Hello everyone! Let’s get this show on the road.

This week has been a busy one as I try to cram in everything I want to do in Australia before I leave in less than a month (crying). Like actually though, I don’t want to leave, especially since I’m going to be coming back to the freezing cold torture chamber that is a Chicago winter. Ugh. But for now I’ll focus on my remaining time in Aussie.

Garden Talk

Excursions excursions excursions! Kaitlyn and I went on two excursions this week in order to buy more decorations for classrooms as well as other random things. And where else would we go for this but the nearby mall? We just can’t get enough of that place. I will say that it really does make you realize how much work there is to be done regarding the accessibility of public places for handicapped people. Little bumps in the sidewalk that you would normally step right over become huge obstacles for a wheelchair, as does limited access to elevators and narrow shop aisles. Food for thought.

Fascination station

On Tuesday, the whole school celebrated the Melbourne Cup, a horserace that is said to stop the entire nation. Although the race only lasts about three minutes, many workplaces stop work early in oder to have parties and spend time socializing together. As we obviously could not do this because of the children present and learning that needed to be done, the teachers and students celebrated by making and wearing fascinators (those weird little hat things that girls wear when they go to the races) all day and centering their lessons around horses. We may have even managed to have a small celebration after the students left campus for the day.

Oh good news! I won $14 from our work Melbourne Cup pool! One of my horses came in 2nd! So fetch.

Other than the our excursions and the Cup, the rest of the week at Lucas Gardens was pretty routine. I’m seriously getting way too attached to these kids for my own good though, I’m already so sad that I have to leave them so soon. THEY’RE JUST SO CUTE, OKAY?! So if I come home with a random child dressed in green sweatpants and a yellow polo, don’t be alarmed, I just stole them from Lucas Gardens.

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I’m going to skip over the rest of my week because it was pretty boring and I would much rather write about my weekend. Sorry to everyone who was interested in what I had for dinner every night.

So this weekend I ventured to Tasmania! Recently ranked one of the top 10 places in the world to visit, Tasmania was a must do during my stay in Australia. I was originally going to go on this trip alone, but I was more than happy when my friends Maya and Madison decided to come along. We left early Saturday morning (why must all cheap flights be at 6 am?) and got to Hobart around 9 am. Because Maya was only staying for Saturday, we decided to go straight from the airport to Mount Wellington, our hiking destination for the day. Without as much as a map or a plan, we were dropped off at the base of the mountain and left to find our way. No map, no problem (read Madison’s blog!) We followed a trail that was supposed to be a couple hour loop, but ended up being a 45 minute hike up an almost 90 degree incline. To say we were dripping sweat would be an understatement. I need to start doing the stair master more. Thankfully, our sweat soaked selves ran into this family at the top of our ascent and they kindly gave us suggestions about which way to go and which trails to take. Keep in mind that this family was a mom and dad along with about five eight year olds. None of them looked tired. The mom was pricelessly worried about our ability to navigate our way through the mountain/make it to our destination because of our damp appearance. Sorry my parents didn’t send me on mountain climbing playdates when I was younger. Alas, we made it to Sphinx Point which made everything worth it.

After making our decent down the mountain and finding our way back to the city, we went to the Salamanca Markets, a popular one day a week market in Hobart. Markets are so big here, I love it. Anyways, these markets were awesome, almost everything that was being sold was handmade in Tasmania and there were some really unique things. Also so many food samples. Nom nom nom. When we finished shopping, it started raining so we decided to go find our hostel. We ended up just chilling there for a while until Maya had to leave to catch her flight back to Sydney.

Quick word about hostels: This was my first time staying in a hostel! No I’m not spoiled, we had just found really good deals on hotels for our previous trips so there was no advantage to staying in a hostel. But I’m definitely glad that I got to experience the hostel life before leaving, I felt like a true backpacker. The hostel in Tasmania was small and intimate and everyone was so nice. We met a bunch of very interesting people who all shared a passion for travel and adventure and it was cool to hear everyone’s stories. Also the shower that I took at the hostel was one of the best that I have taken since being here considering that we still have minimal hot water in our apartment. Note over.

Oh wait…quick note about not traveling with Sid and Nat: I MISSED THEM. And no, we’re not in a fight.

Sunday morning, Madison and I woke up bright and early to catch a 9:30 am ferry to the Museum of Old and New Art aka MONA aka possibly the coolest museum I’ve ever been to. First of all, the ferry in itself was a work of art. There was a coffee bar, stools shaped like sheep, graffitied walls, and ever a pet bird on board. The ferry deserved every one of those five stars that it received on TripAdvisor.

His name was Trevor

When the ferry pulled up to the museum, we were a little disappointed because the building looked small and kind of unimpressive, leaving us confused about all the hype. Here, I’ll just show you. It looked like this.

Untitled (Osama)
Tattooed pig…while it was alive

But it turns out, the whole museum was UNDERGROUND. The whole layout of the building was incredible and the minuscule interest I have in architecture (I guess I have my dad to thank for that) was geeking out. All of the walls were made of sandstone and staircases jutted out into the middle of the room, creating a totally unique and hip ambiance. Ew I just called something hip, I’m old. But the most interesting thing about this museum, other than the artwork, was the fact that as we entered, we were handed an iPod Touch that was basically our tour guide for the day. The iPod used wifi to locate our position within the museum and would then show us descriptions and interpretations of the artwork nearby. So. Stinkin. Cool. Some pieces also included an audio component so you could plug in headphones and listen to a song or artist interview while looking at the piece. Madison and I opted not to use headphones (aka we didn’t know that we should have picked some up) so we were lacking in auditory stimulation for the day. But that was totally fine by me because everyone in the museum looked like the epitome of today’s society, wearing headphones and staring endlessly at the screens in their hands, too engrossed in technology to speak to each other. I really hope that we were part of a large, living piece of art because the irony of that was too much for me to handle. Anyways, we saw some really awesome art of all medias, from videos to paintings to sculptures, that made me think in ways that I didn’t even know my brain could process. One was literally just an empty room in which the lights turned on and off every five or so seconds. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!? That’s the power of art I suppose.

Untitled (White Library)
Untitled
Those are real fish

 

Snake

Series of individual heads and floral and faunal motifs to make the shape of a snake

For our journey home, we decided to take the free bikes that MONA offered (an obvious decision over the $20 ferry) figuring that it would be a good way to see the sights. Unfortunately, having no map did end up being a problem here because the bike path randomly ended and we had no idea where to go from there. We had to break our previous promise to restrain from using maps during the whole trip to find our way back to the bike path, but it was necessary. On our way home, we stopped at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and it really just turned an already amazing day into an absolutely perfect day. The gardens were gigantic and just straight up gorgeous. We came across a small cafe/restaurant in the middle of the gardens and couldn’t resist getting lunch (and dessert) there. I understand if you don’t believe that I actually took these pictures because they all honestly look like Windows screensavers to me.

 

 

YUM

Full and satisfied, we finished our bike ride back to Hobart where we treated ourselves to some happy hour drinks before heading back to our hostel for the night. Such a great day.

Monday morning was another early wake up call, Madison was flying back home to Sydney and I was scheduled to take a tour of the iconic Wineglass Bay before my 8 pm flight. My traveling partners were dropping like flies! I was a little nervous to be on my own for my last day in Tasmania but all my fears proved to be futile when I got onto the tour bus. I immediately bonded with two girls my age, one from Texas and one from Germany, and we spent the day together going from beach to beach in Great Ocean Road fashion, eventually arriving at Wineglass Bay. I’ll let the pictures do the talking for me because I’m lazy and really don’t feel like writing anymore.

Coles Bay
Cobb Bay
Cape Tourville
Sleepy Bay 
Wineglass Bay (it’s shaped like a wineglass, get it?)

The tour conveniently dropped me off at the airport right on time for my flight and I regretfully headed back to Sydney. I wish I could have stayed in Tasmania longer and seen everything that that weird little beautiful state had to offer, but I’m sure I’ll find my way back there somehow.

This week Sidra’s brother Ben is visiting so we have lots of activities planned! Maybe we’ll even get Sid to do a celebrity post about his visit?!? Vote in the sidebar! —–>

See ya’ll next week!

Wait check out this wild peacock that we saw! So cool. Like when do you ever see a wild peacock with all of its feathers out like this? Never, that’s when. The female peacock that he was trying to mate with was not interested at all, btw.

Okay, bye for real now.

 

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