Saturday, February 5, 2011
Been home for a week, it's cold, what do you say we head back to the South Island?
I knew this day would come, and it's not quite as bad as I envisioned. The temp is somewhere around 30˚F and snow is falling, but it's beautiful and I have my big truck and warm coats back. I've also been reminded how many kind, generous, helpful, funny, and warm people I know here. I am grateful that we're all home safe and sound and with that let's get back to the South Island of Aotearoa.
Seems we left off a few weeks ago with Fox Glacier on the west coast of the South Island. It was icy, enormous, and dangerous. And there was a rainforest at the bottom. Remember? Good, now up SH 6 a ways and we'll see some more cool sights.
After a couple of strenuous days of cycling through gale force winds and hiking on glaciers, and some long drives this was a nice short little leg where we were able to sit back and enjoy the gorgeous wild beaches and vegetation of the west coast. We tried soooo hard to find some penguins, but to no avail, and at that point there was still plenty of time.
Lots and lots of milk trucks up and down the roads in the late afternoons. I'll miss seeing this. Of course I'm also thankful that we didn't collide with any of them on the twisty narrow roads. And then there's this from the backseat.
The only town of any size that we passed through on this route was Hokitika, where we just made it in time to find a grocery as it was closing and picked up some bread, peanut butter, jelly, some zucchini to chop up, and some ranch dressing for dipping. And chocolate milk. (We're total partiers.) Not much around where we would be staying so that was dinner and it was yum.
Our accommodations for that night were at one of our favorite places, New River Bluegums B&B, where we stayed in a lovely cottage on the property of a friendly family and their dog, Coco. The little boy, Harry, was so kind to share his Christmas crackers with us at breakfast in their gorgeous home. By that time it was Christmas Eve and it was good to be with a family and a pup. Plus there was a family of Wekas (a flightless NZ bird that looks similar to the Kiwi) living on the property and we hadn't seen any Wekas yet! Exciting (yes, if you're a nerd)...
I hope we can find some Christmas crackers here next December. They're quite fun and silly. They contain these horrible jokes and some toys (Harry gave me a truly adorable beaded bracelet from his), and a crown.
Did any of you see the post from a couple of weeks ago where I showed you the Gisborne airport runway that intersects with train tracks? If that little conundrum was interesting at all to you, here's another mixed up transportation merger.
"Sure!" the locals will nonchalantly tell you when you ask if the train tracks are still used. "Well, the train goes pretty slow, so you can always back up if you see it coming..." At this point we just nod and smile.
Once the car/train bridge was successully crossed, Greymouth was the next stop. If you saw the horrible mining disaster stories on the news back in December, that happened close to Greymouth. Sharon, our B&B hostess, suggested we stop at an art store there that featured local west coast artists. Thanks, Sharon! We then had no money left for food for the next week, but boy did we find some great stuff!! :o) Laurel and I spotted a wire vase that hangs on a wall and reckoned we could put some of our beach pebbles in it, and then we learned that the woman that was working that morning was the artist that made it. Nice to meet the people that make things that we bring back home to enjoy.
Oooooh boy, you should see the snow falling out there. I am thinking that I'll stay here on the sofa and get started on the next post which is the Pancake Rocks (!!!!!!). They were so cool. Check back soon!
Lots of snowy hugs to all, K.