Hobart is a difficult city to describe, unless you have been there. It reminds me less of a city and more of a town, like Geelong - for example. However I can think of no city or town in Victoria that can compare to Hobart. It's just totally different. For example, coming over the Tasman Bridge felt like coming into a mini San Francisco - it just has that sort of layout. The hills are covered with houses, sloping down towards Hobart itself. Everywhere I went in Hobart sloped either up or down, except for the docks and Parliament. Hobart can be great for burning calories as you are either walking up or walking down, wherever you go. Each way I looked, I saw a hill or a valley. It just happened to be covered with roads and houses.
When first arriving in the city of Hobart, I described it as a "Wonderland". It has a strange feeling to it that is hard to explain. It feels like the past, I suppose. It's 1996 and that's a good thing. I loved 1996. A strange Neverland of dreadlocks, skateboards, punk rock, death metal, punk fashions that don't look try-hard, independent music shops, and best of all, a pub called Trout that seemed like the Punter's Club resurrected. It kind of had that grungy feeling of safety. We saw beautiful buildings untouched by redevelopment. "Quaint" and "Charming" were words that came to mind. It's also got a certain something. I don't quite know how to explain it. It needs to be taken seriously, I think. You can't joke about a place like this once you have been there.
The weather was hilarious. It wasn't cold. 19 degrees was the warmest and 16 was the coolest weather during the holiday. It got down to 12 degrees one night. I have heard so much about Hobart weather and to luck upon unseasonably good weather is quite amusing. On the first day we arrived in Hobart, it was windy. The biggest hazard was avoiding getting a chip packet in the face.
The Hobart Midcity Hotel was great. It had a big bath, you could smoke in the room, great shower, mini-bar, reasonable room service prices and to our delight, Austar TV. I didn't know what that meant until I flicked around the channels a few times. It means Foxtel.
One of the most useful things in the hotel was the "Do Not Disturb" sign. We left it up the whole time. And every day we got a new, ridiculously big bag of white towels, soap, and an inordinately large amount of shampoo left outside our room. How much shampoo does one person need? It's like getting a Christmas present every day.
The bath was fantastic. It was the most relaxed I have been in ages. The first and throat clenching terror I had felt on the plane just melted away.
The mini-bar was very handy - the prices weren't too bad considering the convenience.
$9 spirits, $5 Boags, $2.80 chips, $3.75 water. Okay the water and the spirits were kind of overpriced but considering we could grab any one of these items when the shops and the city had basically closed for the night, it wasn't such a big deal.
Also, we got 1 free night at the Hobart Midcity, saving something like $130! We booked it through the Flight Centre accommodation website, which finds some great deals from time to time.
The New Sydney Hotel was right across the road from the Midcity and had a great selection of beers. Many people have warned me about the Boag's vs Cascade rivalry. I didn't know that Boag's made an excellent low calorie "Blonde" beer. I did know however, not to confuse it with the Cascade Blonde we had at a place called Maloney's near the docks.
Somehow, I did it anyway - asking the bartender if the Boag's Blonde in my hand was a Cascade Blonde. He looked at me as if I was mad, then there was a pause.
I said "I just made the biggest Faux Pas ever, didn't I"
He looked at me with half pity, half a wry smile. "Yes you did" he said, and walked off.
The New Sydney had an outdoor smoking area as you can't smoke inside anymore. How annoying. At least the weather was okay. Here is a piccy of the outdoor smoking area at the New Sydney (which became a nice place to stop off from time to time!)
I'll leave this post in a beautiful setting, outside at the New Sydney Hotel drinking a Cascade Blonde. Argh! I mean Boags!!!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Hobart - Part #1