Tag Archives: New York

Blogs can connect people purposefully and with pleasure

Some people refer to social media as a force which separates people, however in my experience I see it brings people together. Through my blog I have ‘met’ interesting people with whom I might not otherwise have connected and I have learnt a great deal.  My blog has introduced me to a world of wonderful ideas, beautiful environments, and to people who demonstrate they are vitally alive.  Every day I love to open my laptop and check who has sent me a comment or an email or to discover and read a recent blog posting by someone I am following.

Earlier this year, blogger Denise from upstate New York emailed to tell me she was coming to Tasmania and would love to walk in one of the locations I had previously written up.  This started what has now developed into a strong online relationship.  Eventually we met and walked when she visited Tasmania.

Denise at MONA 2015

The photo above shows Denise heading off towards the car park. It was the end of the day after we had walked from GASP (Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park), lunched at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), checked out the current exhibitions, and realised it was time to travel home.

This November has been a special month for Denise because she decided to highlight special people in her life: she selected 30 people and wrote a daily post throughout November. I was immensely surprised when she added me in. Denise’s post can be read on her blog ‘Dee Scribes’  When you have read this, you may like to read some of her earlier postings.  As a thoughtful, intelligent and articulate advocate for redefining disability, she is second to none.  Denise is a professional with  humour and flair.  I have learnt so much more by reading her blog posts. Thank you Denise.

Who am I?

Increasingly blog followers have questioned my enigmatic no-name status.  I have been secretive about my identity to protect myself from predators and weirdos. My surname is so rare that I wouldn’t want someone to track me to my house. When the walk was over I intended to reveal and explain more about myself so everyone could understand why I presented myself only as Tasmanian Traveller.

Despite this approach, for people who have emailed me, I have opened up a little more.  For the woman from upstate New York who visited me and asked to walk on some of the sections she had read about in my blog,  of course she got to learn so much more about me.  And she, and others, have been most respectful and careful to keep my gender and characteristics neutral and non-identifying. Thank you.

Now that the process for my walk from the mouth to the source of the Derwent River is evolving, I no longer see a need to retain my protective shell.  From now on, there will be safety in numbers as I walk with one or more friends.

So who am I?  My name is Helen Tyzack and I come from a working history in the visual arts and museology industries, plus an overlay of working in or for many different types of education institutions, government agencies and not-for-profit organisations.  All my life I have walked to get around, keep costs down, to be kinder to the climate, and to experience the beauties of the natural environment at close quarters. A few years ago I sold my car and have walked or used public transport ever since.  As a female, I have wanted to walk alone in remote and isolated country and by maintaining my anonymity this has been comfortably possible.  I am on the mature side of 60 years of age, short in stature with an overweight body, various health challenges and perpetual problems with my feet.  But I refuse to let these characteristics and impediments prevent me living; they slow me but they do not stop me. I will not let them stop me. I am energised by the possibilities of discovering new places, and my walk along the Derwent River has exceeded all my expectations. In recent years I have flown off to different countries around the world to learn and experience new adventures.  It has been one of the greatest surprises that the Derwent has offered so many revelations that the thought of overseas travel has been halted.  I guess it is always easier to think somewhere else will be more interesting yet a place right on your own doorstep can offer ‘the world’.

Helen at Otago Bay 2014

The photo of me above was taken by a passer-by as I walked past Otago Bay at the end of last year on Stage 7 of my walk along the Derwent River.

For each of the 15 walking stages completed so far, I have walked alone and independently, and have only been supported by public transport when buses deposited me at a starting point and collected me from each walk’s destination. I have realised this practice cannot continue because of the limited public transport options available in central Tasmania. As an alternative, I have decided to try a UBER-style approach to transport – friends are offering to be my chauffeur and in some cases they are offering to walk with me.

To cope with the constraints of private property restrictions, I am working with locals and others to obtain various kinds of alternative access to the Derwent River.  No project ever goes totally to plan and that is the joy of exploration: discovering new ways to meet changing personal expectations keeps my brain active and my mind vitally alive.

During my last walk, I reached the township of Gretna. From now on, as I head inland towards Lake St Clair, I expect to be accompanied by a friend who will drive me to key locations. Whenever we ‘touch’ the river I will walk north and south along the edge to the extent that the river and the landscape allow.  Gradually, I will walk past the river until I sink down with pleasure on the dam wall at the southern end of St Clair Lagoon with my goal achieved.  The next stages of my walk will represent the collection of the final pieces of a fabulous patchwork quilt – and once I have all the pieces, I will stitch them together into my blog to record a sequential and seamless walk from Gretna to Lake St Clair.  And then I will write two books: one will be a how-to-do-it publication for tourists and locals who want to understand how to use public transport to discover the river edges, and the second book will be a fictionalised account of my walk.

Walking the Back Roads

My upstate New Yorker blog follower (https://deescribesblog.wordpress.com/about) who came to Tasmania recently and walked with me along GASP to MONA, alerted me to the blogsite (https://walkingbackroads.wordpress.com/about/) re “Walking the Back Roads: A Hundred Years from Philadelphia to New Hampshire“.   She recognised my broad interest in people who decide to walk paths that are not normally walked. Thank you.  I love followers alerting me to such sites.

The walking the backroads blogsite has been inspired by a range of different books written by walkers of the highways and backroads of America through the 19th century. The blogger examines their stories.  He refers to the walk which he undertakes as ‘the long walk home’. Very interesting.

The concept of walking on backroads is instantly appealing to me. I wonder how many backroads exist which connect with Tasmania’s Derwent River in some way. I guess there may be hundreds and that they would all lead to interesting, mostly remote places. I imagine our backroads would peter out into bushland where sheep or cattle graze, rabbits multiply, indigenous wombats might run, Tasmanian devils fight for scraps of native food, or wallabies roam.

Suddenly the question comes to me; what is the definition of a backroad? When is a road no longer a main road? Is it a matter of how many people live along its edges?  Is it a matter of how many vehicles use it? Is it a matter of the road being unknown to the majority of the surrounding population? Is it possible to have a backroad in city areas or can they only be found in rural areas? Or are backroads, roads which are out of the way, difficult to find, and often not on maps?  And does a vehicular unsealed track count as a backroad?

In other words, how would I know if I was on a backroad? Is it sufficient that I make the decision?  Guess it would be. And I guess the locals may not refer to their road as a backroad even when I might.

Reliving GASP and MONA with a new walk along the Derwent River

On Stages 9 and 10 of my walk along the Derwent River, I passed the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and the Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park (GASP).  Yesterday I had the opportunity to introduce two international visitors to these important arts structures.

Mid-morning I met with a follower of my blog, De from upstate New York and her Arizona cousin Ke as we were chauffeured thanks to Ma, from the centre of Hobart to our starting point near the Derwent Entertainment Centre.

Our excursion started from the Pavilion at the southern end of the Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park (GASP) near the Derwent Entertainment Centre.  Do you remember my photos of that surprise pink glass wall?

20150109_085808

From a distance and approaching this structure, it looks dull, industrial and disused. But just as I had felt during my walk, my two new international co-walkers were amazed once we arrived at the site. Quite delightful and I have no doubt De will be displaying her own photos on https://deescribesblog.wordpress.com/ when she has time.

Then we started strolling and rolling along the bike/pedestrian path towards the slatted walkways with their colourful striped edges.  Many photos were clicked every time we reached a new striped walkway with a different set of colours.

20150319_111418

De gets around in a motorised wheelchair so when she spotted a scooter with its dinghy trailer (see photo below) waiting for its owner to return from their boat out on the Derwent River, she stopped in amazement. We talked about how good security seemed to be locally.  The scooter owner had left his/her shoes, helmet and other personal items, and despite a security strap set up to prevent movement, we all knew that enterprising thieves seem to carry bolt cutters with them these days.  But all was well yesterday.

scooter

Gradually clouds disappeared, the mountain looked sharp and much of the sky was blue.

20150319_114408

Glorious.  After a very cold North American winter, De soaked up the sunshine as the day warmed and we did everything to stay outdoors that we could.

We continued along the foreshore and turned towards the highway when we reached the Montrose High School. Then we were onto the bike/pedestrian track past Rosetta and into Berriedale before advancing up the entrance incline to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).  Along the way we admired the new autumnal colours of the Moorilla grape vines beside the road.

Vineyards

A visit to the exhibitions at MONA requires descent into cavernous spaces below ground so we decided to enjoy a lunch break first.  Despite the busyiness of the café directly above the museum, De motored through gaps in the visitors and took us outside into the open air where tables and chairs are set on the lawn. We admired great views up, down and across the Derwent River.

Our sparkling Moorilla wines were crisp and delicious, and the food choices were expansive.  De and I settled on a soba noodle with spring peas and pickled ginger salad, and Ke tucked into an Italian summer salad which included a great variety of ingredients dressed with the best local olive oil. Ducks and peacocks were out and about, seemingly comfortable with the thousands of visitors that come to MONA each week.

Satisfied by lunch we returned inside and took the lift to the bottom floor of MONA. Over the next couple of hours we wandered through the three levels of exhibits before De and Ke found the upstairs bookshop. The wonderful conclusion to our visit came when De spotted a spectacle outside.  They left the building and, along with a throng of tourists, took photographs of a huge unblemished and bright rainbow crossing over the entire River.

It was a great pleasure to show non-Tasmanians a small part of where I have been along the Derwent River, and De and Ke’s enjoyment enhanced mine. Thanks for your company and best wishes De for your conference presentation in Burnie tomorrow encouraging people to understand there are few limits other than those we set ourselves.

Denise leaving MONA

Both De and Ke gave me permission to include their photos in this blog.

International traveller may join me for a walk

A few months ago I was excited when a blog follower from upstate New York, told me she was coming to Tasmania and would love to take a walk with me to see some of the sites I have shown in my postings.  With increasing anticipation we have corresponded and now I expect her arrival this week. Sometime around midweek we expect to undertake a comparatively short ‘stroll’ from the southern end of the Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park (GASP) over the wonderful striped edged walkways over the edge of the Derwent River.   Do you remember them? For example,

20150109_083005

and

20150109_084404

Then we will head northwards into Berridale and on to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) with all its fascinations.  Perhaps we won’t be able to get away but if we do, there is always the possibility we might continue on to Cadburys chocolate factory. This doesn’t seem too shabby an itinerary.  What do you think?

Of course we will exercise our right to choose somewhere else to walk if we wish.

If anyone else is visiting and wants to relive a section of the edge of the Derwent River over which I have passed, please email me on walkingthederwent@gmail.com.

Opera (not Oprah) and the Derwent River

How can I make a connection? This blog is not meant to be a diary of my life rather a record of my walk along the Derwent River in Tasmania. However, when I experience something wonderful I feel enormous pressure to share.  My challenge, therefore, is to make a reasonable connection with the Derwent River.

Yesterday I watched, via their program ‘Live in HD’, one of Metropolitan Opera’s (New York) latest performances of Richard Wagner’s opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

The connection I am making is slim and relates only to the location of my viewing.  The opera was screened in MONA’s (Museum of New and Old Art) Cinemona theatre.  Long term followers of this blog will know that this internationally renowned Museum is located directly on the western shore of the Derwent River within the Greater Hobart Area (I walked there in Stage 9 and left there on Stage 10).

Another tidbit of connecting information is that a 3 Act opera named ‘Mona’ was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera just over a century ago (yes I am clutching at straws).  In her book American Opera, Elise Kuhl Kirk remarks: “By the time Mona was given its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1912, audiences had wearied of German ideology. Parker’s heroic libretto was ‘somewhat grey’ some said … Parker admired … Wagner.”

The Met’s latest performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg was definitely not grey. It is the story of a man in love who needed to become a mastersinger, but had no experience and possibly no talent, in 16th century Nuremburg Germany. Richard Wagner wrote and composed this opera in the 1860s.

Through their ‘Live in HD’ program, the Met releases a series of operas around the world each year.

Years ago, the CMAX at Devonport on the northwest coast of Tasmania was the only cinema in this State to screen the series. In the past couple of years MONA at Berriedale has also offered the fabulous opportunity to see what amounts to current performances (the actual performance would have been staged in New York only a few weeks ago), current sets and current sophisticated back-stage technology.  The singers are world class at the top of their careers, and the sounds they make can be sublime. During the intermissions, routinely a notable opera singer interviews members of the cast, sometimes the conductor of the orchestra, the Stage Manager or others – all of which adds immeasurably to the pleasure of the experience.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is Wagner’s longest work and the performance lasts over 6 hours including the two intermissions.  The outside temperature in Hobart was very warm yesterday so being able to immerse myself inside watching the performance made me feel extremely fortunate.

Words such as thrilling, brilliant, overwhelming, powerful, breathtaking, and rousing all come to mind when I remember my experience – especially in the third Act.  This opera will be rescreened at MONA tomorrow (23rd Feb) and again on Friday 27th Feb for anyone who is interested to visit MONA by the Derwent River.  I feel sure you will have heard the main theme of this opera before: check out the start of an orchestral performance at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKG8ZxEOdwE  (Published on Apr 6, 2012 Full Opera Recording “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg”. Sung by Theo Adam, René Kollo, Geraint Evans, Peter Schreier, Helen Donath, Ruth Hesse. Recorded by Staatskapelle Dresden and the Chorus of the Staatsoper Dresden. Conducted by Herbert von Karajan (EMI, studio, 1970).)