For those of you playing along on my Instagram and Facebook feeds (and if you’re not, whatcha doing?! There’s a very cool community of people over there…) will know what we’ve been up to over the past three days. Here’s a hint…
Salamanca markets. Boats galore. Gorgeous early 19th century sandstone buildings. A brisk biting seabreeze. Hobart, baby, Hobart!
It was my birthday last Wednesday, nothing exciting to report, another day, another 8pm home time for Matt (cue the gritted teeth), but armed with a card telling me to have my bags packed for a mysterious weekend away, with the option to leave Eleanor with Grandi or take her if I wanted to. To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement. Lots of people have said to me “Oh my husband would NEVER do something like that!” Well, I was one of those people up until last week! On Friday night we traveled down to Melbourne for a birthday celebration at my sister’s with Eleanor (my mum brought her home), with a very early morning on Saturday to get to the airport apparently! Up until that point I thought we might be going to the Great Ocean Road, or Daylesford, or Bright…not interstate travel!
We arrived in Hobart bright and early thanks to our 7am flight, checked in to our hotel in the city and walked straight down to the Salamanca markets – a Hobart institution for sure. This was my third (Matt’s second) visit to the apple isle, and so my third Salamanca market experience. We wandered all the stalls, me marveling at the fact it was just us two and yet still perusing kids clothing stalls looking for pretties for our blossom. We did buy a rusty chicken (of course we did).
At a fruit and veggie stall we ran into my old housemate from uni share house days – who we hadn’t seen in eight years! Coffee (at hidden gem Tricycle) after his shift on the stall finished was had, catching up on our lives over the past almost decade, and some Hobart local knowledge shared. The rest of our Saturday was spent wandering fairly aimlessly through Hobart’s waterside, Constitution Dock, the Maritime Museum and Battery Point’s gorgeous little houses – the perfect way to while away a sunny afternoon in Hobart. My kind of weekend.
On Saturday night we had dinner at Westend Pumphouse, an old garage cum warehouse converted into a funky new restaurant with a multiple tastings tapas-esque style menu. The Japanese marinated radishes and saltfish fritters were our pick, as well as a Seven Sheds ale on tap. On Sunday morning we found our way to Pilgrim where Matt had “one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had”. Big call, big call. We then wandered up to a little market in a closed off street of the city, The Farm Gate Market had a great family vibe, bustling stalls, live music, and apparently (according to my old housemate) “the best sushi outside of Japan”. We made our way down to the waterside to catch the ‘Mona Roma’ ferry across to MONA – a big reason Matt had chosen Hobart was because he knew how much I wanted to go to MONA. On the bucket list, the holy grail for arty Emma. If you knew how much Matt doesn’t appreciate art then you would appreciate how much of a sweet deal this was! I had casually mentioned many, many times how I wanted to go to Hobart for a weekend to go to MONA – never in my wildest imagination did I think he was even listening?! Huh… So, even the ferry to MONA was way too cool, life size cow or sheep seats anyone?
MONA is hard to even put into words to describe… It was mind blowing. Refreshing, challenging, epic – everything I had expected, but so much more as well. Matt’s mind was suitably expanded and blown apart just by the sheer mechanics and engineering of the building itself! The fact that this place exists in the world, in Australia, let alone in sleepy little suburban Hobart is beyond fabulous. How incredible…
Superior people watching was had before we made our way back on the ferry for further wandering, pizza eating at Salamanca and some take-away ciders to enjoy in our hotel (The Block was on, we’re ragers we know!)
We considered hiring a car for a day, which could have been good for exploring further afield or going for a drive up Mount Wellington, but honestly there is more than enough to entertain and explore all within walking distance to the city.
Hobart is fabulous for a cheeky weekend away – so easy, so close, so much to do, see, eat, explore. The perfect romantic getaway, but equally so with the billy lids (we did talk a lot about what Eleanor would like and discussed coming back with her as well!) Our child-free three days however were exactly what the doctor ordered for us, and so important for a bit of husband/wife/mummy/daddy regroup, reassess, refresh, reset…deep breath and dive back into life again. I know it always seems too hard, too this, too that – but honestly, make the effort, take the time. I know for sure that this time away together has made us better people, a better husband, a better wife, better parents.
The thing is, as Matt pointed out, what on earth is he going to get me for Christmas now…
P.S. We also enjoyed coffee at Daci & Daci, a superior croissant at Pigeon Whole Bakers (literally a hole in the wall) and really great fish and chips at Mako. We stayed at the RACV on Collins Street in the city, which is about to undergo a massive renovation that looks like it’s going to be stellar.