There was music everywhere. There was an absolute gem of an open boat being rowed around with a lady playing piano down the back and a bearded man on accordion amidships (pic 5). Every time they finished a tune applause rang out from all parts of the docks.
Then there were the dancing girls in their fetching nautical outfits strutting their stuff; I felt like yelling out “Hello sailor” but decided not to. Not to be outdone was a band on what can only be described as an original houseboat (read corrugated iron shack on a barge).
The most pleasing of all was a Muslim lady (pic 4) who was handing out wooden instruments of different tonal qualities to the crowd so they could then play along (when their instrument number was called) to the strains of “Waltzing Matilda”. Her joy and effervescence knew no bounds and infected all those who saw her. We pondered what the anti-Muslim brigade would be thinking.
There were artisans everywhere; it was uplifting to see the old skills attracting crowds, hopefully to inspire a new generation of craftsmen. Some of their handiwork in layered laminated boats was wondrous to behold (pic 2). You didn’t have to have it explained what a work of art some of them were, their varnish shimmered in the sunlight, reflecting the beauty of the work that had gone into them.
Fondest memory: A little wooden steamboat with striped canopy (pic 3) noiselessly slipped by until he tooted his horn and a little burst of steam emitted from the funnel. Kayakers zipped in and out and around the craft whose age varied from the 1880’s to just-launched.
It was a feel-good experience knowing that there are characters such as we saw here in abundance. No twittering, things stuck in ears or mobile phones going off, just a simple take on life. Amazingly for the modern youth, these people were happy and relaxed; they knew that enjoying life had more to it than electronic experiences, though I suspect some modern electric navigational aids might be employed.
We moved on to the justly famous Salamanca Markets, it too throbbing with the beat of life. Unable to resist the first honey stall we came to, we made a careful selection. Not for us your cheap supermarket rubbish. No, after careful consultation with Rob, we chose the 2008 Meadow Honey from the farmland at Ouse (southern exposure of course). It features a “mixture of clover, willow, thistle, dandelion and prickly box.
First palate has a clover register then, about 10 seconds later, you get a floral note in the middle palate which represents dandelion and then on the back palate a medicinal tang which is the prickly box.” Naturally I knew all that the moment I tasted it....... Wine wankers eat your heart out.
The colour of the ferals is always interesting. Bizarre headgear is always a dead giveaway and while we sat enjoying a cuppa the lady in the next door stall was flogging broad brimmed garden hats of the worst possible colours and beanies that were shaped like Buddhist Temples. When a photographer went to take a pic she snapped back, “No pictures, don’t take any pictures”. We wondered whether that was because she was worried about her hat designs being copied (highly unlikely) or whether her ugly image might appear in some publication.
I just happened to jag this event; didn't know it was on until a friend mentioned it - how glad am I that she did!
The following is from the emails I sent at the time:
"They came in hats, they came in ragged pants, they came in pirate outfits but, most of all, they came in wooden boats.....all except the navy that is; they had to bring a metal warship and their multi piece orchestra played rap music.
The occasion was the four day Wooden Boat Festival. I suspect that none of the recipients of my email will have even heard of it. Trust me; there are an awful lot of people who have. I figured there’d be a few dozen boats, there were a few hundred. I guessed there’d be a few thousand people, they were there in five figure thousands."
Fondest memory: With Salamanca Markets adjacent it was just continuous humanity for two kilometres all along the wharves and for a block inland. There were tiny boats, racing sculls, speed boats, a hundred yachts, 50 fishing boats and four of the tall masters; the James Craig and the Young Endeavour being the most famous.
If you fancy a visit, get here in the next couple of years because this is going to become huge. The ABC’s Collectors program was there filming though my offer of an extra was politely declined. (pic 3)
The Salamanca Market is the biggest attraction of the weekend in Hobart. The threat of rain when we were there didn't seem to dampen the spirits of anyone.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory has to do with driving! It was the first time I'd experienced driving 'on the wrong side of the road', shifting with my left hand and steering the vehicle from the right side of the car!
Look out for buskers and street performances!
Fondest memory: As we went along doing our shopping in the Salamanca Market, there were a band of musicans who set up their 'stage' on the streets. I had enjoyed the performance but couldn't really stay long. So make sure that if you are there, do allow yourself some extra time to do just that.
Get the fresh produce there. They are really fresh and cheap.
Fondest memory: In Singapore, the carrots that we usually get from the market are pretty big as compared to the ones on sale in the Salamanca market. So we bought a bunch of the cute little carrots and they were really crunchy and sweet! We also bought a big bag of fresh red apples which we could hardly finish.
Visit Salamanca Market and Salamanca Place.
Fondest memory: Only on Saturdays (9am-3pm), the waterfront will come to life on Salamanca Place. Some three hundred stalls lined the street offering Tasmanian arts and crafts, fresh produce, books, flowers, clothes and skincare products, etc. Shop for your souvenirs here. Enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the cafes along the street and people watch.
Walk through Salamanca Markets on a Saturday morning, and again during the week (to see the change!).
Fondest memory: Hobart's Waterfront has the best memories for me .. its such a calm, peaceful and beautiful place with one of the finest deepwater harbours in the world.
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