Today is to be our last full day in Hobart…or it’ll be mine and Liz’s last full day, at least. Katrina and Kirsten have one last day here in this extraordinary place. (No, I’m not jealous…) All the same, with our time in Tasmania drawing to a close and with a day of what appears to be some pretty gnarly rain ahead of us, we’ve packed the day to perfection: first stop, a delicious breakfast (again, thanks to Liz’s highly impressive restaurant-finding skills); second stop: a fancy new museum on an island just outside of Hobart (also courtesy of Liz’s mad skills).
Our destination for breakfast is a little place called Machine Laundry Cafe that’s tucked away in a little plaza behind the strip of restaurants and bars and fronted the Salamanca Markets yesterday. It’s a cute little cafe with hipster-retro-diner meets sleepy-old-Hobart vibes that — you guessed it — doubles as a laundromat. As soon as we walk in, a waitress passes by with a tray full of food and we eye it in awe, drooling like cartoon characters. We wedge ourselves into a little table by the coffee bar and start perusing the menu. I order, of course, a cappuccino, and the rest of the gang orders tea while we panic over which unfathomably tasty option to choose. After only three attempts by the waitress to take our orders, we’re finally ready.
Hunger is creeping in fast, so there’s not much to our conversation other than oh my goodness I am so excited for our food…that is, until I spy what the man at the table next to ours ordered.
In case you haven’t already caught on, I love coffee. Give me a good cappuccino and I’ll give you my heart. As such, you can imagine that once my coffee came, I was quick to finish it despite all efforts to savor each sip. That’s the problem with good coffee, it’s never free refills. I literally am just saying to everyone (as they pour out their third and fourth cups of tea), “That’s the one thing about coffee, there’s never enough of it to last until you get your food,” when I spy the drink ordered by the man to my left. It’s a legitimate bowl of coffee.
My jaw drops.
I signal a waitress and ask what on earth that wonderful concoction might be. “Oh that? That’s our maximum coffee,” she replies. “It has four shots of espresso in it.”
I eye Liz, Katrina, and Kirsten, unsure about whether an extra $5 and four shots of coffee is really such a great idea on top of the $4 and one shot of coffee already in my system. With just a bit of When are you going to have an opportunity like this again? and a bit of You were literally just talking about running out of coffee, plus a bit of impulsiveness on my part, I order the drink. I really don’t require much convincing when it comes to coffee related choices…
In no time, our food is on the table and my giant — excuse me, maximum — cappuccino follows suit in a matter of minutes.
After five shots of espresso and the most delicious breakfast I’ve had since…well, since yesterday, but really, it was phenomenal…I’m ready to spend my new maximum level of energy on a day of maximum fun. It’s off to the museum with us!
MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, is a spanking new museum built on a little island off of Hobart and famed for its eclectic mix of ancient artifacts, old classical art, and very new, very avant-garde pieces by artists from around the world. The whole museum centers around the themes of Love, Death, and Sex (or, as Liz puts it, all the greatest things!) and has the bonus of being accessible almost exclusively by boat.
Though most displeased by the rather surprising cost of the ferry ride and museum ticket, the boat puts me in very high spirits (or is it the coffee, still…?). It’s a swanky little catamaran with seats shaped like sheep in the back, a cow statue (to keep the sheep company, obviously), and beautiful views of the coastline as we make our way towards our destination.
We get to the museum and are taken aback first by the number of people and next by the impressive, tech-savvy nature of the museum. Upon entry we’re each given a pair of headsets and iPhones (ah…now I understand the ticket pricing), that will locate any and all art pieces near us and give us names, descriptions, recorded interviews, and, for some, even music to match the art. It’s pretty freaking cool.
It’s a big museum, but for some reason, I don’t get museum fatigue like I often do at sprawling, overwhelmingly impressive museums like this one (maybe it had something to do with my five shots of espresso? Maybe…?). The museum itself is built to be almost entirely underground, with rugged, exposed stone and cavern-like rooms that add a new level of drama to the wealth of art hidden within the labyrinth of galleries. I take my time perusing the works, checking my little iPhone every so often for information about the many pieces whose meaning goes right over my head. Some of the art is a little weird, a lot of it is gorgeous (in a curious sort of way), and almost all of it is just downright cool.
By late afternoon, my coffee-induced dedication has much outlasted the focus of my pals and we all meet up together at the front of the museum to head back to Hobart. It’s been dreary and overcast and drizzly all day, but as we step out of the museum, we see that the clouds have ebbed back towards the mountains, leaving us free from rain and with spectacular views for the way back.
After my four days of bliss with the Trojan Tasmaniacs, the thought of leaving Hobart tomorrow morning just about breaks my heart. I do have a pretty fantastic few weeks ahead of me, though, and I will definitely be back. If not for the hiking, or the scenery, or the food, then at least for the coffee.