After packing our stuff (of course Mark was much more faster than I…), we continued our road to the south along the East coast of Tasmania.
We had a short stop on Denison Beach to admire the pristine beaches, before hitting Bicheno, a beautiful little town a bit further on the coast. On this part of the Tasmanian coast, there is an alternance of fantastic beaches and granitic rock formations, which make the landscape really amazing. We had a gorgeous (not to say gargantuan) lunch near an impressive blowhole on the shore in Bicheno.
During the lunch we were joined by two ladies and we quickly started a conversation. (People here nearly always say hello to each other and talk together, this is sooo enjoyable!). We quickly discovered that there were many troubling coïncidences between us four. The first young lady, Katherine, has indeed a Belgian mother and is currently studying electrical engineering. I told her more about Belgium, my job in the long-term grid planning of the Belgian high-voltage grid, and Elia. After her studies, she might come to Belgium and work in the electricity business. In that case I will do my best to welcome her as good as people welcome me here! The second lady, Andrea, lives in Tasmania for more than 15 years now but comes from Germany. She guides groups of German-speaking tourist across the most beautiful places of Tasmania. Her brother is named Bernhard and she is currently learning Spanish (as I try to do) because her son lives with a girl from Colombia. Of course I got another bunch of great advices for the rest of my trip in Tasmania, and I was offered to pay them a visit in Launceston. Saddly I doubt this will be possible because I will probably not have the time to do so after hiking the Overland Track.After this nice stop, we biked for one more hour together until the crossroads where we had to separate. Indeed, I am doing a side-trip to Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park while Mark has to head back directly to Hobart to get ready for his departure to Japan end of this month. Thank you so much Mark for the fantastic company (and the Miso soups 😉 ) during this two days! Normally we will still see each other in Hobart on January 29 or 30 for a highly anticipated mountain bike tour!
I rode the 30 last kilometres as a poor and lonesome biker. Since I had no exact plan for the night and next day, I went straight to the information centre of the National Park to learn more about the walks and camping possibilities in the park, but I arrived 15 minutes too late. After considering for half an hour what I should do, I biked back to the youth hostel of Coles Bay but again arrived just 10 minutes too late. I stand there a bit disappointed and lost when I met two girls staying at the hostel, Arielle (from France) and Qi (from China). They encouraged me to pitch my tent somewhere in the lawn of the hostel and sort it out the next morning with the reception. Finally I could reach the receptionist and hence stay in the hostel. I had a very nice evening talking with the other guests of the hostel, among them a Californian guy in his fifties that toured New Zealand with his bike on his young age, and told me that it was fantastic memories for him. Unfortunately, due to a brain aneurism he can’t bike at a high pace anymore, but he is still as much enjoying life and you can feel that he has an harmonious life.
Tomorrow, Qi, Arielle and I will do a day-hike together in Freycinet National Park. Qi is also travelling with her bicycle, from Launceston to Hobart along the East coast. She is a serious cyclist as she rode around 100 kilometres a day so far! We are both happy that we will be able to ride together the day after tomorrow.
This day made me even more realise that even if I am travelling alone, I rarely feel alone because I meet lots of nice people on my way. Of course, the “necessity” to take the road every day makes all these encounters ephemeral, which is a bit sad sometimes. But even if they are short, we still can share strong moments together and who knows, maybe I will meet some of these people again…