On the second day of our visit to the great green south, we drove out to the ruins of the most infamous penal colony in Tasmania. Port Arthur was established in 1834 as a convict readjustment center by the Brits. Later this same geographical location was the scene of a 1996 one man massacre of 35 people that lead the federal government of Australia to limit the private ownership of handguns and rifles.
I respond strongly to the ambiance of 'place' and so decided not to visit the scene of the atrocities.
However, the coastline of this part of Tasmania is invigorating and calming all at the same moment. The seas were reflective, the sun brilliant ( ozone layer here is limited) and our walk from the car park full of spring blooms.
This part of Tasmania reminds me of California's Big Sur coast line - wild, untamed, serene and at the same time utterly dramatic.
On this particular day the waters were an exquisite blue, but on days when the winds whip across the island from the open Antarctic Seas, I'm sure wildness reigns. A blanket of storm clouds would change this place from a haven into the hell of convict life if one had been transported by the Brits to this antipodean land.
Later that evening, we were dining at Ciuco, a busy Italian restaurant in the middle of Salamanca Square in Hobart. Delicious duck tagliatelle, superb Tasmanian wine, welcoming friends, and the loveliest pearl necklace - a birthday gift from the jeweler.
Indeed, life is good!