This week’s prompt is … Early Bird
This is appropriate as during our first week in Hobart, we have been walking on the beach before breakfast, some days catching the sun rise from our balcony, sometimes from the beach.
Hobart is the capital of Australia’s island state of Tasmania. It was founded in 1804 as a penal colony, the second oldest capital after Sydney.
It is nestled on the banks of the estuary of the River Derwent, surrounded by hills and mountains.
We’ve had beautiful weather during our first week and we’ve enjoyed exploring the city and suburbs.
View of the city and the Tasman Bridge.
Federation Square in the city.
Beaches close to the city.
Blackman’s Bay Beach.
Seven Mile Beach.
… I hadn’t thought of this …
I know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Here, the sun is in the northern part of the sky. Estate agents comment on the benefits of a north facing aspect.
So, when looking at it, the sun moves from right to left across the sky. That’s going to mess with my sense of direction and inbuilt navigation.
Tonight, it’s a clear night and I could see Orion, but it was upside-down to my usual view.
.. or this …
In an emergency, my instinct is to dial 999. I just heard a news report of a serious house fire and that a mother called triple zero. I’ll have to remember 000 and hope I never need to use it.
Choosing somewhere to live is an interesting process.
Aussie Mate and I first met when house sharing, back in the day. When we married our first home was determined by the mortgage we could afford, transport links to our jobs, and family friendly area as we wanted kids in our future.
When we moved fifteen years later, our next house was determined by space for two teenagers, two bathrooms and separate utility room, garden, proximity to schools, shops, local transport and commuter links.
Now, it is just the two of us, looking for a rental property for six months. What are our criteria?
Do we want city living, high rise, an apartment with harbour views, or close to the water with beach views?
Hobart is hilly, so do we mind having a steep drive way, with views across a valley to opposite hillside?
Do we want to be north of the city on the river, or south of the city where river widens to estuary, or further south where it’s tidal and you can see open water of the Southern Ocean?
Do we want to “go bush” and live amongst the trees and forests away from the city in a small rural community?
Do we want apartment, unit, house, villa, town house? Do we mind whether it is brick built with tiled roof, wood cladding with a tin roof, or modern concrete apartment block?
Let’s start looking.
Monday and things to do, people to see.
What order do you start to organise things?
We picked up a hire car, so we can now drive around the suburbs and get a feel of the different areas of the city and surroundings.
We visited the bank and sorted out accounts that had been set up for us from London. The funds we’d transferred had arrived ok. We’ll have to call back in a few days for bank cards.
Our next task was to organise local sim cards for our phones. We had done our own survey since we arrived here, asking various people who was the best provider for Hobart. Our survey covered a wide demographic – 20 something male waiter – 50 something female sales assistant in Myers – 30 something male bank teller – 40 something female owner of motel. They all advised that Telstra had the best coverage.
We spent a while in Telstra. We wanted to get a contract but this proved to be impossible without an address and without any credit history in this country. We used the address of the motel, but still had to get a pre-paid card.
So we have Aus phone numbers now.
We visited an estate agent and arranged a couple of viewings. We gave them our new mobile number as a contact.
We can’t do much more until we have an address. We’ll need to register for Medicare, request tax file numbers. Everything requires a form to be completed and every form starts with name, then address.
So we’ll check rental properties online, contact estate agents and view those that appeal and hopefully find somewhere furnished for a six month lease. I’m not sure how difficult or easy this will be.
Things I have learned …
~ When applying for the mobile iPhone contract, or to transfer a driving licence, I wondered if a P O Box would be useful. It was pointed out to us that … “It must be a residential address. You don’t live in a P O Box.”
The motel that we had chosen and booked from the UK was perfect. Our room is on the second floor, with view of the water from our front door and view of Mount Wellington from the window. Literally across the street is Sandy Bay, a small beach, boat jetty’s, ducks and view across the River Derwent estuary.
We woke early and had a leisurely breakfast, with a weekend newspaper, then went out to explore. We walked along Sandy Bay Road, away from the city. Sometimes the road is right on the waters edge, sometimes there are houses on both sides of the road and the properties have the water view.
There was a yacht race out on the harbour, racing out to buoys then raising spinnaker sails on the return leg.
We came to a junction and followed signs to Long Beach. This is a small bay, with waves onto a sandy beach, a promenade with trees and public barbecues, kids playground. We stopped for a drink at the beach coffee shop before heading back to the motel.
We then walked into the city via Battery Point, one of Hobart’s oldest and historical suburbs, through to Salamanca and the harbour. We had lunch and picked up a street map and leaflets at the tourist information centre.
The city was relatively quiet, with most of the shops closed. It was good to walk around and start to get our bearings in a new city.
The roads are set on a grid system, with several main routes running one way only. Some street names were familiar to Aussie Mate but in a totally different order than they are in Sydney. Macquarie Street, Collins Street, Elizabeth Street and Argyle Street. For me, Liverpool Street has a different meaning. We’ll get used to these new landmarks and street layout.
We caught the bus back from Federation Square, had an afternoon nap before going to Wrest Point for dinner. There are a choice of restaurants and bistro at the casino and hotel complex, which we knew would be open on a Sunday evening. The meal was nice with delicious local fresh seafood and fish.
Things I’ve learned …
~ Hobart is beautiful, even on a grey day.
~ Not many shops open on Sunday, but buses do run.
The journey from UK to Australia is long, but we knew that and just had to get through it. It is one of those situations when time has it’s own level.
Our flight left London Heathrow at 10pm on Thursday, so after takeoff, dinner was served then lights were dimmed for the night flight. The plane was not full for the first leg so the two of us had three seats to spread out over. The twelve and half hour flight was comfortable, with a breakfast served before landing in Singapore at 5.30pm. After a two hour refuel stop, it was dark outside when we boarded again.
We lost one whole day on the flight. It was then another night flight for the eight hours to Sydney, arriving just before 6am.
We made an incorrect assumption. When we checked in at Heathrow, our baggage was labelled to Hobart via Singapore and Sydney. So at Sydney, we left the plane, went through passport control and walked out through customs with just our hand luggage.
We then went to the domestic transfer desk to check in for our flight to Hobart. The girl found our bookings easily and stated “You have three bags to check in.”
We had to go to the other end of the terminal to the Singapore Airlines baggage services, explain the situation and wait for them to collect our cases and clear customs. This would take a while, so we knew we would not make the Hobart flight.
We waited. Airports are a fascinating place to people watch. We waited, along with a few other people. We weren’t the only ones to make this mistake.
Eventually our bags arrived and we went back to the domestic transfer desk. Our domestic flight was with Virgin Australia, but they could not rebook us, they had to get Singapore Airlines to rebook as they’d originated the ticket. So we waited. And people watched some more.
There were a few other Virgin passengers who came to check in, then a long line of people queued up all at once. We overheard that a flight from Bali had been delayed so forty people had missed their connections and needed rebooking. In the midst of this our boarding passes were ready and we checked in our luggage again. We could then get the shuttle to the domestic terminal and people watch there as we waited for our 2pm flight. We waited.
The Virgin flight was fine and on time so we got to our motel and had time for a walk to see our surroundings, before dusk on Saturday evening.
We stayed awake for a few more hours then sleep overtook us and we enjoyed the comfort of a bed for the first time since Wednesday night.
Things I have learned …
~ no matter how your luggage is labelled, you have to collect your cases at the point you enter Australia, not at your final destination.
~ I don’t want to work for an airline on their check in desks.
~ Hobart International Airport has no jet bridges to link aircraft to the terminal building. Everyone climbs down movable stairs and walks across the tarmac.
~ Hobart International Airport has just one baggage carousel.
~ Hobart is an international airport because, apparently, flights go to New Zealand and to the Antarctic, but there is nothing listed on the departure boards for the next few days. The only listed flights are to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Greenwich has got to be our favourite place in London. We’ve lived a few miles down the road and have visited many times each year, in all seasons and weather, sunshine to snow.
We love Greenwich Park. It has been our family tradition for many years to go for a walk around the park on Boxing Day. So I have carried and pushed favourite Christmas presents over the decades – dolls and buggy, scooters, wheelie trainers, stuffed dogs, real dogs, bags and back packs and one treasured gift bag with purple fluffy handles. In this park, among others, our girls learned to ride two wheeler bikes, we walked Oska and Izak.
As my interest in astronomy grew, the observatory and planetarium became places of learning. Along with the Maritime Museum, the Old Naval Collage with it’s beautiful painted hall and chapel.
Greenwich has several markets, vintage, arts and crafts, food stalls. There are a variety of restaurants and a mix of traditional and modern pubs. A favourite is The Old Brewery, where they brew Meantime beers on the premises. Another is The Trafalgar, overlooking the River Thames.
Greenwich is the centre of the world when it comes to navigation and time. The Greenwich meridian is the point of zero degrees longitude and all other locations are calculated from this point. Greenwich Mean Time is based here and the world clock calculates all other time zones from here.
As mentioned on a post yesterday, the historic sailing ship, The Cutty Sark is located in Greenwich, now fully restored, the mast and rigging towering above the roof tops.
It was fitting that we spent our last two nights in the UK in a hotel in Greenwich, with views of the Royal Observatory from our room.
We have been non-employed for several months but we are now also homeless.
We sold our home of twelve years, on Wednesday. It was a hectic and exhausting few days, but there was no more time for procrastination. There were just three choices for our “stuff” – into suitcases, into storage boxes or into the bin.
We donated furniture, large electrical goods, garden equipment and shed. We had valuable help on Tuesday, our move out day. Aussie Mate became “man with a van” and he and his assistant dismantled things, did all the heavy lifting, drove numerous trips to the storage unit, donation points and the local tip.
I cleaned as rooms became totally empty, consolidated our “take with us” belongings as much as possible. I dealt with admin, collection of our unaccompanied luggage, put tags on the various keys for the new owners, left a note about a couple of quirks of the house, took final meter readings. At eight thirty in the evening, every room was empty and clean.
We dropped off a box of last minute supplies to C~M for her and flat mates to use up – teabags, coffee, sugar, toilet rolls, tissues.
We went to our hotel, tried to sleep and mentally double checked that we had covered everything.
On completion day, we went back to the house one last time to pick up the few things we had left overnight in the garage. One pile for storage, tool box and a bag of odds and ends that we decided to keep. One pile of cleaning equipment for the tip. Mid morning, our solicitor confirmed that she had received purchase funds and estate agent released the keys.
We are homeless, “of no fixed abode”.
We juggled finances, investments, transfer to Australia. C~M spent the afternoon and evening with us and we shared a meal.
Our final goodbyes were tough but not as difficult as I expected. We have all done this before. I left for a gap year back in the past. We’ve waved S~E off on a one way trip to Australia. We’ve waved C~M off on a six month adventure to Argentina. We’ve waved in-laws off after their visits to us. Now it’s our turn to leave for a while.
A big thank you to all family and friends for their support and good wishes. It’s time to put our plans into action 🙂
This week’s prompt is … afloat.
When I saw the prompt I thought of boats and ships, but with a twist.
The “Cutty Sark” is an old sailing ship.
She was built in 1869 and was one of the fasted “tea clippers” of the time, bringing tea cargo back from China. Later she transport wool from Australia. She became a museum ship and was moved to a dry dock in Greenwich, London, in 1954.
Cutty Sark is now an innovative tourist attraction. The ship is suspended in her dock, sitting majestically afloat a glass canopy, with access to walk underneath her copper lined hull.
To keep the nautical theme, a few years ago, this “ship in a bottle” was the art installation on the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. This is Nelson’s ship, HMS Victory.