Tasmania…Breathtaking beauty…We’re still on the road…Most perfect travel day yet!

View from the veranda of the Pelican Point Sanctuary in St. Helens, Tasmania.

It was a perfect travel day. We disembarked the ship with ease, found a porter to assist with our awaiting luggage, breezed through immigration, picked up our confiscated power strips and were on our way to the airport, all within 30 minutes.

As we’d expected, we arrived a little too early at the domestic airport, even having to wait for 30 minutes to check our bags. Jetstar has a requirement that bags can’t be checked any sooner than two hours before departure. 

The bed and duvet in the suite were comfortable and warm. The room had a kitchen, spacious bath and large entry room.

The 30 minutes breezed by as well as the waiting period for boarding. In row 4 on the plane, we were comfortably situated in our seats in no time at all. The 90 minute flight was routine and seamless.

Seated area near the large flat screen TV.  Free Wi-Fi was included.

The small domestic airport in Hobart appeared to have only one baggage conveyer. Within 15 minutes we were on our way down the road with the bags on a trolley and anxious to get on the road.

The exterior of the highly rated Mohr and Smith restaurant in St. Helens.

The goal was to make it to our new vacation home in Penguin, Tasmania by yesterday afternoon. Once we began the four hour drive in the new well equipped rental car from the Hobart Airport, which was the fastest rental car process we’d ever experienced, our plan changed.

The atmosphere was trendy and inviting.

With a full sized map book in hand, given to us by the friendly rep at the counter, we made the decision to forgo the shortest route across the island and take the scenic route along the ocean. Doing so, doubled the time required to get to Penguin.

By 5:00 pm, stopping many times for exquisite photos, we decided to spend the night in St. Helens, an ocean/lake town.  We were hungry and tired from the long travel day, having disembarked the ship by 7:15 am, flown from Sydney to Hobart, hauled our bags to the rental car facility, and drove for four hours, we were ready to pack it in for the night.

After 33 nights of complimentary cocktails and wine at the Diamond Club on the ship, neither of us had any interest in drinking alcohol. Most likely, we won’t drink again until the next cruise in three months.

With another four hours of driving ahead of us, we used our Australian hotspot, got online in the car and booked one of three hotels available in the area. We choose the Pelican Point Sanctuary, the highest rated (four stars) in the area at US $156, AU 209, a night (with tax) and couldn’t have been more pleased.

Locally caught thick white fish atop a bed of asparagus and a sautéed zucchini patty. It was delicious and worthy of a five star review on TripAdvisor. 

The quaint resort was surrounded by lake, mountain and ocean views with cattle in the backyard, ducks and geese on various ponds and frogs chirping through the night. We couldn’t have been more at home for the night.

Tom’s meal consisted of Chicken Kiev atop a bed of garlic mashed potatoes, pea puree and roasted carrots.

The manager arranged a dinner reservation for us at 6:15 at the popular restaurant, Mohr and Smith, a short drive from the resort, where we had a perfectly prepared gourmet meal for US $53, AU 72. We were so thrilled with the meal, we wrote a review on TripAdvisor as soon as we returned to the resort. By 9:30, I was asleep, Tom shortly thereafter.

Tom ordered fries as a side while I had a crunchy salad of mixed greens and sprouts.

It’s 6:45 am now as I prepare today’s quick post.We’re anxious to get back on the road to take more photos during one of the most beautiful drives we’ve ever taken in our four years of world travel. Tasmania doesn’t disappoint.

Cattle in the back yard of the resort.

By 8 am, we plan to be on the road to head to Binalong Bay and then, back on the scenic route along the coast to Penguin.  Once we’re unpacked and situated in the house, we’ll grocery shop with a plan to make our first meal in over three months. 

Last night’s waning sun from the resort.

For the first time in months, we slept without air con, bundled under a fluffy duvet. Although it’s almost summer in Tasmania (starts on December 21st) we have no doubt it will be cool over our three months on the island.

There was a pond outside our room with three ducks.

We’ll be back tomorrow with many fabulous scenic photos and the ongoing story of our getting settled into yet another home in our world travels. Stay tuned, dear readers, it will quite a show at this special location!

Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2015:

Savusavu Bay and Nawi Island, in Fiji, a site atop a hill in the village. For more photos, please click here.

Ah…at last…We made it to the villa…It feels good to be here…All new photos going forward…

The Chicken Run fast food restaurant on the highway in Denpasar. Fast food is common in most major cities around the globe, including many popular chains in the US.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

We were thrilled to see the buffaloes strolling along the beach soon after we arrived. 
Two separate sets of two occurred a few minutes apart.

At 10:00 am, after the buffet breakfast at the hotel drinking very few liquids to reduce the necessity of stopping, we loaded the van and were on our way, first to the market and at some point, an ATM. 

Our regular Butu wasn’t our chauffeur this time. We got another Butu for the long journey to the villa. During our last stay in Bali, we wrote that children born of Balinese have only one of the four possible names. 

Here’s the link to the post with a further explanation about the four names including mention of why we included the above “Sightings on the Beach in Bali” for each post during our stay, repeated daily during these two remaining months of this stay.

Butu couldn’t speak much English. Gede had explained where we needed to shop, a small well stocked grocer that sells “mince” (ground beef). For the period of two months, we had hoped to buy again 10kg, 22.2 lbs.    When we approached the meat counter, the butcher explained he only had 5 kg available. 

As we drove away from the hotel to begin the harrowing four or five hour drive to the villa.

I asked if they could grind another 5 kg. The manager of the meat service came out of the back room smiling and bowing, happy to do pleasure.  That’s the Balinese people for you, always happy to please.

After an hour in the market, finding most of the products on our list and while waiting for the meat, Butu carried the cool box (cooler) inside the store from the van after which Tom packed the meat, streaky bacon and dairy products with ice for the long road trip ahead of us. 

The ground beef was a whopping US $97, IDR 1,278,250, translating to US $4.37 a pound for freshly, ground grass fed sirloin steak! Our total grocery bill was US $420.94, IDR 5,557,058, including most of the other grocery items we’ll use during the two month period.

Our total grocery bill was US$420.94, IDR 5,557,058, including most of the other grocery items we will use over the two month period. 

Note the number of air con units atop this building.    Many of our photographs will feature power lines that are seen everywhere.    I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to remove those. I have software to that effect, but it is a tedious process that I would prefer to avoid. 

Most of the meals they prepare for us average at US $10, IDR 132,015 making our total daily food cost around US $17.52, IDR 231,290, quite the bargain considering we don’t do any of the cooking or cleanup. Having them cook and clean spoiled us so much that it was painstaking cooking in Phuket. 

Anyway, once on the road on a beautiful sunny day, I decided I could distract myself taking as many photos as possible. With the massive amount of traffic, stopping frequently, I was able to open the van window to take shots while we weren’t in motion creating clearer photos. 

On April 30th, when we made the first trip from the airport to the villa the long drive occurred later on a cloudy, rainy day, dark before we arrived. Taking photos during that drive was pointless.

Yesterday was heavenly, perfectly sunny with stunning clear skies. Figuring that searching for photo ops during the entire drive would keep me preoccupied, the time went more quickly than I imagined possible. 

Internet cafes in other parts of the world may be referred to as “chat cafes” as is the case in Denpasar.

Even Tom, who wasn’t happy about the long drive, spent time searching for photo ops distracting him for a while. By 3:30 pm, five and a half hours after we began, we arrived at the villa.

Ribud greeted us upon our arrival with two frosty glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice (none for me, thanks). Shortly later, Gede arrived to welcome us  to see if we needed anything. Of course, we each shared how we’d spent the past two months. In the early evening, he returned, bringing us a loaded SIM card for my phone.

By the time the two Katuks arrived at 5 pm, we’d put all the groceries away, unpacked everything we’d use while here, leaving most of our clothing folded in our individual suitcases.Wearing swimsuits, all day, an occasional tee shirt and shorts, we put a few items in the closets and drawers.

The Ketuts prepared a lovely chicken satay dish with a peanut sauce (no sugar added), the stir fried vegetables we like so much, our usual salad and a serving of white rice for Tom. We were content. 

There was no shortage of elaborate Hindu statues in front of and atop a building in Denpasar, the capital of Bali. It takes a full two hours to drive through the city.

Again, we suggested they have dinner ready each evening at 5:00 pm allowing them to get home earlier to their families.

When we dine at 5:00 pm, they can be out the door by 6:00 pm leaving us to enjoy the remainder of the evening to ourselves. 

Arriving each morning at 8:00 am, after shopping at the open markets, they clean  the villa and do some prep for dinner. That leaves us with the middle of the day to ourselves.

As for my ongoing recovery, the flight day was easy. The four or five hour harrowing drive was tough. At this point, I just can’t sit for long periods in any type of seat. Even after a good night’s sleep, I’m still feeling the consequences of the long drive. 

This morning once the girls arrived, we went for our first walk of the day with a plan to walk the roads in the mornings, the beach in the afternoon when they return. This prevents us from the necessity of closing the big doors and locking the house, especially when we have our digital equipment sitting out.

Apartments and houses line the highways.

Also, it’s cooler during these two periods of the day, making the walk all the more enjoyable without the scorching sun beating down on us. Today, we’ll commence 20 minutes of basking in the sun for a much needed dose of Vitamin D and a little color to our now pale skin after a two month hiatus.

Then, each day we’ll spend time in the pool while I’m especially careful to avoid re-injuring my spine on that same sharp edge as I’d done on June 1st, a full three months ago. It’s been a long and painful period and I’m anxious to have it all behind me.

With the slow Wi-Fi connection here, we won’t be able to post lots of photos each day, but we’ll do what we can. No more than 45 minutes after we arrived, four buffaloes made their daily trek along the beach as shown in the above photos.

We laughed heartily watching the buffaloes, then looked at one another, smiles on our faces to be back in Bali.

For those in the US, have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.

                                Photo from one year ago today, September 3, 2015:

People, young and old, walk along the esplanade, the walkway along a beach in Australia.  For more photos, please click here.