Stanley was a nice place to take a day off. We got there by bus from Devonport, a 2 hour ride. Halfway we had to change into a smaller bus and the bikes didn't fit in the cargo hold below. No problem, they did fit in the aisle of the bus. The bus driver turned into the caravan park where we wanted to stay and dropped us off right in front of the office. How customer friendly can a bus company be?
We decided to take a room in the backpackers' hostel; it was raining, cold, there was a strong wind and the forecasts for the next day were even worse. We are definitely dealing with a Dutch-like climate here. But the forecast was wrong, the next day was glorious. Stanley is a small village (they will say town here) that sits behind a vulcanic rock, the Nut, and is surrounded by the sea. Now the sun was there and a gentle sea breeze, pristine! We made a walk on the Nut, had a beer in the pub and went out dining in a cute restaurant. A nice and quiet bikeless day.
Then we rode, with the conceived tailwind, back east. We stopped after a beautiful coastal trip with some rain in Burnie. There we were received by John and Prue, our Warmshowers hosts. To get there we had to climb a very steep hill, but the reward was a room (a complete house) with a grand view over the sea, here called Bass Strait. We were spoiled again and the next day we continued via some bike trails that we never would have found ourselves. Via Latrobe and beautiful Deloraine and through lovely rolling countryside we now have arrived in Launceston. The second biggest city in Tasmania (103.000 inh.) Here again we are the guests of a Warmshowers couple: Caro and Chris, who also have Amina, a 17-year old German school girl, as an exchange student in their house. As usual the reception is friendly and there is hardly any ice to be broken before we feel very at home here. The next day Caro, Chris and Amina leave the house in order to visit a four day festival in Hobart. But we can stay as long as we like, which we gladly do. The city has a number of things to see, we can take it at ease for a couple of days. We still haven't get used to this kind of hospitality, Warmshowers works miracles.
After having read our books, seen the musea, had a haircut, arranged our return flights home and a long walk in the Cataract Gorge (funny name, doctor) we will leave tomorrow morning for Scottsdale and further east to the coast there. They say that it is stunningly beautiful there, amazing, lovely and all that. They sure know how to sell their assests over here. We'll find out.
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