I’m just settling into a lovely apartment (flat) on Battery Point in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. I believe I have found paradise. I’m still very much alive and all my senses are working overtime to take it all in. I have to remember to keep breathing. But let me rewind to day one, October 1st when I landed at the airport. I was picked up by the director of the Tasmanian Writers Centre, checked into grand old Hadley’s Orient Hotel (a warren of stairs and hallways, easy to get lost if you don’t pay attention), then dropped off at the Republic Pub to attend a public reading in progress and meet a few of the local writers.
The next morning Gina Mercer, a local poet, picked me up early (no jet lag yet) and whisked me off to Mt. Field National Park where she and a flautist friend accompanied Gina’s poetry reading with haunting flute music. They were part of a program kicking off Senior’s Week in Tasmania, along with aboriginal performers, speeches from dignitaries and a session of chair stretches and stress ball exercises.
Before the program I hiked up to Russell Falls, past a forest of fern trees and the tallest eucalyptus trees I have ever seen!
After lunch at the Park Cafe (a wallaby burger with the works) Gina and I drove up higher along a dirt track to a small alpine lake. Wearing warm clothing and using walking sticks, we hiked around the lake. I was surprised to see all the snow in what looked like a tropical forest. In fact, for a short stretch, we lost the path beneath the snow and had to bush whack our way through. At least there weren’t any biting insects and the snakes were still asleep.
And yes, there is occasional skiing up here though at this time of year (their spring) it can be rather dicey.
Now day 3 (still no jet lag, yay!) I’m settled into the flat where I’ll be for the 4 weeks of my residency. The view over the water to the other side of the Derwent River is stunning.
From the balcony I can see people fishing, boats cruising up and down, many sea birds wheeling by and occasional dolphins splashing as they surface.
The scene from my balcony a few hours later, fishing under the moon.
I’ve already walked to Salamanca Square, only a few minutes away, to stock up on food and drink. I’m sampling the local ciders to start off and plan to try the local fish specialties soon. But for now, back to why I’m here, to write, write, sip and write. Cheers!