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I'd only been away from Sydney a little less than two weeks. We've seen some lovely places, particularly throughout Tasmania, of which we visited the giant Huon Pines & eucalypts and the Port Arthur historical site. The hotel in Hobart was particularly fabulous as it encompassed a wide view of the charming city. Everywhere I went I wondered if "I could live here". Sarah & I had this discussion everywhere we went. With Melbourne we both decided, well, not really. Perhaps the city takes some getting used to. It's difficult to find your centre in Melbourne, it's sprawling and flat and I couldn't quite grasp my sense of place or direction while I was down there. When I was driving out to Box Hill for example I felt like my car was stationary whilst the scenery in front of me moved through me, like a 3-D film, hardly changing for 40 minutes. The nicest thing about Melbourne for me was driving into it at night. As we were encroaching the city we felt like we were in some North American city like Seattle. It's been my third visit to Melbourne. At no time have I ever considered the possibility of living there. The coffee, despite the usual heresay, was no better than anywhere else, although some of the architecture, both old and new, was most impressive. Perhaps I need to give the place more consideration, more time. Then again, there are many other places to see and visit.

We left Melbourne by boat and sailed to Tasmania. In the northern port of Davenport we embarked and began driving in the freezing mist and it felt like we were in Scotland all of a sudden. The tourist towns were lovely. Hobart is a charming city with a major river leading into a natural harbour, and a mountain of 3,500 ft overlooking the city. Mount Wellington is usually snowcapped during the winter months. We used Hobart as our base as we walked around the legendary Salamanca markets and Battery Point in the cold & rain, and then onto the forest walks and Port Arthur on consecutive days.
On the way down to Hobart and back up to Davenport we stopped at the historic town of Ross where we visited the historic Female Factory.

Canberra was cold and grey during our first day there. In fact it was the coldest day in Canberra since 1966 with the temperature barely staying above freezing for the entire day. The skies cleared for the days after and the weather was fresh and invigorating despite the bitingly cold wind. Canberra is a difficult city to negotiate and you really have to know your way around to avoid getting lost, which I almost did boundless times. We visited the strip of galleries all around Lake Burley Griffin including the National Art Gallery. On our return we visited the Australian War Memorial and only to see a wonderful exhibition on the "A-Z of Animals during war". Many stories, photos and anectodes about the carrier pigeons, horses, donkeys, dogs & ship cats (and trench rats) during wartime. It was poignant and bittersweet. And that's how we were feeling anyway.

I dropped Sarah off in the evening of our return and scurried off during the most vicous rainstorm that was raging inside my car. I didn't wish to go home so I drove to Newtown, and with the storm abating I walked into a pub and gatecrashed a singer-songwriter night. Had a small bite to eat and a beer, and had a sing. I was walking through King Street Newtown in a bit of a haze though I loved the sights, the smells, the energy, everything. I was glad to be home on my turf. And yesterday I went out a bit and felt the same way. I don't know why but I am particularly Sydney-centric. I could live out of here easily but when I am here it's always such a buzz. I may go away again within the next three weeks but for the moment I'm very glad to be back home.


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