Mersey Bluff

The waters of the Mersey River travel 147km from Lake Meston in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park to escape into Bass Strait at Mersey Bluff on the northwest coast of Tasmania.

1.Mersey Bluff

The dolerite headland was formed 185 million years ago in the Jurassic Age. As the rock cooled, joints and fractures were created along with some very flat surfaces, providing places where the Aborigines would sit and carve.

2.Mersey Bluff

Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place has been closed for quite some time due to lack of funding. The building houses the history, art and culture of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people and there are several rock carvings and middens along the bluff walk.

3.Tiagarra

The lighthouse was completed in 1889 and was automated in 1920. The addition of four vertical red stripes in 1929 make it quite distinctive.

We followed the footpath around the bluff with spectacular views of the coastline to the east.

6.Mersey Bluff

There are many rock formations along the way, it’s not difficult to see why this one is called ‘the hat’.

7.The Hat

The lighthouse receded behind us

8.lighthouse

as we rounded the point, the sun highlighting the colours in the rocks.

9.rocks

I could sit for hours and watch the incoming tide sneak its way into each crevice, retreating angrily in defeat.

10.Mersey Bluff

11.Mersey Bluff

Diamonds sparkled on the water as far as the horizon.

14.Mersey Bluff

We passed a craggy memorial to a brave young man who lost his life while trying to save another.

17.Mersey Bluff

The path continues to Mersey Bluff Reserve but we took the short cut back instead, through the picnic ground with serene water views.

19.Mersey Bluff20.Mersey Bluff

County Donegal

After a very comfortable night and hearty breakfast at the Ramada Hotel in Portrush, we took an early morning stroll to admire the scenery before continuing on our circuitous journey of Ireland. The small seaside resort town was quiet this time of year, the snow-capped mountains confirming the advent of winter.

1.Portrush2.Portrush

A panoramic ten minute drive

3.drive

delivered us to Portstewart. Founded in 1792, this fishing village became a popular holiday destination for middle-class Victorian families. The two miles of golden sandy beach are still popular

4.Portstewart

and waterside homes have a stunning backdrop.

5.Portstewart

The spectacular Derryveagh Mountains accompanied us on our route through County Donegal,

6.Derryveagh Mountains7.Derryveagh Mountains

until we met the coast again at Ardara. The beautiful beaches, perfect for swimming, were serenely deserted.

8.Ardara9.Ardara10.Ardara

To the east, the Blue Stack Mountains loomed out of the mist.

11.Blue Stack Mountains

We stayed the night at the Holyrood Hotel in Bundoran, the tourist season was obviously, well and truly over.

The Gorge

We recently crossed another item off the bucket list with a wonderful lunch at The Gorge Restaurant in Launceston. Located in the Cliff Grounds at Cataract Gorge, the building was constructed in 1896 as a tearooms, replacing the white refreshments tent that previously served picnickers.

1.The Gorge Restaurant

In the early 1970s, the Gorge Restaurant opened, being the first licensed alfresco dining area in Australia.

2.The Gorge Restaurant

The Victorian style gardens were showing signs of spring.

2a.Cherry blossom

We opted to dine inside, the relaxing ambience was most welcoming.

3.The Gorge Restaurant4.The Gorge Restaurant

Our window seat afforded lovely views over the garden and tree tops.

5.the view6.rhododendrons7.the view

We settled in with a refreshing Clover Hill sparkling rosé from the Tamar Valley

8.Clover Hill Non Vintage Rosè

while nature provided the entertainment.

9.sparrow

The extensive wine list was narrowed down to a Frogmore Creek 2016 Riesling, sustainably grown in the Coal River Valley. It proved to be the perfect choice.

The friendly waiter was very patient while we decided on our meals, there was so much to choose from. We were very happy with the Crispy Spiced Quail, red cabbage & gin slaw, cauliflower puree and maple bacon,

12.Crispy Spiced Quail

Braised Beef Cheek, Paris mash, thyme roasted baby carrots & lager jus

13.Braised Beef Cheek

and Tasmanian Bush Pepper Calamari, chilli & lime rice vermicelli, coriander & rocket.

14.Tasmanian Bush Pepper Calamari

We savoured the wine while the chairlift glided past the window, sometimes with a passenger, sometimes uninhabited, before ordering dessert.

15.chairlift

My Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie, candied pecans, ginger crumb & spiced cream had to be seen to be believed.

We shared tastings of the Warm Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownie, white chocolate parfait & raspberry coulis

19.Warm Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownie

and the Coconut Lime Tart with rhubarb & blue curacao sauce.

20.Coconut Lime Tart

We walked off some of our decadence returning to the car park, pausing on the suspension bridge to take in the stunning landscape.

21.Cataract Gorge upstream22.Cataract Gorge lower basin

It was difficult to focus on this magnificent cormorant enjoying the sunshine, the bridge was swaying not me.

23.cormorant

Deredia a Lucca

There were some interesting additions to the city of Lucca on our last visit. Spectacular sculptures by Jiménez Deredia graced the main squares, their smooth, spherical lines a startling paradox to the surrounding ancient buildings.

1.Deredia a Lucca

Jorge Jiménez Martinez was born in Heredia, Costa Rica, in 1954 and began sculpting at the age of 13 after attending an art workshop. His signature style was influenced by the pre-Columbian sculptures of the Boruca tribe, monumental granite spheres he had seen in a museum as a young child. We came across the first sculpture just outside the city walls at Porta San Pietro, Genesi Costa Rica.

2.Genesi Costa Rica, Porta San Pietro

Martinez moved to Italy when he earned a study grant at the age of 22 and started working in marble and bronze. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, the marble from the Carrara quarries has been used for centuries for both building and sculpture. Juego was waiting at Piazzale Vittorio Emanuele, her bronze curves impossibly smooth.

In the early 1980s, Martinez changed his name to Deredia. He created a series of works known as Geneses in 1985, representing the transformation of matter and his belief that we are all just stardust, transmutating over time. Reclining in Piazza del Giglio, Recuerdo Profundo looks comfortably serene.

6.Recuerdo Profundo, Piazza del Giglio

Mistero seems incongruous against the 13th century façade of San Michele in Foro.

7.Mistero, Piazza San Michele8.Mistero, Piazza San Michele

Feminine qualities feature strongly in Deredia’s work, from motherhood, fertility and birth to different stages of life after birth. There were another three sculptures in Piazza San Michele, Germinacion,

Encuentro,

12.Encuentro, Piazza San Michele13.Encuentro, Piazza San Michele

and a very contented Plenitud.

14.Plenitud, Piazza San Michele15.Plenitud, Piazza San Michele

Sentinella was waiting in Piazza San Giovanni

16.Sentinella, Piazza San Giovanni

while the perfect spheres of Essenza and Transmutazione continued the theme of fertility in Piazza San Martino.

The sheer size of the sculptures was breathtaking. Pareja in Piazza dell’Anfiteatro with a breadth of more than three metres, was a beautiful, imposing presence of two women leaning on each other, the roundness of their bodies reflecting the light.

19.Pareja,Piazza dell'Anfiteatro

It was a privilege to experience Deredia in the enchanting city of Lucca.

Central Market

There was one place I simply had to visit on a recent trip to Adelaide. My memories of the seemingly endless stalls of fresh produce, the tantalizing aromas and vibrant atmosphere had me yearning to return. Adelaide Central Market began in 1869 and until redevelopment in 1965 was known as City Market.

1.Central Market Photo courtesy of SA History Hub

Photo courtesy of SA History Hub

With the establishment of Chinatown in the 1980s came traditional Chinese archways guarded by lions, pagoda style roofs and lanterns decorating a street lined with Chinese restaurants and grocery stores.

Central Market has an interesting history but that’s another story. This is about food. Meeting my two accomplices at the southern paifang (Chinese archway), we embarked on our journey of discovery. Join us as we wend our way along each aisle to ensure we miss nothing.

10.fresh produce

The House of Health offers bulk wholefood from grains, lentils, beans, rice, flours, nuts, seeds and dried fruit to Chia, Cacao and Hemp Seeds.

For authentic Latvian and Baltic foods using traditional recipes, the Latvian Lunchroom has a quirky cosiness.

13.The Latvian Lunchroom

The wall opposite presents part of an exhibition entitled, ‘The Market Through Our Eyes’, by Little Picassos Art Studios. 400 artworks fill the walls throughout the market for four weeks, capturing the spirit of Adelaide Central Market through children’s eyes.

14.Little Picassos

A wide selection of nuts, dried fruits and confectionery waited at The Carousel Nut Bar

15.Carousel Nut Bar

and Michael’s fruit & veg…well, it speaks for itself.

Something Wild is Australia’s first indigenous native greens, native game and meat wholesaler.

They have collaborated with Adelaide Hills Distillery to produce the unique Green Ant Gin.

20a.Green Ant Gin

The Green Ants are known for their medicinal benefits and protein content among indigenous societies and are harvested in the Northern Territory by the Motlop family of the Larrakia people. We enquired as to the flavor of the ants and were presented with a sample to taste. The intense citrusy lime flavor was quite unique and not unpleasant, ants are something I had never contemplated eating.

21.green ants

The Olive Tree Food & Wine is the cellar door of the market, stocking South Australian wines, olives, marinated antipasto and extra virgin olive oil.

22.The Olive Tree Food & Wine

The Elephant in the Room couldn’t be ignored. The wines are sourced from the cool climate vineyards of the Limestone Coast region in south eastern South Australia, they are now on my shopping list.

23.Elephant in the Room

We were all smiles at Say Cheese, lingering a while to sample some of their local and imported cheeses.

The range of breads next door at Dough were boggling, I don’t know how we resisted the mouthwatering patisserie delicacies.

Even the simple egg looked enticing at the Happy Little Clucker.

Our cheese adoration came to the fore at The Smelly Cheese Shop,

the creamy Maison de la Truffe won my heart and my tastebuds. The Brie de Meaux style cheese is layered with fresh truffle pieces and tastes like heaven. I hope I can find it here in Tasmania.

38.The Smelly Cheese Shop

Jamface by Poh (some may remember Poh’s Kitchen on the TV) is an eclectic structure of reclaimed timber and mismatched windows. A popular stop for coffee or lunch in a relaxed atmosphere.

There was a huge variety to choose from at The Mettwurst Shop, all naturally smoked, nothing artificial and you can try before you buy.

We could have stayed at the market for hours, something new to discover at each stall.

Unfortunately, my baggage allowance and border control prevented me from purchasing goodies but I did get a little something from The Mushroom Man. After tasting mushrooms cooked in butter and tossed in Truffle and Black Garlic Salt, I couldn’t resist.

52.Truffle & Black Garlic Salt

I will return to Central Market one day, soon I hope.