Bushwalking, hiking, kayaking and climbing are my favourite things to do and Tasmania is one of the best places in the world to do these outdoorsy activities. On my second day in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, I decided to walk some of the tracks on Mount Wellington. I left my hostel early in the morning and took 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 signs.
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 know where the next shelter would be. 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 to her campervan to join her and her husband as they drove to the top of the mountain.
When we reached the top, Marian and Bob told me everything about their travels and offered me a coffee. The coffee was served with cookies. Marian said: “You might know these cookies.” Indeed, the cookies did look very familiar. In Holland they are called ‘Kletskoppen’ (translated: really talkative people). Marian had six big packages of Kletskoppen, all with images of windmills on the packaging. It was so funny to eat something typically Dutch while drinking coffee with two Australians on top of a mountain. Marian gave me a packet to take home.
It was a shame that we couldn’t see much of Hobart because of the clouds, but these grey nomads 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 but 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 offered me a sandwich and a fruit pie.
On the way, Von decided she wanted to go to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart and she invited me to go with them. I had so much fun with my new ‘grey nomad grandparents’.
Von was still recovering from a life-threatening disease, but no stairs were too steep for her. She was so strong and she taught me a lot about the flora in the botanical gardens. Before we went home Ron shouted me an
I really enjoyed the company of these inspiring people. They’ve all seen so much of the world and are still so active. They told me that their lifestyles keep them fit. The most striking thing was all four people I met were in their second marriages, and I could see they were so unbelievably happy with their current partners.
Bob stroked Marian’s cheek and she was still smiling at him like it was their second date. Von and Ron aren’t married, but have been together for 20 years and are still having fun.
Both couples advised me to stay single while I’m young and remember that there are plenty of other fish in the sea before I choose to be with someone. I’ll follow their advice and hopefully I’ll be a happy grey nomad
in 50 years time.
February 10th, 2012