Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Spending a long weekend away from home to play chess is usually a tiring affair. It is normally a case of travel, play, analyse, prepare, play etc, until going home time. However, last weekend I was able to spend a fair bit of time away from the board to wander around Hobart. I've been to Hobart quite a few times now, but not often as a tourist. I was staying at a cheap hotel/pub called The Welcome Stranger which was basic, but ok. The only downside was an incident that happened on Saturday night at about 1.30 am. I was woken by shouting and overheard a fight had happened. The police were called and some guests were escorted from the building. While it was somewhat entertaining, it was also a bit unnerving and it ruined my nights sleep. Saying that, it could have happened anywhere, so I'm not blaming the hotel which was fine.

The hotel is situated on Davey Road about 5 minutes walk from Salamanca Place. It is simply a case of crossing the road, walking through St David's Park and you're there. This is what I did most mornings before the games followed by a walk to Sandy Bay, or up Davey Street, towards the venue.

St David's Park

St David's Park

St David's Park
St David's Park was interesting as it is old and was the site of a cemetery in Hobart's early days. Now there are memorials around the lush green surroundings. Certainly in Australian terms, Hobart is historically rich and the areas around Salamanca and Battery Point are historically important. Fortunately for me, these were close to where I was staying, and only about 20 minutes walk from the venue.

St George's Church, Battery Point

The 'Kelly Steps' linking Salamanca to Battery Point

The wharves have boats both old and new
After my last game on Monday, I had plenty of free time to go wandering around Hobart. So after a quick coffee break in Salamanca, I walked around the dockside area, and along to the Queen's Domain. It was a beautiful crisp day, great for walking and sightseeing.
Part of Louis Bernacchi Momument

The Cenotaph in Queen's Domain

Tasman Bridge from Queen's Domain

The magnificent view south along the River Derwent.
Walking around Hobart will certainly help with fitness. Certainly compared to Melbourne it is very hilly, and the centrepiece of all is Mount Wellington which looks glorious from almost any perspective, and in almost any conditions.
Mt Wellington looming over the city

Ominous clouds covering Mt Wellington's peak

Salamanca Market, with a rainbow coming out of Mt Wellington.
 All in all I had an enjoyable trip that wasn't all chess. The weather was great and Hobart is compact and perfect for walking. And as a bonus, when I came back to Melbourne, it felt positively springlike after the colder Tasmanian winter. Any time I think nostalgically about England (not often it must be said!), I will have to go to Hobart in winter to experience frosty conditions like there were on Monday morning. It was a shock to the system after nearly 10 years in Melbourne!

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