There is no greater experience in this travelling life than taking a solo trip across Europe. Free from the restrictions of having travel buddies with different ideas, open to changing…
Neun Dinge, die Hobart und Barcelona gemeinsam haben (außer Latitude)
Nine similarities between the greatest place in the world and another place that people seem to like visiting a lot
The Stoke office’s resident fountain of dubious fun facts recently produced something actually worth listening to – a tidbit about Tasmania. It turns out that Hobart, Tasmania and Barcelona, Spain share the same latitude – 42 degrees south and north respectively. How curious! What is also curious is how many other things the most underrated place in the world and the world’s most obvious choice of holiday destination have in common.
Barcelona has cheese, and they’re so proud of it that on the Aerobus propaganda televisions you will read something along the lines of In Catalonia the milk from cows and goats is used to make excellent cheese. The cheese in Barcelona isn’t bad and makes a solid contribution to that general feeling of salty overindulgence that will characterise your experience of eating while there.
Hobart is a full-fat, creamy heaven at the pointy end of the island of milk and honey, Tasmania. Sure, the dairy is a little more expensive there, but it’s not cheap to fly double cream brie over from the rugged terrain of King Island where the cows roam wild on the salt sprayed pastures, flicking their tails at Mother Nature. In the supermarkets, you can buy milk so fresh that it still has a chunky layer of delicious cream on top, which will splat down into your muesli to be chewed alongside the sweetest of sultanas.
Barcelona boasts several famed wine varieties including local specialties vino rojo und vino blanco. These wines are quite delicious and will help you wash down the patatas Bravas and salty cheese that are on every menu everywhere. Their strongest point is their cheap-ish price, because the government does not enforce a high alcohol tax. The Catalonians love a good demonstration, and what with drinking wine all night being part of their traditional way of life, they would burn the city down if such a tax was so much as suggested. There has been something of a housing crisis in Barcelona in recent years, but at least everyone can afford to be drunk all the time.
In Hobart, housing is more affordable but getting drunk is becoming increasingly expensive. This is because the Australian government doesn’t want us to drink or smoke, or marry people of the same gender, or accept refugees and so on and so forth. This might lead you to believe that the general wine and merriment situation in Hobart is inferior to that in Barcelona, but luckily Tasmania is 50% protected National Park and 35% protected National Vineyard, meaning that the wine industry is thriving. There are literally rivers of wine that flow from all over the state and converge in Hobart, a veritable swamp of delicious god nectars.
- Extreme weather
One of the things that makes Barcelona so popular with drunk people from the UK is its supposed hot summers. You will see Europeans of every creed, in fact, getting semi-to-fully naked on Barceloneta beach and sizzling their nipples in the sun against a scintillating soundtrack of Sangria Mojito! Cold water beer! Cerveza beer! Agua water beer! In winter it gets relatively cold, so people from the UK pack up their nipples and go home where their tans will wash off in two days, while the people remaining in Barcelona will have to start sleeping under doonas and sometimes wear coats.
Hobart locals like to claim that their sun has a little more “bite”, and forgetting to put sunblock on is liable to leave you with blisters which will turn into scars that you’ll get to keep for life. The weather may not be consistently hot for the duration of summer, but this is for the best, because each silly season roughly half the state goes up in flames. In winter, it has been known to snow on the beaches, and floods and road closures mean that sometimes you will get the day off work.
- A tad on the proud side?
Catalonians don’t like being called Spanish, many of them vocally agitate for independence from the Motherland and some of them spray paint things like Fuck Off Tourists near popular attractions.
Tasmanians don’t mind being called Australian but draw the line at being confused with Tanzanians, are reasonable enough to realise that, regrettably, their separation from the “mainland” can be nothing more than physical at this stage, and out of economic necessity are pretty nice to tourists (even though they will mock your obscene coffee order and pretences of worldliness behind your back).
- Dancing skills
The fiery flamenco. The steamy salsa. Just try having a lesson and not ending up sleeping with your partner (isn’t that right, certain members of the Stoke office?). Even the way a Barcelonian walks can be like an aggressive little sex jig.
Such antiquated courting methods have their charms, but the Tassie Two-Step which carves the dancefloors of Hobart is the future of dance. In fact, Hobart is the future of dance. Vice said so.
- Would be better off if they legalised drugs
Do you like something? Smoke weed? Coffee shop? the drug dealers will croon as you innocently try to walk through the heavily touristed areas of Barcelona. There are numerous seed shops, a hemp museum, and the smell of weed wafts all over Barceloneta beach and the groups of students which hang out near universities. Shouldn’t Catalonia put the baddies out of business and just legalise already?
Yes. And so should Tasmania. Because basically everyone has a backyard big enough to start dabbling, meaning all the state’s youth unemployment problems would vanish. Also, the current approach to the ice epidemic clearly isn’t working, nor is sending sniffer dogs into da clubs on a Saturday night and scaring the shit out of every 20-something with .5-3 pingers on them, so how bout we try something else already?
- Beach clubs
Shoko. Carpe diem. Pash-whatever. Port Olimpic in Barcelona is lined with weird, tackily themed blocks which signify the presence of the subterranean clubs below. Here you can pay €12 for a basic drink, enjoy having no personal space, and have a silent panic attack as you notice there are no visible fire exits and recall tales of particularly wasted tourists being “snatched” from such venues.
Hobart and surrounds also have beach clubs, where surf life savers do activities in the water and sometimes people hire them out for functions where drinks cost far less than €12. There is also the Observatory (Obar in the local tongue) on Hobart’s waterfront, which is similar to places like Shoko except smaller and above ground, and if there is a fire you can always jump out of the window and into the safety of the wharf.
- Skate spots
Yes okay Barcelona, we know about MACBA already, we see your grungily-themed Nevermind bar, obviously named for Nirvana and featuring a skate ramp. People are even managing to make rollerblading look cool here. But to the detriment of the city’s rep as a sweet skate spot, you will never see as many people rolling around on longboards as you do in Barcelona.
Hobart has a new skate park at Rosny. It also has a skate shop with a skate ramp in it, where you can drink Cascade Blues so that is practically a bar with a skate ramp in it. It also has a phenomenon going on where 50% of girls aged 14 and under can skate good, this is a true fact.
Barcelona has many museums and they are pretty good. There’s the Museum of Contemporary Art. There’s one about Picasso, and some others. At the CCCB, there’s currently an exhibition about sexuality in architecture, and if you go you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of porn included.
Hobart has MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, which has a wall of plaster moulds of actual vaginas. There is also a poo machine and other confronting things, some aesthetically pleasing things also. We know this museum is cool because some people from Melbourne came and told us. They also told us our coffee was quite good, which is a huge compliment coming from them because they’re from Melbourne. Entry to the museum is free for Tasmanians – lokals only tourists fukoff.
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