When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

New Year’s

We are starting the new year in Tasmania. There is a food/wine/beer festival in the capital city of Hobart every year on the weekend nearest to New Year’s Eve. This year New Year’s Eve is Saturday night!

There is a ferry that leaves from Melbourne every morning and evening for the trip to Tasmania. It is a nine hour trip and I tried to make reservations a month before our travel day. No chance of a berth. The ferry was full for the entire last two weeks in December. I had made hotel reservations in July. I should have made the ferry reservation then too. After all I knew the travel day we must use to get to Tassie (as the locals call it) on time. There were several events happening at the end of the year that I had not known about. A sailboat race from Sydney to Hobart and a huge musical festival as well as the normal truck and car traffic traveling to Tassie. So when we could not get there by land we went to a travel agent and booked flight tickets and a rental car for the two weeks we planned to be there. And there it is, our home for the next two weeks. We have borrowed a tent and air mattress from Jeffrey and Helen, added our sleeping bags, blankets, clothes and toiletries and we are back on the road.







After a two hop (Adelaide-Melbourne-Hobart) flight where we hardly got to altitude before we had to descend and were served only a cookie and a glass of water/coffee/orange juice we needed lunch. So we went to the oldest pub in Australia (does this sound familiar). After a pint and lunch we looked up our hotel. I had reserved a hotel room, even though we were planning on having the van because the nearest campground required driving to get to the festival. And I planned to be in no shape to drive after the fireworks ended shortly after midnight on Saturday night.


We dropped our gear in the room and went to wander. The ships are the original discoverer’s fleet. The cartoon an irreverent take on Christmas in front of a pub.


We went to the oldest brewery in Australia where they had a Tasmanian Tiger behind the bar. They are now extinct and not as well known as the Tasmanian Devil, which still exists.


Lastly we check out the festival grounds (it runs all week) and then saw this on the way back to the hotel. A new building is being built but they have saved the front wall of the second and third stories of the old building. I can only guess that somehow they will become a decorative part of the new one. The white is a steel girder system holding it in place while the construction goes on behind it.

On Friday we went to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. It is in a suburb and has been highly recommended by many friends and our guidebooks.

On the left is falling water that spells out words. That one says “threat”. Look at the person to get an idea of its size. Right is “Unreadable”. A life size library without a single word or letter in it.

Then there was the display of 77 casts of life size women’s vaginas. Each different and taken from women 18-87 years old, virgin to prostitute, many different religions, jobs and sexual orientations. They are displayed on a black wall 30 meters (100’) long and individually spotlighted. On the right is a page showing one of John James Audubon’s original “Birds of America” books. (These were not in the same room!)

A lot of the “Modern” art was just downright weird. Left is “Cloaca Professional”, a defecation machine. They fed it twice a day and it pooped once a day. We were there at the wrong time to see it.

We spent over four hours here. Some art was beautiful, others weird. I’ve chosen to show you the more weird because the “Old” art you have probably seen in museums or books. Paintings, Egyptian relics, statues, carvings, are all familiar to knowledgeable travelers.

In another same room were these, made by two different artists. Left, a steel frame with hanks of rope on it. Right, bags of coal surrounding piles of coal (that you had to walk around or trip over).

At the entrance was this laser cut sheet steel lowboy truck with a cement mixer truck on the bed. A close up of the headlights is at left.



I think my favorite was “Lovers”. Two very stylistic motor scooters cuddled together.




As we left we saw these parking spaces right near the front entrance.




After walking and standing for several hours in this amazing and creative museum we were done for the day. We needed lunch and a beer and back to our room.

If you look at the picture of the brewery above you can see a mountain in the background. After lunch we decided we weren’t done after all and drove to the top of Mount Wellington. It is a volcanic core that is fairly flat on top with protruding columns of basalt. (Kathy is in the center.) Charles Darwin climbed it in the summer of  1836. It took him two days because the brush and rocks were so thick he had to turn back the first day. It took us about 30 minutes in a car. In the background and below is Hobart on the side of the bay.










It is now, finally, New Year’s Eve. The “Taste of  Tas” is having its big day. In the park next door is the Saturday Market and we spent the whole day and half the night here.


Besides the booths lining the inside of the huge building there are booths and music and busker's outside. All the booths to the left are craft Tasmanian brewery booths. The “Last Rites” was one of my favorites.

The theme seems to be “Angels and Devils”. I don’t know if that is every year or just this year. Lots of people, guests as well as vendors, were wearing some sort of costume.

These two are in the same booth selling wine.

All of the food here is of Tasmanian origin. No matter if the booth was selling sushi, Mexican, Vietnamese, or fish & chips themed food all of it came from Tassie.

The wines made here are very good and, like on the mainland, very inexpensive compared to similar US product.



In keeping with the devil theme Kathy bought a set of Tasmanian Devil ears.

On the right is what can be worn when New Year’s Eve falls in the early summer!

Tomorrow we are off to see more of the state. Tassie here we come.