Tuesday, 29 April 2014

2013 Trip to Tasmania - Flowers and The Last Retreat

It was the only time of the year, two weeks around the border between November and December, when we could see both of them. We specifically planned the trip for that time, half a year in advance telling our bosses that they had to adjust their business plans so that their companies would not collapse in our absence. If we arrived two weeks earlier or later we would see only one or another. It had to be the right time of the year, time when both poppies and lavender were in bloom. And you know what - it was a wrong year!


When we arrived to Bridestow Lavender Estate we hoped to see this:
What we actually saw was this:

Normally, we were told by locals, lavender was in full bloom during that time, but Year 2013 was special: it had some cool weeks which delayed the start of flowering season. Instead of vast lilac expanses we found rows of some green plant which, for all I knew, could be parsley. There was just one patch which started to bloom, and what with my wife being a graphic designer, it was enough to photoshop the rest of the farm into full blossom... But that wouldn't leave me an opportunity to grumble.

What do people do when they feel frustrated and unhappy? Right, they eat. To make up for the lack of visual delights, we went to the local cafe, where we indulged our gustation and olfaction in all things lavender - lavender tea, lavender muffins and lavender scones. We were, however, thoroughly disappointed when we discovered that Ploughman's Lunch, served as a main dish, didn't contain even a hint of lavender.

Somehow, the specialness of that year did not affect poppies. They start to bloom before lavender, and one would expect that, because of the lower than usual temperatures, the period of poppy flowering would also be pushed back. Not at all! Those sturdy bastards braved the weather, got pollinated in due time, and when we stopped to take a picture, many of them greeted us with a green seed capsule instead of a beautiful red flower. And to add insult to injury those flowers that were still in sight were not red; they sported watered down lilac colours which made them look like a pale parody of lavender. Well, next time someone in our family plans a trip to photograph flowers, I'll send her to a florist.

Our last accommodation in Tasmania was Aspect Tamar Valley Resort. It was the last, but not... (oops, nearly fell into the groove of political correctness). In fact, it was the least. It was the least liked stay of our trip. On the surface, everything was beautiful: picture-perfect views of chalets in an alpine village - a photographer's delight. Unfortunately, the actual experience was far from ideal. For one thing, what was advertised as a chalet appeared to be a kind of a granny flat having a common wall with a double-storey house. I wouldn't see any dramas in such arrangement, were it not for sound insulation. It was non-existent. When the occupants of the house walked on the first floor I had full impression of them being right above us, although there was only roof. The resort also offered hotel rooms which might have been a better choice for us but they were more expensive. Then, there was a local restaurant which advertised live music on Friday night from 7 pm to 10 pm, but it was closed when we came there at 9:30 pm. Good thing we weren't hungry and came there only for drinks; at that time the list of wines which could be obtained from the boot of our car could successfully compete with a range offered at an average bar. Finally, it was the first place where we, under a threat of being charged for the service included into price elsewhere, had to wash and dry dishes and cutlery before leaving. 

The only positive aspect of that resort was its location; it was a good starting point for exploring the wineries of Tamar Valley. In fact, one of them was on the same street.