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Tag Archive: Museums

A week in Tasmania

We hadn’t made it to Tasmania on previous visits and we weren’t sure we’d make it this time!  Our flight was scheduled for Port Macquarie to Sydney to Hobart.  We got to the Port Macquarie Airport – very tiny airport – at 8:30 AM, dropped off our car, and discovered that the 10:10 flight was delayed to 11:00, to 12:00, to 12:25.  We finally boarded at 12:57. Needless to say, we missed our connection in Sydney.  I will say Virgin Atlantic was waiting at the gate to hand out new tickets to all the “missed flight” people. Now, we had a 3 hour wait for our new flight and that one was delayed by an hour.  We finally landed in Hobart about 10:15 PM. By the time we got the shuttle and were dropped off at the hotel, it was 11:05 PM.  No food open except the Domino’s Pizza down the street!  The pizza was pretty good .. or were we just really hungry?

Our Australian friends said we could have driven faster to Hobart if the Bass Strait wasn’t in the way.  This flight day was the worst of the whole trip so far. I guess we can’t complain!

sculpture of women prisoners in Hobart

This sculpture was on the waterfront where the convicts from England arrived. Some were women and children.

We found a police boat named for Mark. Wickham, Australia is way up in the northwest near Broome.

MONA ferry with champagne

MONA is the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart. We took the ferry to get there. You can pay more for the Posh Pit seating and enjoy champagne and coffee on the 25 minute trip each way. The coffee was in the morning. On the way back, we only drank champagne. The museum has lots of interesting art to accompany the architecture.

After Hobart, we picked up a rental car and drove to Port Arthur Historical Site where many of the British convicts were imprisoned. The site is large and very interesting. There’s also a memorial for the people killed in the Port Arthur Shootings in 1996 that started the Australian gun reform laws.  We always thought the shootings were in the town but they happened in a cafe at the Historical Site.

One of the guys we met in Fremantle on the sailing evening always has a glass of wine with lunch.  It turns out he was at the Historical Site the day of the massacre. He stopped at the cafe but they didn’t serve wine and he wanted a glass of wine with lunch.  They went somewhere else that day, just missing the shootings.  A glass of wine saved his life so now he has one every day in thanks.

Port Arthur prison

Port Arthur Historical Site – one of the main prison buildings. The scenery looks a lot like West Virginia/Western Maryland minus the water. The roads are equally winding and hilly in places.

Tasmania water scenes

Views from the water of Tasmania around Port Arthur.

Launceston was the next stop on the road trip. It’s not far up to the north coast with lovely scenery along the way as well as a plethora of road construction.

Chocolate Factory sign

How could we not stop at the Chocolate Factory? Yes, we bought some.

Low Sound Lighthouse

Low Sound Lighthouse overlooking the Bass Strait. Penguins live near here but we didn’t see any during the day.

The bridge was built by convicts in Ross., a small country village. Ross sits on the 42nd parallel SOUTH of the equator.  Fort Collins is on the 40th parallel NORTH of the equator.

Mom’s name is Joan. When we saw a winery “Wines for Joanie”, we knew we had to stop and taste. Pretty good wine and the tasting room lady was an American/Australian lady raised in Tennessee.

These are the only Tasmanian Devils we saw along the way.

Tasmanian Devil warning sign

The creatures are nocturnal; hence, the warning signs along the roads. These go along with the koala, kangaroo, and wombat warning signs.

Tasmanian Devil scuplture with suitcases

This sculpture is in the Hobart airport near luggage claim.

A visit to western Maryland

We’re finished with the family visits after 5 days in Cumberland, MD with Susan’s Mom. We went exploring and found the Great Allegheny Passage and used it for 2 days of walks. It’s a biking/walking trail that runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, following a rail line. Walking in 2 different directions, we found the Brush Rail Tunnel and the Cumberland Bone Caves where prehistoric bones were found about 100 years ago.

Western Maryland Mountains

Western Maryland is full of eastern mountains – highest point is about 1600 feet. It’s very green and full of trees.

Wild Mushrooms

Some wild mushrooms we found along the Great Allegheny Passage

Mark along the GAP

Mark at the start of our walk on the Great Allegheny Passage. We didn’t walk all the way to Frostburg!

On 9/10 we drove over to Shanksville, PA to visit the Flight 93 9/11 Memorial. It’s a very quiet, peaceful place and very moving. I needed a few tissues as we toured the Visitor Center and walked down to the Memorial Plaza where there’s a huge panel for each of the 40 victims.

Flight 93 Memorial Plaza

Looking down on the Flight 93 Memorial Plaza from the Visitor Center.

Flight 93 Memorial

Visitor Center of the Flight 93 Memorial

November 2016 – Weekend in NYC

We had quite the adventure in New York City last weekend. We were in town for the New York City Marathon!  Mark won a lottery spot last February, trained for the event and then he had to run it! After flying in last weekend and using the train from Newark airport to Penn Station in Manhattan, we spent one day at the 9/11 Museum. We did get tickets ahead of time so we had a time slot and the line was pretty short to get in and go through security even though it was crowded once we were inside.  The museum is well-organized but it was hard for me to see some of the exhibits.  I spent most of the visit in silent tears remembering all the events on 9/11 – waking up to the news, watching it on TV, cancelling class because no one was capable of learning that day.  We had friends flying back from London and they were diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Another friend on his honeymoon was returned to Orlando and a colleague drove back from Columbus, Ohio dropping people off along the way.

9/11 Memorial, New York City

9/11 Memorial, New York City

Thanks to being a Diamond Member in the Hyatt Gold Passport we had coupons for 2 free drinks at Bar54 on the 54th floor of the Hyatt Centric Times Square Hotel on 45th Street in Manhattan.  The hotel is a great location for all things marathon related since we could walk to and from Central Park and Mark walked to the New York City Library to catch the bus to the Staten Island start at 6:30 AM.  His report – not many people on the street at that hour on Sunday morning! We timed our bar visit for sunset although we had to wear coats when we opted for seats on the deck outside.

View from Bar54 at sunset

Looking south from Bar54 at the Hyatt on 45th Street at sunset.

The next event was the Abbot Dash to the Finish 5K on Saturday morning.  The run (we walked!) started at the United Nations and ended in Central Park at the Marathon finish line. In between we got to walk down the middle of 5th Avenue on a Saturday morning.  Now, I can say I’ve walked in the middle of the Champs Elysees AND 5th Avenue!

Mark ran the Marathon along with 50,000 of his closest friends and he finished – his goal!  The atmosphere was electric – one big party for 26.2 miles with runners and spectators from around the world.  One French tour company, France Marathon, brought 1000 French runners – and lots of them were staying at our hotel. I’m pretty sure we were in the English as a 1st language minority at the hotel. I used the New York Subway system to watch him at Mile 11 and Mile 23 and then meet up at the end at Central Park West.

Mile Marker 11 in Brooklyn

Mile Marker 11 in Brooklyn

Monday was our day to go walking some more and after we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral we ran across NBC’s setup for broadcasting for the Presidential Election the next day.  They had Rockefeller Center decked out in red, white, and blue including the ice rink.  Fox News and CBS were further along on the walk.

I am happy to report we had no problem flying back to Denver from LaGuardia – no traffic and no long security lines – despite all the horrors we’d heard about the place.