Drive to Port Arthur

This morning I got up really early to head out for my drive to Port Arthur. I wanted to look at the Cascade Brewery because I had seen pictures of the building’s facade and thought it looked really interesting. So I headed to a bakery near Raf’s house, and had a great danish. Rain started to sprinkle a little bit on my drive down, but cleared up as I entered the gardens. It was ok, not as impressive as I thought it would be, but good enough to make me glad I stopped there on my way out of town! The drive to Port Arthur was beautiful. The roads wind through pastures filled with sheep, so I often honked my horn to watch them all run away :)

Port Arthur was made really famous for the Tasmanian massacre that happened 10 years ago when a boy came to the park and opened fire in the cafe and grounds. Today it is still the biggest single manned massacre in history. He’s now in solitary confinement in Hobart. Once I arrived at Port Arthur, I headed for a boat tour that left to talk about the Convict settlement that used prison labor to build ships and such. Very interesting to hear about the stories. I then went to the cafe (yes, the same cafe of the shootings) to have lunch, and in walked 3 guys from the Cadbury Tour. Funny how tourist always follow the same trails! Anyhow, our tour guide was this crazy Kiwi with purple hair who told us the more stories about the convict labor in Port Arthur.

After the tour, I stayed around the grounds to do some photos of some of the amazing buildings that had been left behind. I then started my drive on up to Coles Bay, a 3-hour drive up the north coast of Tasmania. I wanted to make sure I arrived there so I could start my day hiking the next morning. Along the drive up the coast, I pulled over to see some of the little towns that speckle the country side. I really feel like I’m at the edge of the world down here. It seems like stepping back in time, how people own these little stores, and everyone in town knows everyone else. It’s quaint, but at the same time, confining.

Once I arrived at Coles Bay, I found my way to the YHA hostel and checked in. I was the only person at that time, so I put my stuff up and headed to walk around the ‘town’. I should add ship to that, because after one block, the township was done. I got dinner at the local fish shop, which seems daisy chained from two other shops next door. The bakery said closed, but see us next door, which the takeaway shop said closed, but see us next door, where you ended up at the grocer, who seems to own all 3 and opens them accordingly. So I ordered my fish basket, and had a greasy fried fresh fish dinner. After feeling like I myself was dripping, I wandered down to the beach to take a look at the bay. I was excited about my hike the next day.

That evening, I headed to the restaurant/bar to do some of my gasp! homework, and had a dessert. I sat back in the corner and was getting some good reading done when 3 20-somethings came in and sat down at the booth in front of me. When you’re in a foreign country, and you hear the word American, your ears perk up. And the girl who was talking kept saying American, so I kept looking up at her. As I eavesdropped in, it was a conversation about how terrible being around Americans was, and how stupid Americans are, and how ignorant Americans are. I had this weird bubbling feeling inside that was making me irritated and I kept looking at her thinking, do you not think that I could be American?? So I gathered my papers together, got up and looked at her as I walked by her table, and said, “You know, not all Americans are that bad”. I felt good that I said something, in as strong an american accent as I could do (since apparently it’s faded a tad). I then went back to the hostel and a Jewish family had checked in. Not only where they celebrating shabbas, but they had 3 kids that seemed to use 9 ft voices instead of the deemed 3 in. voices by primary school teachers. I watched TV for a bit and then planned out my hike for the next morning.

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