DM's Hobart 2017 Diary

Day 1 - Sydney to Hobart

Friday, 22 December, 2017

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We departed home at 15:00 this afternoon, catching the train to Sydney Airport. There we went to the Jetstar check-in area and scanned our e-tickets to get boarding passes and luggage tags, intending to check in our two suitcases. We didn't know where to drop them after tagging them and looked around, and a Jetstar guy saw us and wandered over. He said our bags looked small enough to go as carry on, saying we could check if the weight was under 7 kg each. We thought we could only have one carry on piece, but he said we could have two if they were under 7 kg.

So we found a scale and weighed our bags. My camera bag was about 5 kg, M's suitcase 6 kg, and my suitcase 8.5. So we opened them up and redistributed a few items, then re-weighed them, and had managed to pull it off. M's was now the heaviest, at 6.95 kg. Thus repacked, we didn't bother with the luggage tags and simply walked through the security check into the departure lounge area. (It turned out, as we discovered only after the flight, that the rule was that you could have up to two pieces of carry-on baggage per person, so long as the combined weight was no more than 7 kg! So I effectively had double my luggage allowance, but nobody stopped us or complained about it.)

We had about an hour to wait, and M. got a coffee at a cafe and also got me some iced water since I was thirsty. Before long we were queuing at the gate to get on our flight.

It was a small plane, an Airbus A320, with just 30 rows of seats, 3 on each side of the single aisle. They were boarding the front door through the jet tube, and also the rear door by going down stairs onto the tarmac. We were in row 16, and they'd announced rows 16 to 30 should board by the rear door. But when we walked through the boarding check, several people ahead of us were told to go via the tarmac, and then the lady scanned our boarding passes and told us to go in the front door, probably because nobody had been sent that way for ages. We got to our seats very quickly, a middle and window seat, next to a lady who almost fell asleep soon after we took off.

Monkey flies Jetstar
Monkey checking the plane window at Sydney Airport

The flight time was only 1.5 hours. They brought snacks around, but you had to pay for them... but then the lady said we had $10 worth of credit on our ticket to get snacks. I'm not sure why exactly, but we used some of this to get a pack of Pringles for M. to stave off hunger until our late dinner, anda bottle of water to share.

We landed on time at Hobart's small airport around 19:30. We walked out and spotted a row of taxis, but there were none of the people from our flight getting on any of them, so I thought maybe this was just a parking area for excess taxis and the taxi rank where passengers got on might have been somewhere else. I asked a driver of a van and she said no, this was the taxi rank. So we walked up to the head of the line and got in the taxi there.

He took us to Nate's Pizza, where we'd booked a table for 20:00 from Sydney. This was a place near the airport, since we wanted to eat earlier before travelling into the city. It turned out to be a caravan park, with a simple restaurant attached! We needn't have bothered with a booking, because the place was almost empty, but a couple of tables came in a bit after we sat down. Although attached to a caravan park, it looked nice enough and had a quiet fancy pizza and pasta menu. I chose the "fig jam" pizza, with moscato-soaked figs, prosciutto, and gorgonzola, while M. picked the roasted vegetable and feta. We also got a serve of "Brie bombs" to start: cubes of Brie crumbed and deep fried, served with a tangy tomato relish. We got a glass of Shiraz each to go with the food. It was all really good. As we ate, staff came out and chatted with the people at the other tables, obviously they knew each other.

Nate's Pizza
Fig jam (front) and vegetable and feta (back) pizza at Nate's

After eating, we called a cab to come get us and take us to our motel. The driver turned out to be from Sydney, though originally from St Petersburg in Russia. He'd lived in Sydney for 22 years, before moving to Hobart just a year ago. He liked the cooler weather, and getting four proper seasons again. I said St Petersburg probably gets really cold, and he said no, not really, only zero degrees!

We arrived at the motel a bit before 22:00, and retrieved our room key from the safe outside reception, using the code they'd sent me, since they closed at 21:00. Our room is very nice, around the back of the motel, with a kitchen and dining table and sofa. Tomorrow we get up and head into town to check out Salamanca Market.

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