Sunday, 11 November 2012

Tasmania, or Tassie to you and me, is supposed to be a bit like the UK in the 50s. Well it rains a lot. I got soaked in Hobart's Salamanca Square trying to dodge the drizzle under a tree, while crowds lined the square hoping to shake Prince Charles' hand as he went walkabout.

I recommend Hobart's impressive museum and art gallery (TMAG) which won't cost you a cent to look around. The Southern Oceans/Antarctica exhibition explains why the roaring forties, furious fifties and screaming sixties' winds, make this ocean so tricky for sailors. The 'House of the Blizzard' 3D section transports you inside an antarctic hut - without your having to get your tootsies cold, or eat disgusting, dried food.

These days, doctors attached to South Pole expeditions are trained in dentisty as people's fillings, along with their teeth, have a habit of falling out. One doctor made a temporary tooth out of elephant tusk (which he just happend to have around, clearly) and it worked so well, the recipient was still wearing it three years' later. Clearly a case of obsessive compulsive attachment syndrome or OCAS; a condition I've just invented.

For a more edgy arty experience, head for MONA which is well worth a look around and is a nice trip on the ferry from the capital, Hobart.

If you haven't got long on Tassie it might be worth heading to Richmond, a 40 mins' bus ride north of Hobart, through the wineries. I was sitting in a cafe enjoying the local fish, luchet (a bit like cod), when the waitress warned us all to put our cars (didn't have one of course) inside as there was a storm coming 'the like of which we haven't seen for years'. The storm missed us by miles. 

Richmond prison is a good place to get some background on how the convicts were treated.You guessed it, rather badly. But they were given wine or beer - and then promptly punished for getting drunk.         

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