We flew from Heathrow to Dubai, a quick coffee in Dubai International Airport, مطار دبي الدولي, then on to Melbourne where we touched down on Australian soil… OK, it was in the state of Victoria, not Tasmania, but we were in the right country! Arriving at dusk it was too dark to see anything but the lights and tarmacced roadways and big buildings of the airport complex and the hotel we were staying in.
We were tired but elated and decided to have a drink first then go up to our rooms, and this was where we encountered Yak. We had been served Boag’s beer on the plane, a Tasmanian beer which excited us, but a fellow traveller recommended Yak, which came in three brew, Fat Yak, Wild Yak and Lazy Yak, and Yak is what we drank.
Relaxed now, we ascended to our room… which was enormous, almost bigger than the ground floor of our home, and with a huge picture window looking out into the night and the lights of the airport. I have a thing about bath robes and was delighted that we had some… a cup of tea, then bed and surprisingly, straight to sleep. A buffet breakfast then across to the departures lounge to fly to Hobart.
it was a small plane, and I didn’t have a window view, but could look across the man next to me and see out. It was hardly any distance across the sea before there was land beneath us, coastline, mountains, patches of green among the sandy brown, but wisps of cloud obscured a proper view. The flight was short, it’s not far to The Island, and then we were touching down.
I stepped off the plane and my lungs seemed to expand as I breathed in the Tasmanian air. Soft and pure and with an almost familiar scent of… scent of… Pepper? Spice? Wood? A new unknown aroma, something I had never smelled before, but somehow knew? Is there such a thing as genetic memory?
We picked up our bags, and because it was a domestic flight from Melbourne we went straight through into arrivals, and then through sliding doors… There was a parking area, pick-up/drop-off, a few cars and buses cruising around and beyond the fence, dark bottle green trees, and pale sandy hills…
“Welcome to Tassie! Do you need a lift to your hotel?” a friendly bus driver asked and within minutes she had us aboard, our luggage loaded by the first of many Phils we met, and we were on our way, driving to Hobart where my great-grandfather, Louis Frederick Walford was born.
Welcome to Tassie, it felt like welcome home…