Day 4 – Saturday 17 March

St Patrick’s day, as we only just remembered upon arriving in Salamanca Place for the markets. The pubs were already open and the green beer and loud singing were flowing happily as the populace became cheerfully inebriated. The markets at Salamanca are famous Australia wide, and for good reason. Dozens of stalls with a wide variety of produce, crafts, souvenirs and random stuff. We had a long stroll up and down, finding a few items that we couldn’t bear to let go. I also ran into Alex, an old friend from Canberra – he had been in the Mikado with me back in 2003. He is living in Melbourne at the moment but about to move to London, so a very chance meeting! We wandered through the markets for several hours, seeing everything there was to see. I was still in large amounts of pain from the Wineglass Bay walk that we’d done. Going uphill was fairly painful, going downhill completely excruciating. I had grave doubts about my survival that afternoon.

The afternoon arrived and with it the Cascade Brewery tour. It was very interesting, with the history of the building (it was originally built to be a sawmill!) and the brewing process, followed by a sampling of the beers. I don’t drink beer but Cascade also makes softdrinks and cider so I wasn’t disappointed. I had not expected to find the tour as interesting as I did. I suppose there’s a lot of truth to the theory that anything is interesting if you find out enough about it, although I now know more about malt than I would have thought was really necessary. The gardens at the brewery are also a sight to behold – beautifully maintained and laid out and with gorgeous old fashioned plants. So very lovely. Much of the water that is used in the brewing process doesn’t actually form part of the beer so the excess is used to keep the gardens green and lush. Not that it seemed necessary – as we sat waiting for the tour to start, it began to rain.

Cascade gets its name from the pure clean water that rushes down Mount Wellington and is so beneficial to the brewing process, and being so close to the mountain it seemed silly to not take advantage of it. The road to the top is precarious and in rather poor condition, but I suppose it makes sense to keep it fairly rough to stop people driving it far too fast and killing themselves. We certainly gave it due respect. From the top the view is amazing. Hobart stretches below like a tiny lego diorama, the Wrest Point casino a tiny white blob. And as far as the eye can see, mountains and capes and islands and the ocean are spread out in all directions, the landscape varying between barren and rocky to thick bushland further down the mountain. It was bitterly cold up the top, with wind-chill making us both grab our heavier fleeces before leaving the car. As we looked at the view, thick black clouds started to roll in. It isn’t uncommon for Mount Wellington to be covered thickly with snow while Hobart sits in the sun, so we took some photos and made our way back down to sea level. A descent of approx 1270m from the summit to sea level – quite extraordinary!

We eventually found our way down to sea level again, and had dinner on the water at the Elizabeth street pier. It had been another very long day, with more to come on the morrow...

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