Travelling after a pandemic: Destination Hobart

Hobart in June – Winter – Day 1 – Saturday

Overnight the rain began and hasn’t stopped.  It is cold, and the heater in the room is not quite adequate for the space it has to heat up.  Fortunately, the bed has electric blankets, and it was warm, lying wake listening to the raindrops.  That warmth makes it difficult to get out of bed, but this is a holiday, and we have to get motivated.

We have a balcony, and from there the bleakness of the early morning is stark, but at least the rain is light if not a fine mist.

Worse, it alternates between this fine mist and a short downpour, which means the umbrella goes up and down until you give up.  Later, the rain is not heavy, and just tolerable.

We head off to the Salamanca markets, happening only on Saturday morning.  Unable to walk long distances, we drive, about four minutes from our apartment, but miss a turn, it takes 10, then and 5 to assess the parking situation which, in the end, was the easiest part of this expedition.

The hardest part, walking among the very large crowd of people defying the rain and cold.  I can tolerate large crowds but today, they seem to want to stop suddenly, and just stand and talk in the middle of the walkways making it difficult to impossible to maintain any sort of continuity.

There were hundreds of stalls, the most predominant, micro distillers for some odd reason, selling expensive spirits for about $90 a 700ml bottle, which I regard as overly expensive.  My son has made Bourbon some years ago and it cost him about $10 for 4.5 liters, so it must be a lucrative sideline, even after you’ve added the excise.

There were a great many food stands, and choices, one of which was a curly potato skewer, which was interesting to say the least.  On a meat pie quest, we found a stand that sold pies, but they were warming a new batch, and the waiting line was about 50 or 60 people long.

I went back a half-hour later and they had sold out.  They must be one of the highlights of the market to be so in demand, and that people would stand in the cold and rain just to get one.

Having been defeated by aches and pains, the cold and rain, as well as the large crowd, and the absence of anything we wanted, it was fortunate that time had expired on our parking space.

We had contemplated finding a restaurant to have lunch, deciding it was time to have a proper meal rather than a snack, there didn’t seem to be any places open, and the cafes were packed.

This sparked off an odyssey to find a decent restaurant.

After leaving the markets, we find a road that follows the coastline.  Aside from houses either side, and at one point a marina and the Wrest Point casino, which was not a place we intended to visit, the further we went, the less chance it seemed of finding what we were looking for.

But we did find a tourist attraction, a shot tower, and a museum.

And a tea room that had afternoon tea.  Not exactly what we were looking for.  That said, and feeling like going any further would not fix the search parameters, I go to Google maps and search for restaurants near us.

There’s a Vietnamese restaurant, 6.1 km back the way we came, and being the best choice out of five or six others, we go.

And here’s the thing, it’s just around the corner from where we’re staying.  Go figure.

 But, there is a twist, we drive past one of the hotels that were recommended to us back at the apartments, so we go there, the Hotel Doctor Syntax.  We figure we’re more likely to get the vegetable component there than the other place.

It turns out to be a master stroke, getting steak, pork belly, roast potatoes, gravy, asparagus, and seafood on the side.  All having generous servings as one would expect from a hotel bistro.

The food must be great because they were full and had to turn people away.  We were very lucky to get the last table but one, and that one didn’t last very long.

After a long, leisurely lunch surrounded by warmth and atmosphere, we had one more stop.  Coffee and cake at Daci and Daci, a café recommended to us.

It was worth the experience, although it took some fortitude to fit it in after such a large lunch.  I suspect before we go back for a second visit, yes, it was that good, we will make sure we are less full of lunch first.  The cake I had was delicious but very filling.  The coffee?  Excellent.

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