Monday 18th November continued…
So as I was saying, we were in Richmond and now wandering back along the other side of the town’s main street when we noticed a café. I‘ve not really mentioned so far that almost every building in Tasmania looked as if it came out of a history book – such a rare treat for us because buildings in Perth are just ripped down and replaced before they’ve had a chance to gain any character. The name of the café really caught my eye because, at a quick glance, I thought it said “Ma Footsies” but there was no ‘t’ tee hee!
We decided we’d earned something or another and went inside. The lovely old wooden floorboards creaked contentedly as we stepped along to a table and there were historic photos of Richmond on the walls. The lady that served us was really friendly and obliging and we ended up talking to her for a while about photography as if we’d known one another for years. We decided on a coffee for David, an iced coffee for me, and we shared a piece of carrot cake before getting on our way once more.
We didn’t get far before I stopped yet again to admire flowers that I haven’t seen since I lived in England. Tasmania was rife with them and it was such a joy. Thanks to my friend Dominique for naming these flowers, which are ‘Swords of Madera’.
This time David drove again and we headed back towards Hobart. This (terrible) photo gives you some idea of how hilly or mountainous most of Tasmania is, as well as the climb to the centre of the Tasman Bridge over the Derwent River.
But it was far from time to return to the hotel, so we decided to go to the peak of Mount Wellington while there was no cloud cover up there and we would be able to see the view as reward for our journey. This involved travelling along Davey Street past our hotel. If you want advice on finding anything in or around Hobart… just head down Davey Street, it seemed to be the route to everywhere! But we quickly came out of the city on the far side and then took a wrong turn. It was easy to figure out how to get back on track even if it wasn’t for Ms America, the co-pilot but, as we turned a right and headed under a road bridge we could not believe our eyes. The other side of the bridge can’t be called a hill, it was a veritable wall of road that we expected to hit nose-first! We’ve never seen a hill so steep and were convinced the car would start rolling backwards even if we made it half way up. Even David said “Mama!!!” like one of those dolls that you have to tip to get it to speak – well we sure were tipped! It was such a relief to get to the top and back onto a relatively flat road.
We continued on our journey and at one point I happened to glance to the right and was absolutely stunned at what I saw. We were now heading up hill with houses higher than the road to our left and, to the right, houses with only their rooves visible to us. However, their garages were on a level with the road, which meant that one end of each garage was supported by the road and the other was supported on pillars or poles quite literally as tall as a house! There is no way I could *ever* be in a car that was driven onto one of those – you have *got* to be kidding!!! We actually stopped on the way back and walked about a kilometre along here taking photos but, rather than put the photos later, now that I’ve been speaking about it, I’ll show you.
This gives a whole new meaning to ‘please will you take out the rubbish’, or ‘check the letterbox’! As you can tell, there are even more steps going out of the photo at the bottom left – you can see how steep the grass slope is anyway. Imagine mowing that? The little green letterbox is perched on the fence on the right of the ‘otto’ wheelie bin.
So now I’ve made the lay of the land clear, here’s one of the gravity-defying garages. As you can see, the garage is supported by a few wooden matchsticks!!!!! How on earth does that support the weight of one or two cars? One of them had a floor of wooden planks with gaps between and even David, who had told me I was being ridiculous with my horror at these things, said that he wouldn’t want to drive into that one. Just… wow!
On we went and the road got steeper, steeper, more winding, and of course, even narrower! Even the best of streets in Tasmania were only 2 cars wide and you couldn’t possibly stop on the side of the road anywhere – which meant quite a few missed photo opportunities.
As we climbed the mountain we were really surprised to see gates at regular intervals which could be closed to keep traffic out because of bad weather. In Perth it would be because of fire danger – here it was in case the roads were icy, or I guess in case the fog got too bad. We went through 5 gates in the end and thankfully all allowed access and we attained the summit.
At the top it was very barren and flat with a massive concrete tower and a radio mast and a pile of large rocks that constituted the final 2 metres ‘to the top’. Quite a few people clambered up this, including David – I hear no gasp of shock from you! A couple of people stayed at the bottom of it. One was me – no surprise there either, and the other was a man who confided “We’re up 1,260 metres – why bother with another 2?” I was briefly tempted to take him home instead of my mountain goat.
What can I say about the summit? Needless to say, we went to the edge that overlooks Hobart. Why do people drive for 30 minutes up narrow, winding, dangerous roads and look at where they were, safe and sound, 30 minutes ago? I can’t answer that, but it’s what we did!
And we weren’t alone. A few people went into this building to look out. Whatever inspired this shape? It looks like someone had a platform shoe fetish to me! And no you can’t see anything from in there that you can’t see from the viewing platforms in the fresh air that are further forward.
As we gazed at the tiny ten-to-a-matchbox buildings I said to David “Wow. I’ve been lower in a plane!” and he laughed.
Before we left the summit we found (after a search) the toilets and do you know what? There were 3 stalls for the ladies. Considering there were only 4 in the airport I was rather surprised at this. They were also really clean and modern and while you stood to use the hand basins there were 2 glass walls with views forever!
After we’d gone down the mountain and were near the crazy semi-suspended garages again we saw a garage (as in a petrol pumping garage) and it said in huge writing ‘Procrastitorium’ above the workshop. I liked that.
Finally we returned to our hotel, only to find that some nasty person had parked in our allocated parking bay! As we sat there wondering what on earth to do, one of the guys from reception came out. “Someone in your bay?” he asked. Obviously it happens a lot. He told us to park in one of the 2 visitor bays and that seemed to be our only choice. David went and looked at the permit on the other car’s dash-board and it turned out he’d parked in ours because someone else had parked in his, and that was true for 4 cars in a row. This situation continued until the very last time we needed to park here 3 days later and it seems, in the end, that reception had issued 2 permits for one bay and that’s where all the confusion was coming from.
So, believe it or not, we were still on the first full day of our holiday. We felt that we’d crammed so much into this day that it was almost unbelievable. But it was time for dinner and we decided to go next door to last night’s Indian to a restaurant named the Drunken Admiral.
On the outside was a very large cooking pot – think cannibals. We had seen 2 people climb into the pot for a third person to take a photo, but David declined doing this for me to take a shot. What a misery 😉 Once we’d gone inside, the décor was fantastic. All dim lighting and done out with heavy wood panelling, a booth with half a rowing boat turned up on end as the chair back and just a total feast for the eyes. I would have adored to be let loose with my camera, but there were people seated at many of the tables and, well, you just can’t point cameras at people can you? We asked if they could fit us in for a meal and the waitress had to ‘check with the maître d’, so we waited, suitably chastised for not having made a booking.
Eventually she came back and led us left and right through an absolute maze of rooms, all decorated in the most appealing way. We even had to duck under another large wooden ornamentation of some form as we went, and then she seated us at a 4-person table. Then there was a discussion between this waitress and another who looked a bit confused and we were asked to move to a 2-seater just up a few steps. Didn’t matter to us!
She left us with menus and we waited, and waited, and waited. Another couple were seated across from us and we ended up chatting about the slow service when eventually a waitress came to take their order. The couple very kindly said that we’d been there first and had not been seen yet, so we placed our order and wondered how many hours it would be before the food arrived.
Wham! Our food was on the table like magic. She couldn’t have had time to make it to the kitchen to tell them what we wanted, but it was there! I decided the kitchen had made a mistake on someone else’s order and we just happened to ask for what they had cooked by accident already. I could picture chef rubbing his hands in delight and saying “You beauty!!!” David’s ‘Yachties Seafood Mixed Grill’ was on a hotplate and the waiter said “You get to wear this!” and put a massive paper bib around David’s front and sealed it with a sticky fastening behind his neck. Really???
My meal was named a ‘Sultans Wok Pot’, promising ‘scallops and prawns tossed with market fresh vegetables in a cashew satay sauce’ and was very tasty indeed, though it was odd eating out of a wok, never mind one with a handle on it! I reminded David to turn his skewers on his hotplate to cook his prawns etc all the way through, and it seems he hadn’t heard the waiter say that anyway. Being David, I then got a lengthy lecture on ‘paying all that money only to cook my own food’ ha ha! Believe me, he did not get through that entire bowl of chips – there were enough to feed 4 hungry navvies!
The restaurant was packed and we enjoyed trying to pick what language a large table nearby were speaking. I’m still voting for Russian. One of the men was named Igor. They certainly were not speaking Italian as our friendly couple were guessing.
My drink took a very long time to arrive but came in the most unusual ‘glass’ I’ve ever seen in my life. It would have been more at home with a flower arrangement in it I think. It was pretty potent – though I was thirsty by this time and drank it a little quickly.
We were both full so when the waitress offered us dessert we gracefully declined – we were not willing to risk that it would take an hour to arrive either. Also to save time, we chose to be uncouth and pay our bill at the desk rather than wait for one to come to the table and then for it to be dealt with. Life’s too short you know?
And still we were not *quite* finished with our day, we had one last thing that we wanted to do, and that was take some night shots over the harbour.
Believe it or not, we then went back to our room, reviewed and backed up the photos of the day and went to bed.
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