We sailed into Hobart in the early morning with an icy wind chilling our bones while our friends and family sweltered at home in a Queensland heat wave. We had enjoyed the couple of sea days it took to get to Tasmania, exploring the many magnificent nooks and crannies and grand rooms of the Diamond Princess. The ship is a gazillion times better than the poor old P&O vessel we cruised on last month. Nothing but praise for this ship so far.
Hobart, home of Cascade beer and capital city of Tasmania, lies in the shadow of Mount Wellington on the estuary of the Derwent River. We spent our time here wandering the streets, enjoying the old sandstone buildings and the beautiful rich colors of grass and flowers which flourish without being brutalized by a burning hot sun. Staying in port overnight allowed us to enjoy the long summer twilight and spend the second day exploring the city and waterfront under a blue sky. It is amazing how the same sights can look so different in different weather.
We had to share the city with the President of China who was visiting because of new trade deals. Other famous visitors from the past have included Abel Tasman, the Dutch sailor who claimed the land for Holland in 1642, and Charles Darwin in 1836 on his world trip aboard the Beagle.
We have only been aboard ship a few days, but are now settling into the relaxing, rolling rhythm of ship life. I think I love ships nearly as much as I love train travel. Our next port of call is Melbourne.