Dispatch from Hobart, January 5, 2008

The thin veneer of ice on the docks at Eagle Harbor Marina was treacherous and threatened to jeopardize our travel plans with a broken leg or hip or wrist, but fortunately we made it safely to our rental car with our rolling luggage. The high tide leveled the usually steep ramp up from the floating docks to the parking lot. Whew!

It was difficult to leave Kim and her family, and we miss them terribly. We will return in April for more visiting and playing with our grandchildren.

Traveling from Bainbridge Island, Washington to Hobart, Tasmania is a multi-stage trip, which requires patience, which sometimes is wonderfully rewarded. Our reward was a 13-1/2 hour long international flight from San Francisco to Sydney on a plane which had 100 empty seats, due to its being scheduled for departure on Dec. 30 and arrival on Jan. 1. We completely skipped New Year’s Eve. Steve had bought us each an upgrade to United Economy Plus, which gave us 5 extra inches in front of our knees. This also meant that the people who had not bought the upgrade were not allowed to move into the empty seats of our “Plus” section. We happily stretched out over three or four adjacent seats and actually slept for much of the flight. Patience rewarded. And Thank you, Steve, for buying the upgrades.

When we arrived in Hobart on the afternoon of January 1, the sail boats from the Sydney to Hobart yacht race filled the harbors, and were festooned with green and yellow and white flags and banners, indicating which boats had won in the various classes, overall, and on handicap. WILD OATS won first place overall for the third year in a row. The American boat ROSEBUD won on handicap, and was skippered by a local Tasmanian who knew how to play the shifty winds in the River Derwent.

The Hobart Summer Festival had been in full swing for several days, with buskers on the streets, children’s games and balloon castles in the parks, music everywhere, and the Taste of Tasmania. The Taste is inside Princess Street Wharf, filled with food stalls of every description, and tables, umbrellas, live music and entertainers, for 12 hours each day for a week. We had four days to explore this gourmet food and wine extravaganza.

Tasmanian berry farms, dairies, cheese makers, restaurants, caterers, breweries, wineries and more sell portions (Tastes) of their specialties. It is a wonderful way to revisit our favorite restaurants, discover new restaurants in town, and meet friends, as well as to feed ourselves.

Just outside The Taste is a performance site where talented acrobats, comedians, hula hoopers and more perform throughout the day. We scrutinized the program to be careful to take in every act throughout the four days. This was an excellent way to get over our jet lag — sitting out in the sunshine for hours at a time, wearing hats and sunscreen, of course.

The street performers were truly extraordinarily talented. Performing feats of strength and daring, skill and dexterity, and all the while keeping the audience entertained with jokes, gags and slapstick comedy. We were royally entertained, and wanted to see more and more. There is a good reason for true silliness in this world!

There are numerous outdoor, evening music performances throughout this weekend, and we are ready with our folding arm chairs, rolling picnic cart and picnic wine glasses. We can walk to all the places we need to go.

Tomorrow, we’ll see the Kite Festival, the Kids in the Park festival, and in the evening have dinner with our friends Jeremy and Penny aboard their sail boat at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. We will see our boat berth in the marina for the first time. Last year when we heard that the club was building an extension to their marina, we worked with them to build a boat slip that would accommodate ADAGIO. We will be able to lease it out to other boats until ADAGIO returns to Hobart.

We wish we could send you some of our lovely sunshine, and wish you were here.

Love and hugs to you all,

Dorothy and Steve

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