ! Sat nite is the drawing. Sure would be awesome if we won!!! I needed to buy some blank CDs for the car, and Kaye looks at me and says “Chicken Feed”. That was the name of the store across the street, and where I got a pack of them. Crossed the Derwent River and off we were again after a “real” Aussie lunch. Kaye has my card so she can contact me Sunday when we are winners.

64 km northwest of Hobart we pass Mount Field National Park. The landscape ranges from eucalyptus temperate rainforest to alpine moorland. It’s too late in the afternoon to do this, dang. Just when you think there is too much time here, we can’t do it all. Next trip it must be then.

We proceed another 90 minutes or so climbing higher and leave the hotter browner fields for tall trees. Yesss! Nice driving. Pass many many dead animals along the roadside. C says oh look at the wombat, gosh I thot it was a wild pig, but later confirmed a wombat. Lots of curves and up and down, very remote. Finally we approach our destination of Derwent Bridge, we turn into the national park but this is not where the accommodation is we’re looking for, turn around, there it is at this motel. The advertised backpacker rooms of $23 are now $30+$5 sheet rental Oh well. The rooms are single, that’s cool, but are like something you might experience if you were coming back after stringing electric cable all day or something. We’ll take them. C says first time in months he’s had his own room. Been working on an organic farm but living in dorm space. He’s not sure what he wants to do with his life still yet. He has a desk but no chair, and a reading light. I do not have any of that but I have a Gideon Bible and he doesn’t!

We walk along the roadway to town, just 5 different property owners, really nothing here… well there is the CalTex station but it closed at 6pm. We hear but don’t see any birds, I joke that they are really bose speakers. We joke that Derwent Bridge is quite the metropolis, etc..and are sharing the same sarcasm. As I am wondering about the entrance fee for the National Park here, I told C that it’s a pricey entrance but there was an option for one price for all of the National Parks. C whips out his outdated Lonely Planet book and says, $22 to get in to one, but $50 got you unlimited parks for 2 months. We try to guess how many parks we may want to visit. New price is $60 for unlimited parks, $24 each. I buy us 2 $8 glasses of chardonnay at the bar, and after looking at the menu here with wonderful choices but NYC prices for dinner with no alternative for miles and miles around… figured it was just too pricey. $32 travella, (blue eye) fish dinner, even $8 for a small dinner salad! Aussieland is exPensive! We go back to rooms and C shares an apple and el cheapo snack bar, I share some nuts/fruit and a real oatmeal bar. We’re good with that.

Then, the 2 ladies in the 2 ‘rooms’ next door to us, if you can call them that, from Brisbane, who were just on Burnie Island seeing penguins poured us some white wine and brie and bread, I shared some fruit and nuts and we had a grand time. As the sun is setting we all hear laughing kukaburras going at it. What fun! The mozzies were getting really bad outside. (mosquitoes).The ladies took us on a walk in the bush darkness to find wombats, but we didn’t find any. They said the snakes are only out in the daytime. Brushing my teeth, and drinking the water in the men’s shower bathroom, I realized too late the sign that was Not where I could notice it. “This is untreated water, boil before drinking” Yikes, was this out of the Derwent River here? Man, they need some better signage!

We retreat to our rooms, Christoff comes over and we type our laptops together another hour or so, while I play and burn some music for the car on to the CDs I got at Chicken Feed store, where, by the way, they do not sell chicken feed. I so appreciate Christoff’s company, and he does mine too.   He is very observant of cultural things and habits the Aussies have, and thinks the Pinnorsighn word is great and smiles when he hears it. He met his gurlfriend in Germany 2 months before he left for AU.

17 FEB Thu

Early morning heavy rain and a big roll of thunder announced our new day here in the bush. Got showers soon after 7am, and turned in my sheets at the bar of the hotel. Can you believe our hotel had the gall to ask $18.00 for a continental breakfast? I wonder if the Waldorf Astoria in New York charges as much. Because it looked like rain we drove to the CalTex and had a nice egg breakfast $11, with Excellent ($3.30) coffee. I asked the ladies who arrived later who were our n’bors to join us. Fun visit!

We go into the entrance to Lake St Clair, parked our car, sign said we could avoid the National Park charge $24 if stay less than an hour and only visit restaurant/gift shop. The gift shop/ part museum had great displays; history, and mounted animals like platypus, echidna, devil, spotted quoll, and various birds. On the exit out, I notice a wallaby, reverse back to get a better look and 2 of them cross the road in front of us, what fun. We’re off on our leisurely drive to Strahan on the far west coast, which lies at the heart of Tasmania‘s World Heritage-listed wilderness. The drive is really cool, tall eucalyptus trees, reddish meadows of some kind of vegetation. We knew there were like 5 places to stop on the way to go hiking. Every place we stopped it was either raining, or, when we did stop it started raining shortly after we commenced our hike, and it was back to the car again and try the next one. Disappointing indeed. I let C drive for a while, he did just fine.

When we came up to Queenstown, nearly denuded of all trees because of the old copper smelters and other mining, we went into town and parked. We got a few food items including 2 bottles of Chardonnay, ham sandwiches eaten right away. C wants to know what these signs OASIS mean. I ask and the Big Bargain Bottle shop guy says, that’s GAMING! You can play the pokies there, there’s just one place to do it now. We check out the railway station, train due in from Strahan in another hour, it’s still $129 for a coach seat up and bus back, and it’s beyond C’s budget.

We left route A10 and went down to Strahan at sea level. “Strahan is the gateway to one of the world’s last true wild river systems and the stunning Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and Southwest National Park. You can take a tour of the expansive Henty Dunes to the north, walk along the 30km Ocean Beach” http://www.strahanvillage.com.au/

First parked in town and went to the red boat office and their price was like $90, but I say we had heard it could be $67.50  Where’d you hear that? she asked, I showed her Kaye’s card and said the info at New Norfolk indicated this was possible, “Ah yes, we did advertise that price, that’s fine” and we bought 2 tickets for 8:30am departure, includes buffet lunch. I asked how busy it was and she said to my delight that Friday’s are there quietest days and only quarter full. Excellent! We wander some more, go to the information building, there is a recommended play starting at 5:30 entitled The ship that never was.. next to it. Watched a helicopter land on the dock, 2 floatplanes are parked in the parking lot there. Then we went off to find our hostel. Got it. Been writing to Deb who has a son in Sag Harbor and knew all about the bad weather we’d been having. I was here 2 nights in o6 and had to dig to find it again, as they dropped off during large renovations but were to be open by this time again, and all is well.

Deb Patrick

Strahan Backpackers YHA

43 Harvey Street

STRAHAN TAS   7468

Phone  03 64717255

Fax  03 64717511

email info@strahanbackpackers.com.au www.strahanbackpackers.com.au

We decide to take a cabin for 2, yes, $75/nite but split in 2 for our own space is good! Owner’s son has fresh salmon available for sale, and says they’ve seen a few platypus and young nearby stream as they told me in 2006. I still have yet to see one. Deb notices my smirk when she asks me Pinawsign.. and I tell her why. She sells us a wireless pass for our entire duration here for $12, a real bargain here. Done. The signal doesn’t reach our cabin but works fine in the kitchen/eating area. That’s alright. I get 40 emails, including an amazing one from Kaye from yesterday!

Hi David,

I hope you finally got on your way today after your visit to “ChickenFeed”.   We had not realized how odd the name must sound to people from overseas.  It really is a strange name.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to The Wall and were able to find suitable accommodation in the area.

The weather looks as if it is going to continue stable for a few days so your visit to Strahan should be enjoyable.

Should we have any luck with our lotto ticket on Saturday evening I will be in touch.

Safe travelling, bye for now.

Kaye.

Hi David,

Me again.  I was packing up after checking my emails and picked up your business card to put it away safely and suddenly noticed your sir name.

You will not believe this – the owners of the café where we had lunch today – their names are Barry & Majella Powell.

They say things come in three -  watches, business cards, names.

Bye again.

Kaye

Also I heard from Eric the East German guy who was at the Qantas business class lounge in HNL

I am happy to hear that you enjoyed your flight with us,  as you know, any flight is only as good as your crew.      The island’s on which I was stationed w/Qantas during 1964-65  are “Cocos Keeling Islands” in the Indian Ocean about 1800 miles of the Westcoast of Australia, 600 miles south of Sumatra. I believe the Island on which the airstrip is located is today being used as a detention center for refugees from SE Asia who are trying to sneek into Australia to ask for asylum . Many thanks for the photo you took of me in the Club. I hope you have a save and enjoyable journey ! Aloha,  Eric

How cool, all of this. We organize our room a bit, and set off again back to town, stopping at a post office where C gets some needed cash and pays me for what he owes me, and then on to People’s Park, where we park and walk an easy 45 minute return hike in the black gum/eucalyptus trees and tree fern lined pathway to an enjoyable waterfall. I am teaching C french because he wants to learn and he tells me more about his life. Nice to share.

We delay getting dinner by walking some more in town right on the waterfront. We did get a local fish dinner for a good price. Back to our A-frame cabin named the Blue Wren, (saw one yesterday), and we are both busily typing on our laptops. Our in-room portable heater works magnificently and we appreciate it every time we go out and come back in, taking the chill we’ve had in our bones all day.

18 FEB Fri

Day Boat ride up the Gordon River will be our highlight today.

We just snacked on things in the kitchen for breakfast, did e-mail, I sent out a trip report update 2 of 5, heard that it was not 3F in Indy but 68F! Anyway, we went to town, parked the car for $2 for the day, and at 8:30 boarded our lightly patronized big red catamaran boat in perfect sunshine. What a contrast to yesterday. A German lady is wearing a Costa Rica t-shirt with blue morphos  butterflies on it. We had a nice chat and talked with Christoph some too. He is rather quiet most times. We continue to employ our newly coined currency standard: “Continental Breakfast” = $18.00 which is what it was there at Derwent Bridge Motel.

We watched this lobster boat, “Climax” unload boxes of live lobsters (called crayfish here) into smaller crates on a truck. One guy was only using his hands with no gloves. A few got out and “walked” with their tails around. Funny to see.

The crew cast us off and we shot out of the dock at 30 mph or so for a while to the entrance of the ocean, and captain explained the seas were very unusually calm and we were able to venture out slowly thru a tricky narrow entrance called “Hell’s Gate”, named because it’s where those English prisoners came in the late 1800′s to Sarah Island here to do their time of hard labour and it was hell. We were out into the ocean for a bit with a nice view of a really tall lighthouse. Then past the fish farms, and a guy was shooting water with a hose loaded with mackerel food pellets for the fish, all caged in. Stopped at Sarah Island for a walk and a guided narrated tour if you wanted. It’s an exceptionally sad place really, with lots of gory stories of scurvy, hangings, terrible food, and generally miserable experiences. Crumbled brick buildings were all around. The trees that were all gone then are back. 500 people lived on this small place in the middle of absolutely Nowhere. Seemed a really small place for that many people to support.

Then back on our catamaran boat the EAGLE to start up the Gordon River, slowed way down… no sign of human habitation, not even a vapor trail from a plane. There was a big fight over a proposed hydroelectric dam on this river, but when it became a World Heritage Site, the Feds prevailed and no dam was built. Amazing result was: the dam was to be built for electricity for industry to employ people, but the tourism that has resulted from bringing them to this wonderful unspoiled river with huge primary forest exceeded the industrial benefits! Good on them!

Then we were invited by groupings to the bountiful buffet lunch back on the boat, and we got off for a walk 30 minutes in the temperate rain forest, mosses, very green and intense. Tiger snakes are usually here but didn’t see any. This was a really nice easy boardwalk walk. Most enjoyable.

Then a slow cruise on the glassy unspoiled river offering good reflections from the tea coloured water, really pleasant, and imagined being on the Amazon it was so remote. Then fast again in the open water It was a 90 minute ride back to Strahan and we spent all of the trip up on top deck in the breeze and best views. So remote and wild.

On arrival we were deposited at the arrivals dock and watched a demonstration of old tyme saw cutting Huon pine wood, so strong with no sap, very valued and lasts a long time in water. Looked at the stage for tonite’s locally produced, “The ship that never was” and headed back to camp. We changed into shorts, and drove 7 kms to Ocean Beach. Just a handful of people there and we went for a very long walk on the deserted beach, fighting with irritating black flies the entire time. Noticing a rainbowring around the sun in the high haze now forming. I sense it will rain tomorrow. We drive back to the IGA on the edge of town and do a food shopping, including one whole chicken. We organize in our room, I go out to cut up the chicken. Goodness, it has stuffing already cooked in it. We dine outside with our Australian Penford’s Chardonnay, followed by my treat of strawberries and “Tim Tam” black forest wafers. What fun. The German ladies we met are staying here too, they go to Lake St Clair after brkfst tomorrow. The one lady goes to Costa Rica every year for 3 months.

Christoph unable to call ahead for reservations as his phone says only good for emergency calls for some reason, I email ahead to Gowrie Park folks to tell them now there are 2 of us, and seems best to shorten the stay to 2 nights vs 3 so I tell them. We’ll maybe stay in Launceston instead, and it’s more on our way to the next night at Bridport on the north coast. Darkness and complete quiet descend on the youth hostel campground. Many more adults than kids here for sure. Good place and again, so cool to be sharing a cabin/hut here too.

Night #2 at Strahan Backpackers YHA in hut “Blue Wren”

19 FEB Sat

It rains lightly on and off all night. Walking in the drizzle in the middle of the night to use the bathroom was no big deal. It was warm enough we didn’t have to run the room heater that felt so blessed good the night before. We’ve bagged the train ride, the only other big activity to do in town besides the Gordon River cruise, and we have no game plan for today so we sleep in. I hear the train leaving blowing horns at 10. We’re up soon after that. I am thinking laundry day and haircut day today. Christoph asks me first thing, “Do you know what today is?” I say, “Yes, Saturday the 19th, the day we win the lotto.”    He says, “Exactly!”

I get confirmation of the changes in my reservation for Gowrie Park and Bridport, so C is covered now. And I make one for the youth hostel at Launceston as we’ve cut short by one of 3 nites at Gowrie Park, so that’s all set now. We show each other funny videos, and I find some couscous and some garlic in the “free/sharing” box, and cook it up with the leftover chicken for our lunch. A bit bland, but filling. As last nite, C volunteers to do the dishes. Still rains off and on all day; man o man we were lucky to be on the boat Yesterday. Weather forecast shows the UV levels which have been at “very high” every day, I’m sure we got a massive dose of rays yesterday between being outside so much on the boat and walks coupled with our Ocean Beach walk. This may have added to our sleepiness. C is very sensitive to getting sunburn, and got some color, but I hear no complaints.

The haircut place is the only one in town and was told you need an appointment over a week ahead. We did do a laundry, $2 wash and $2 dry. Did some reading and all day it showered, stopped over and over and at one point got totally sunny and warmed up but didn’t last long. Gowrie Park where now we’ll be 2 nights can cook us dinner and I have that reserved but we must fend for ourselves for a 2 breakfasts and lunch, and there is nothing else anywhere around for food. C Loves pancakes so at the IGA he got flour, sugar, eggs, and milk that doesn’t need refrig until after opening, etc to do it from scratch. No syrup, we both prefer raspberry jam! Cool. Well, the only crumbed travella in town is $30 and settled instead for the same local fish place but had batterfried flathead instead, perfect. During dinner, on our eve of winning the lotto, I ask C “Do you know the name of this song they’re playing?” He listens…”I believe in miracles”. “Exactly” I say. Got another bottle of chardonnay at Molly’s, now we have 2 so we don’t get caught short. We, after all, are going to be millionaires between the 2 of us tonite! Also got a nice ice cream there. Now it’s become clear to me, when the cashier says the price they immediately says “thank-you”. Now buying the ice cream bar for “Three dollars fifty thank-you” makes sense, because at these prices I think I’d say it right away too. :)

On the awning of the white boat office is a collection of things to see and do, including a Thylacine exhibit. You’d think that would be a chemical or a rock, you’d be wrong.. it’s a recently extinct animal like a long dingo dog or something. When we inquired she says, “Oh, that’s at Cradle Mountain” (where we go tomorrow).

C is off entering a contest online with his ice cream cone top offer. I am getting little sprinkles on my laptop that look like diamonds on our little porch with 2 chairs. Turned on the heat, it’s going to feel good tonite.

Night #3 at Strahan Backpackers YHA

20 FEB Sun

Rained again all night…and got real windy overnight and a lot of peeling bark from the gum trees is scattered about. Checked email once more, no winning email from the ladies in New Norfolk yet, but I’m sure we won. Drove thru Zeehan, listened to Ms Byron Katie on CD and had a discussion about it. Climbed higher and higher to the entrance to Cradle Mountain. It was certainly wild and wooley there, very windy and driving rain. We ran inside the info place, and checked out some information. Had a hot chocolate and split a lamb wrap and checked out the gift shop. Both of us decide we have no interest in hiking in driving rain, but we did go to the end of the parking lot to check out the helicopter, and back to the car. It was nearly like they were having a storm there.

On the way out we went to a great photography gallery ($7) combined with a Tasmanian Tiger, aka Thylacine exhibit. Really well done, all of it. C and I particularly liked a photograph taken of a tree in the middle of the night with a clearly defined milky way. Awesome. Seemed All of the prints were exactly $450.– ea thank-you. Well worth the visit, and sampled free tastes of many different kinds of honey. Leatherwood was there, apricot, but I thot the golden bee honey was the best.

Then on down the mountain…. winding and twisting, pouring rain one moment, brilliant sunshine the next. In rain I pulled off to go to a dam but when we go there it was sunny. We could see hydro pipelines coming down to a generating station as well as a dam with new resevoir. Nice place to stop, and met a couple visiting from Ottawa originally from Scotland there.  Then on a bit and just before our place for the night, we drove 5 kms to a lookout place in glorious sun, and marvelous view of the valley and mountains as the winds were howling against the trees and scrub. Fantastic.

On down to check into Gowrie Park Wilderness Village aka Weindorfer’s.

http://www.weindorfers.com.au/tasmania-caravan-park.html info@gowriepark.com.au Backpacker room – $20per person had our own room with a bunk in it. Desk and chair.

Lloyd and Lucy Meakin Gowrie Park Wilderness Village Tasmania – Caravan Park, Cabins & Camping, 1447 Claude Road, Gowrie Park, Tasmania 7306.

We got our bedding and went to our room #7 which was a small box but with one bunk bed, and desk and chair and a bible. I took the bible and put it on top of the refrigerator with the rest of them. Unfortunately dinner is $26 which I had signed us up for, and they tried to just bring it to our picnic tables vs the restaurant. We are the only diners tonite, but you know for $52 they can open it for us. We chose Tassie salmon. I think we’ll cancel tomorrow nite’s as this is too pricey.

Weindorfers Restaurant is open daily for dinner from 7 – 9p

After checking out the kitchen, and new shower place I renamed, “The $100,000 shower and toilet plaza” C drove us on into Sheffield, a pleasant 15 min away. We saw their famous murals all over town, and visited with the info gals until closing 5pm, and walked the town making many funny comments about it. Chinese food and homemade ice cream place for example. A woman that makes marbles and ships them all over the world from here, including to the Chinese. An ad for bread used the exact Amtrak arrow on it! Drove back in bright sunshine and green ‘Swiss’ pasturelands.

Wireless is here, free, but neither one of us can access the impossibly weak signal. We open the bottle of chardonnay, and we’re both feeling it for some reason. We walk up in sunshine up the road to the dining hall. We see more wallabys on the way, dark as they are in color, I never saw a one last time here. Dinner was absolutely fantastic. I asked if the carrots were cooked in honey. “Yes!”, she says, smiling appreciatively, “in leatherwood honey”. Wow. What a treat! We even had a pricey desert, all really excellent, new owners have maintained the high dining standards that I remember. The place was falling apart apparently and heard her say it all started when they stopped here to buy some milk, and saw it was for sale 2 years ago and bought it. We met a talkative couple from Toronto area, who came in later for a bowl of pumpkin soup. We hear the owner lady say she drinks the tanin / tea water just running out here and the roof water and has no problems. Gosh, 2 kinds of untreated water. I thought the person before me forgot to flush, it’s the natural water they use.

Fun time. C and I really enjoying each other’s company. C is smiling more and we are really sharing more the same funny, sarcastic comments together, about Thylacine, continental breakfasts, Derwent Bridge, Pinorsign, goofy religious teachings, and much more. It was a good day despite the rain. Now on laptops 9pm in the common area with sofas and a fireplace going. Feels good, a bit smoky. Still haven’t heard from the ladies about the lotto yet. We imagine them partying too much to e-mail us. A young couple is playing ping-pong behind us landing the ball on us a few times, and a salt n pepper couple here too.

C and I talk till late still laughing… he said the coolest thing… like we might not be able to make Hobart because both of us would still be laughing so hard. I am talking to him sometimes also about being more hopeful that he will find what it is he wants to do, vs reinforcing for himself this is the case.

21 FEB  Mon

Our in-room oil radiator heater did it’s job, just enough heat….have a real leaky window and it blew a lot in the night. Used the toilet/shower plaza in middle of the night, and wallabys were just out there on the lawn like rabbits, but didn’t run away at all. Rained hard at times, still very windy, but less periods of rain. A large rainbow was there when got up to shower, ($1coin for 5 min) still lite sprinkles but promising sun. C made pancakes for breakfast from scratch. They turned out pretty good with raspberry jam on them just the way we like them.

And off we go for a long hike up towards Mt. Roland..gosh this whole camp is surrounded by mountain peaks, really cool when the sun is out. Walked up a gravel road they were working on, then thru a scrubby meadow, forest, and tall trees all in brilliant sunshine… talked about our favorite movies and actors etc..he’s a movie fiend, and has many at home. It was really a most enjoyable hike, climbing up higher and higher…getting greener and mossier and damper as we went. Saw a couple of solid yellow worms and a few bird noises. Not much other nature. On up we climbed steps for a while, C inclined to go to the top, and I happily drop off and he sprints ahead and does make the saddle of rock up there, but didn’t hike the additional 1.5 hours to Mt Roland itself, but got some good pictures, said it was very windy and cold and ate a pancake up there. I left him a note where we were to meet back posted to a tree about dangerous Thylacines, and walked down a bit out of sight; he was amused.

‘Twas harder coming down than going up really. Saw 2 big black snakes just off the trail, slithering away from us. Saw some wallaby in the lower elevations and just before getting back to camp, C spots amazingly enough an echidna! Wow, quills and hair on it’s back, it just froze in fear of us, we just photo’d and left it in peace. We joke about having it for dinner. Nearly 3:30pm getting back, microwaved a bowl of soup and got on laptops. I am treating C to dinner tonight, he said he did not want to eat here (price and I don’t blame him!) but I did reserve dinner whilst here, and want to support the owner’s efforts here, and the food is great, plus mostly I did it because I so appreciate C’s company on this trip. Done.

Sent a comical email to Kaye, hoping to hear something from her. Talked with a gal in the lounge from Amsterdam who worked in a bank in Sydney. Anyway, we sat down for another gourmet dinner in the dining room here at 7pm. We watched wallaby on the way up, and honeycreepers of some type and 2 other birds are sipping away at the nectar from the multitude of orange droopy flowers out our window. C watched wallaby jumping and I talk with the next table about the large plovers (birds) milling about, she tells me that when they have eggs they’ll fly right at you, and have spurs but peel off a the last second. Dinner set me back $80 with wine, salmon and dessert, but I was completely unconcerned about it. C shares more about his life, and we really have nice conversations together, easier when you get to know someone better, share a sense of humor and have many things to discuss and seem to have shared a near immediate trust, (tho he claimed he’d done something terrible in Germany today and needed to escape!) I just can’t say what a difference meeting him and traveling together so completely harmoniously and in joy has made for my trip here. We overhear owner lady say some folks want a refund when they see the apparently perfectly safe teawater. A shame.

Finally the wind has died down, and winds are calm. Still light enough to see walking at 8:45. No fire in the fireplace tonite in the common room. Libya sounding like civil war, so far away.

Gowrie Park Wilderness Village 2nd night

22 FEB  Tues

After my shower, went to the kitchen, talked with the hiking Aussie man a bit who told me about a woman staying here with 2 wombats in her room.. then she shows up… when C gets back from the shower plaza I tell him to come to the kitchen asap with camera. He does and we both take turns holding “Suzie” one of the 2 wombat babies she has, different mothers, both hit by cars, both babies rescued. She has to take care of them another 9 months! She says they have a hard bone in their butt and when they stick their head in the ground, they can hurt a would-be predator by crushing butt against the hole. What fun!

Owner lady shows up says kids go to school K-10 in Sheffield, 15 KMs away but beyond 10th, is way up in Devonport. It’s a sunny day, no wind, and we’re hearing next few days should be nice. Very unseasonal to have this much rain here, normally is the dry season. She also says the restaurant is for sale, as they start early, busy all day, restaurant until 10pm, then look at e-mails. Should be a nice drive today, we have caves and a wildlife park to look at if we want, and not all that far to drive, plenty of things to do in Launceston too, aka “Lonny”.

So, leaving the key in the room we set off once again, taking some back roads…and we went thru a small village named Paradise, not impressed…just pastureland, and not very nice at that. Our first stop was the limestone caves near Mole Creek, The high entrance fee stopped us cold, then she offered 2 for about $28, almost did it, was left up to me, but last minute turned it down. She said Paradise was named for the benefit of the cows. That made sense. She did offer us a short walk and we did walk on a really quite wonderful shady pathway that crossed a stream 3 times. C spots some dangling worms on their silk line obviously designed for lucky birds I thought. Really beautiful walkway and for free.

Next stop was for free honey tasting. C Loves free honey tasting and tasted approximately 21 there. I really liked the cinnamon and hazelnut the best. We learned a lot about bees and habits and all the many uses for honey, even cures athlete’s foot! Really a fantastic exhibit. Learned about how Argentina is destroying beehives with grazing and soybean production. A whole store was nothing but beeswax, honey and bee products, even honey ice cream. I bought a ridiculously overpriced packet of honey almonds there and we left.

Next stop was 41 degrees south, a fascinating place growing salmon in tanks and ponds using creekwater, feeding pellets to them, which we did ourselves, and a wetlands to filter out all the bad stuff from the fish. Big emphasis on being environmentally responsible. We had a free sample of some smoked salmon, and some mousse. Really good. Took the walk all around the property ($10) partially accompanied by Ben, and handsome energetic son of the owner who started it all 10 or so years ago. Almost got attacked by a big goose who I think wanted fish food. They grow ginseng and other veggies there too. Had salmon lunch on the patio and listened to Ben and dad talk about their need for refrigerated transport to the mainland. Ben used to work for SRT logistics. I told him I did jobs for SRT in Houston! Ha! Bought an overpriced small plastic cup of salmon mousse for $7 and wished them well in their venture and took off to the city.

Drove through more countryside and wound up on downtown Launceston (lawn-sess-ton), and with C’s help we easily found our hostel. It’s a big old house it is! Tall ceilings. Carmencita checks us in, $23, and is from Palermo, Sicily. Yes, was there with my buddy Judge in 2008 and when I said we went to Taormina, she smiled and said softly, “Taormina is beautiful”, as if she longed to be back there. We have room #28 upstairs, upper bunks for both of us in our 4 man room.

C has the city map and we are off for a walk all all over the city; Waterfront, boardwalk, find the place I had crumbed travella, and we sit for an early picnic dinnah of it, I shared it with C. Excellent! Been looking forward to this fish since arriving. Done. Looked for a bookstore for C, he needs some books to read but the new ones have really crazy high prices, even for paperbacks! He located one to come back to the next day. On returning to the hostel after much walking we walked thru the city park that had the Japanese monkeys in it, but they were not out during certain hours; a mystery where they went the rest of the time. I suggested we take a park bench together and just relaxed in the nice shade under a massive tree and enjoyed the light breeze of perfect temperature, and had a nice chat. Older man from Bratislava is one of our roommates, and other guy a med from Egypt. We had lots to talk about. Bratislava says Christchurch got hit by a major earthquake, airport closed. Sure enough it’s all over the TV in the lounge.

City of Launceston for the night

23 FEB Wed

Drove to McDonalds first thing for an egg and coffee breakfast, and free wireless there. Slow connection but Nice to catch up. Then to the gorge for a really fantastic walk across a suspension pedestrian bridge, lookouts, and trails along a river. Really really nice walk ! An overhead dangle-leg chair lift was moving ever so slowly with folks riding over the water. Then to C’s bookstore where he swept up the first 3 Harry Potter books, very dear to his heart. Collected my salmon mousse I had forgotten at the hostel, we inhaled it right there in the kitchen and set off again. C begins reading Harry Potter. I am enthralled immediately. We go to the big Platypus House on the Tamar River and the Seahorse place, but offering a lovely $20 entrance fee that again, just stopped us. We are amused greatly by a Christian version of creation section offering books and misguided ‘information’ on non-scientific views of the planet at the SeaHorse place, of all places!

From there to Batman Bridge, named for John Batman who left Tassie and formed a city called Melbourne on the mainland. Nice modern architecturally inspired bridge. I bought some cherries, apricot, and a funny sounding fruit that was a cross between an apple and a pear from a local vendor right there in the parking lot.

Then onwards, C happily reading with perfect expression and emphasis the Potter book. I am really enjoying this!!! Driving thru beauty (and some more roadkill) on a beautiful day, with a trusted new friend who is Joyously reading to us a highly entertaining book. Folks, it just doesn’t get much better that this! We arrived at our seaside village of Bridport faster than we thought. A simple seaside place, 2 bunk beds in our room #1, free wireless.

Relax into the holiday atmosphere of Bridport during the summer months, when the local population of 1,350 almost triples with holidaymakers. Enjoy white sandy beaches and outdoor dining. Sample some of the local specialties including scallops, lobster and trout from Australia’s first freshwater rainbow trout farm.

Lloyd e-mails me South Island trains are not running and suggests I change plans to fly to Wellington instead which I will do. Christchurch continues to have bad aftershocks, this earthquake really a long-delayed aftershock from the September earthquake but this one much closer to the surface which wreaks more havoc.

We are off on foot to the nearby bay and beachfront. We walk along, 2 boys are in the water and trying to go under. Cold water. I find us a place in the shade of the sun, lean against a fallen tree trunk and C plunges back into the book and reads to me. I am in heaven. I do think he is enjoying reading to me as much as I am hearing him read. A cuckoo bird alights right over our head in a tree, trying to eat something in it. Damn, this is just SO IDYLLIC !!!! The waves making gentle noises, the beach, perfect fresh air. I don’t want this to be over, C keeps reading and sipping water keeping his golden voice able to continue. I see his shoulders shaking with the cold, and say something, he says he’s okay, and plods on reading. We were there a long time. Such a great well-written story I am finally learning to appreciate.

We walk the beach on the way back, passing 8 big beautiful rose-breasted and white capped parrots eating something together under a pine tree. Cool. Saw 3 oystercatcher birds on the way back to our room. Then the parrots are flying around. Wow, so beautiful. We drove just down the road to a fish takeaway place and we both get crumbed travellla, C with chips. We split a bottle of chilled chardonnay we had put in the frig and I open a can of chick peas and we feast away. C reads Potter until nearly midnite and I follow every word. What a truly wonderful day indeed this was.

24 FEB Thur

Drive to Hobart day down the east coast of Tassie today.

Kind of a lazy morning, though we have a long way to drive today. Between talking to a few other guests, making coffee, trying to offer all my cherries to use up, and typing trip, and doing email we don’t get out of there until 10am. We are going first east, and hear “lumber trucks do cut corners” on the winding, twisty roads. C is reading along all day for us. We hear stopping for a cheese place and waterfalls place is really worthwhile, also a pub where a pig there drinks beer. Well we were ignored at the free sample cheese place so we left, and the walk to the waterfalls thru dense green myrtle and tree ferns over a creek; our last chance to spot the elusive, nocturnal duck-billed platypus, again, to no avail. Oh well. We blew past the pub, but totally lucked out in the town of St. Helens for the only fresh fish they had of the day, travella, my favourite. We both had it, on a small floating boat. Awesome. Really wonderful fresh delicious natural tasty travella. Guava soda to wash it down from the 4-pack I bought in Strahan which seems at least a month ago now.

Onwards with more exciting drama of Harry Potter, I am hanging on every word. C stops intermittently to sip water, I want to keep him happy to keep reading. I point out cool scenes along the coastline if I notice he’s not looking up at them. I pull off randomly and go down a short drive to Spiky Beach, apparently named after an out of service bridge with spiky stone on the sides. Wonderful. It’s nearly a private sandy beach with a few long sea kale? strands and nice big rocks with a fantastic background of hills and islands. Wonderful scene. Small waves make the most soothing sound to us. Loving it. Great place for a day or a picnic.

Coles Bay and the 2.5 our walk to Wineglass Bay in Freycinet Park with pink granite peaks known as the Hazards is highly recommended, but we have not the time to drive to do this.

I can hardly believe as much as this place is written up, the r/t from the parking lot says 2.5 hours walk to it. Then thru more Italian sounding towns making good time now on better roads. Many scenes of very different landscapes, all enjoyable to see. Finally through Sorrell last town before Hobart Airport. At the airport area, C spots an indication that the AIRPORT MOTEL said Quality in it, he is often so perfectly helpful in places like these, alas that is it. We get our nice room, unload the car and move in.

Quality Hotel Hobart Airport (25,000 pts   used for free night including no wireless or breakfast.

1 Holyman Avenue , Hobart, TS, AU, 7170    Phone: (61) 3 6248 3555

I want to get rid of the car tonite. Hotel can pick us up from Hertz. No restaurants other than the usual overpriced hotel food. Clerk in error says no food at airport. Then right back out, gas up, (total gas C paid for was about $125 but that was the deal; my car rental was $300) and we drive back the 8 Kms to Sorrel and walk nearly the whole town before deciding on Chinese – instant food. Filling. I don’t charge C for the room and just give him all my Aussie money $22? and ask him to buy dinner. C buys me a special chocolate bar later at Woolworth’s and I see for sale at mall butcher shop: Roo meat, crocodile tail fillets, quail, rabbits. We return our trusty wagon to Hertz quite easily. Superfriendly agent offers to drive us back to the Quality Inn and turns out she Loves the Harry Potter books and movies and encourages me to do it all. It was as if C had talked to her earlier.

Back in our room, we put desired pictures on USB drive and do an exchange. C plays some music and I get organized for Friday. C will ride the shuttle with me at 9:20 to the airport and take a shuttle bus back to downtown Hobart. C reads to me one final time from Harry Potter book 2. Endings of chapters leave me on a cliff, so he continues, and I feel my eyes starting to drop without my permission. The next chapter ends without any drama, and I fade, picturing Harry being rescued from his mean aunt and uncle in a vehicle that floats outside his bedroom window… and we drift off to sleep.

25 FEB Fri

Up soon after 7:15am. Shower. Paid the $5 for an hour of internet. I am canceling everything on the South Island of New Zealand to my great disappointment. Christchurch really is a disaster area and having more aftershocks, etc., making it clear not to even attempt it. Main objective was to ride the 2 great TranzAlpine trains and hike at Arthur’s Pass in great beauty but now all of that planning and research and anticipation must be left for another time. Dang!

Lloyd is working on refunding train rides on south island, I send cancellation requests to youth hostels, and Choice Hotels cancels one res over the phone in Christchurch but other hotel won’t let me out of a revenue reservation; alas I am beyond the cancellation time; tho site said rooms unavailable as they are needed for rescue personnel. I get the hotel’s number and sick Lloyd on them at the front desk and he gets me released from the $85 obligation. Good. Well, I am getting money back but would have rather gone as planned of course. All part of the travel experience.

With perfect timing, we have a relaxed check-out and van ride over to the simple Hobart airport. Qantas wants some kind of proof I have a ticket out of New Zealand, good grief, I can hardly believe they don’t have all of that right in front of them. My paper itinerary suffices instantly. I ask at the Qantas Club lounge if I can bring in a guest, C and I use our laptops taking advantage of the free wireless.

It is time for me to fly, we know how much fun we had, C gets a bit quiet, and we have a brief hug, and we wish each other well on our travels, and are off on our separate ways for the first time in 9 days. Damn I had fun sharing with him. He showed up at just the perfect time for me.

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5 Responses to “Seitenwechsel”

  1. Hmm, vielleicht hätte ich das doch mal lesen sollen, bevor ich es veröffentliche. Aber 8.000 Wörter? Da lese ich doch lieber weiter Harry Potter…

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