Contra Hobart.

Here’s a couple of things you don’t find out about Hobart until you move to Hobart, or are at least in with some locals.

You Gon’ Get Burnt

I spent a blissful two weeks walking around Hobart without a care until the sun emerged one day. Within hours of each other, two different people in two completely unrelated encounters took one look at my Scottish/Irish heritage (proudly on display via my near-translucent skin tone) and told me to be wary of the sun. Apparently the ozone layer isn’t as strong down here (? SCIENCE) so we’re partial to some stronger skin-cracklin’ UV rays getting all up in our grills. I don’t know whether I completely believe these warnings yet, and I trust I won’t until I actually do get burnt when I least suspect it, but I’ve heard it from so many people now that I’m surprised I didn’t hear a peep of it before I moved here.

Lord of the Flies

There aren’t school children killing each other on this island, but there are some monstrous flies. Every time I open the doors and/or windows of my house to enjoy the beautiful sunny days (who knew I’d ever enjoy sunny days? Screw you, Queensland!), at least a dozen flies find their way into my house, high-fiving each other before putting their action plan into effect. This action plan involves spreading out and treating my windows like baseball bases after somefly’s just hit it out of the park. They aren’t small flies. They aren’t your standard houseflies (well, a couple of them are, but they’re the minority). These guys are big and they are loud and they are driving me a little bit insane. You should see the maniacal laugh that overtakes me when there’s a bottle of Raid spray in my hand.

Where the Wind Goes Sweeping Down the Plains

I lived through a couple of windy days in Brisbane here and there, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the crazy breezes that smash their way through Hobart (or at least my little bit of it) on a somewhat regular basis. Ironic (or just an unfortunate coincidence, Alanis?) that I used the phrase “hold a candle to” when speaking about wind, because it wouldn’t stand a chance in these gusts. Look, just for example, back in Brisbane, I used to hang my washed clothes out on the line to dry already on their hangers, to save time and ironing. Sometimes if I left them too long or if it was a windy day, I’d find one or two items on the ground later. Unfortunate. The other day I attempted to practise a similar application down here, and once I hung the first dress out, I’d barely turned my back before it hit the ground. It hit the ground a few feet away. I tried to peg my dresses on their hangers (a little bit redundant?) but again, there was just no chance they were staying on there. I’ve had to give up on my old habits and nail those suckers to the line or it’s just not worth it. I said a lot of swears that afternoon. Also, hanging up a queen-sized doona cover turned into a terrifying 360° assault by wet linen.

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But on the other hand, there’s this.

#7: Hobart.

With some fairly wonderful timing, Lonely Planet has just released their 2013 list of top cities to visit in the world, and guess what? Hobart’s at number seven. Yes, okay, so I’m not just visiting here, I moved here—but it may be further incentive to put my guest room to good use.

Ever the hipster, I visited Hobart (and numerous other parts of Tasmania) in 2011, so whatever. (Just joking about the ‘whatever’.) I don’t find it a huge surprise for Lonely Planet pointing the finger at Hobart (and no other city in Australia in 2013). I had a fair idea there was something special going on down here, and I wanted to be a part of it.

A large part of Hobart’s ranking has been attributed to MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) and TMAG (the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery), and their current collaborative exhibition, “Theatre of the World“, at MONA until April 2013. TMAG itself is closing for a couple of months as of November, and I have to admit I haven’t been there yet, but I can vouch for MONA. I’m not really an art gallery person. I don’t have the attention span for wandering around quiet spaces and I hate not being able to photograph things. MONA isn’t a traditional art gallery, though…

Fran and I out the front of MONA last year, our second visit in ten days.

Fran and I out the front of MONA last year, our second visit in ten days.

No joke, we had a spare day at the end of our motorhome adventure and both of us voted for a return to MONA. MONA wasn’t solely what made me want to come to Tasmania (either to visit or live), but it was certainly a bonus. There’s also a lot of culinary goodness to be had down here, as well as beautiful architecture and scenery, and a heckload of markets.

I’ve already seen a few locals make comments about not finding Hobart worthy. Someone said something like, “I would much rather visit Paris than Hobart”. I think the important thing to note is that Lonely Planet’s list is an annual list. Every year there are ten cities on it. I haven’t looked at previous years, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want to just list the same ten cities every year. Yes, I want to go to Paris, but has it done anything lately to make it worthy of a visit in 2013? Amsterdam is on the list for 2013 because there are a bunch of anniversary celebrations going on that is going to make it one big celebration for the whole year. Heck yes, I wanna visit there! (And maybe stay on Ben and Miranda’s couch.) It’s also sad to hear that some locals aren’t keen to give their city big reps. The impression I got from my visit to Tasmania last year was that Tasmanians were so proud of being Tasmanians. I suppose there will always be differing opinions…

I am so proud of Hobart for making Lonely Planet’s 2013 list and I am so excited to have friends and family come for a visit to see this amazing corner of the world. Oh, Hobart! Well done, you!