Dutch backpacker Anna met some interesting people on the way to the top of Mount Wellington.
Bushwalking, hiking, kayaking and climbing are my favourite things to do in Australia. Tasmania is one of the best places in the world to do all these outdoorsy activities. On my second day in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, I decided to walk some of the tracks on Mount Wellington. Well prepared and early in the morning I left my hostel to take the bus to the foot of the mountain, where the tracks start. My plan was to buy a map and get some information at the local tavern. Unfortunately the maps were sold out, so I had to follow the direction signs on the tracks.
I started making my way up to the top of the mountain around 10am. After an hour and a half of walking I reached ‘The springs’ a resting point with cabins. At this point it started to rain. I was a little worried, because I knew the weather can change quickly on Mount Wellington and I didn’t exactly knew where the next place to shelter was. Because of safety reasons I considered walking back, but then I met a 72-year old Australian lady, Marian, and after some small talk she invited me in her campervan to join her and her husband to drive to the top of the mountain. When we reached the top Marian and Bob told me everything about their travels and they offered me a nice coffee. The coffee was served with cookies. Marian said: ‘You might know these cookies.’ The cookies did look very familiar. In Holland they are called ‘kletskoppen’(translated: really talkative persons). Marian appeared to have a whole stack of kletskoppen: she had six big packages of them, all with images of windmills on the packaging. It was so funny to eat something typical Dutch while drinking coffee with two Australians on top of a mountain. Marian gave me one package to take home. The only thing which was a pity was that we couldn’t see much of Hobart because of the clouds, but these grey nomads, they are on the road since they stopped working ten years ago, made it a warm and friendly experience.
Marian and Bob were going to camp on top of the mountain. Marian insisted on helping me to find a lift back and there was just one other car in the car park. Marian and I went to the car, where we met Ron (78) and Von (73) from the Gold Coast. They were happy to take me back to Hobart and they offered me a sandwich and fruit pie. On the way Von decided she wanted to go to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart. She invited me to go with them and so we went to the gardens together. I had so much fun with my new grandpa Ron. At a small building site for a new hothouse they were growing gravel, according to Ron. Von was still recovering from a life threatening disease, but no stairs was too steep for her. She is so strong and she taught me a lot about the flora in the botanical gardens. Before we went home Ron shouted me an ice cream, which tasted really good at the end of this adventurous day.
I really enjoyed the company of these inspiring people. They have all seen so much of the world and are still so active. Their lifestyles keep them fit, as they say. The most striking was all four persons I met were in their second marriage and I could see they were happy with their current partners. Bob stroked Marians cheek and she was still smiling to him like it was their second date. Von and Ron are not married, but are together for twenty years and still having fun. Both couples advised me to stay single when I’m young and see the other fish in the sea before I choose to be with someone. I’ll follow their advice and I hope to be a happy grey nomad in fifty years time.