"" Writer's Wanderings: November 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Zealand Diary - On To Dunedin

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 

Mount Cook (Aoraki) stays hidden to us in the morning clouds and rainy mist. It is mysterious like Denali in Alaska and Mt. Rainier in Washington State. I’m sure it is quite spectacular when there is no rain and the clouds disappear.  

We make our way around Lake Pukaki and turn at the road that leads to Twizel. I can’t help but think of red raspberry Twizzlers every time I see the sign. I hunt for a piece of candy and decide it’s too early in the day to start eating sweets—unless of course we run into a McDonald’s McCafe that has the raspberry/pear bread we’ve been craving. Oh, how I wish the McD’s back home would have REAL McCafe’s and not just a fast food version.

Bob has planned only one stop today on our way to Dunedin so we are tuned into any signs for places of interest to stop. It doesn’t take long for us to see a sign for Benmore Dam and power plant. This area has a series of lakes and rivers that provide a lot of hydroelectric power. Benmore Dam looks to be the biggest dam. The power station is New Zealand’s second largest. The dam project was begun in 1958 and power began being supplied in 1965. While the visitor’s center is closed, we are still able to drive over the top of the dam and go to the viewpoint to look at the two large spillways that are full of rushing water.

Moving along, I notice on one of the maps we picked up at an Information Center  that there is a blue penguin colony in Oamaru which is right on our way to Dunedin. When we see the sign, we follow the directions until we find the spot where they can be seen. The problem is that these little guys spend their day out in the water feeding and gathering food for their chicks and aren’t seen until around dusk when they return to their burrows. A stadium like area is set up with seats for observers to watch the penguin parade as they come up from the sea and move through the grassy arena to their burrows. There is no picture taking allowed as it will cause the penguins to hide and not return to their young which need to be fed. We wander around a bit and check out the stuffed penguins in the main building but we can’t stay until dusk.

Not too far down the road we find our next stop, the MoerakiBoulders. Again Bob has done his homework and while the short walk from the café for a $2 fee looks inviting, he knows that a little way up the road is a free parking spot and an easy walk on the beach. The café walk would have been all steps up and down and this path along the beach gives us time to take in the fresh ocean breeze and enjoy nice water birds we see along the way including an oystercatcher we stop to observe for a few minutes as he nibbles his mid-morning catch.

I am more amazed by these round boulders than I thought I would be. Those that are all in one piece are perfectly round! The boulders are huge—some about six feet in diameter. A few have broken apart and look like a stone honeycomb inside. They were originally formed around a central core of carbonate of lime crystals that attracted minerals from their surroundings. It was a process started over 60 million years ago. The boulders were embedded in the muddy cliffs in the area and through erosion by the sea have been exposed.

As I look at them I can’t help but wonder at the shape of them. Everything we read says they are definitely not manmade. Amazing.

In a little while we arrive in Dunedin and find our motel. It turns out to be the smallest room we have had yet but we will make do. It will make our next stateroom on a cruise ship look big. We stash our stuff and start off to walk to the Information Center to be sure we haven’t missed anything in our planning. It is a lot farther than we counted on but once we are committed, we keep walking.

The IC people make the same suggestions as we have on our list. Unfortunately for us we have arrived a bit late to catch some of the tours. We just miss the last Speight’s brewery tour and by the time we find the Cadbury Chocolate factory, all we can do is drool over the large pile of chocolate crunch bars and satisfy our disappointment at missing that tour by buying some chocolate covered caramels.

The Dunedin railway station is still open though and not dependent upon a tour time. The station is an icon to the area and the inside is just as amazing as the brickwork on the outside. Constructed on reclaimed swampland in 1906, the station that at one time was the largest in New Zealand, no longer serves passengers but has an art gallery on the upper floor. The inside of the station is covered in thousands of small porcelain mosaic tiles made by Royal Dalton. 

The symbol of the railroad is repeated in the design in the floor and on the steps as you climb to the open balcony that surrounds the foyer. At either end of the upper balcony is a stained glass window with a locomotive in the center of it. The way it is made, the locomotive’s light seems to be illuminated. I wander around a bit and then find a bench to sit in the quiet atrium and rest.

We pull ourselves up from the benches we’ve rested on in the station and check our map to determine which direction to go to get us back to the motel. One foot in front of the other is an effort but we make it back and rest while we hunt for a place to eat. Bob checks Tripadvisor and I leaf through one of the booklets we picked up at the IC. I find a restaurant that is supposed to be Scottish. We are after all in the most Scottish city of New Zealand. I program Lady Garmon with the address. There is no way we are walking to City Center again.
Dinner at Scotia turns out to be a delight. The downstairs restaurant is a bit pricey so we choose to go upstairs to the bar for the short menu. We order what are called entrees. Over here, entrees are like heavy appetizers but can be used as a meal. The mains are usually pretty heavy meals. We both opt for lamb short ribs with sticky sauce. They come on top of chips (fries) that are wonderfully crunchy. I think they are still frying in the good stuff instead of the healthy stuff. The ribs are fall-off-the-bone good and the sauce delicious. We savor every bite.

Last on our to-see list for the day is the world’s steepest street, Baldwin Street. We were told that most visitors don’t attempt to drive up it because at one point it’s impossible to see the street over the hood of the car. It has a slope of almost 19 degrees and Bob has already promised me that he won’t attempt to drive it. I think he realizes I will jump out before he starts up. We park and take a few pictures. It is amazing although the pictures don’t do it justice. The information says it takes five minutes to walk up it. Sure, I think, for someone whose ankles have grown at an angle. In late February as part of the Summer Festival there is an event called “Gutbuster” where contestants run to the top and back down again. The current record is one minute 56 seconds. Okay.

When we see the arrow pointing to Signal Road lookout, we decide we are up for at least one more site. At the top of the lookout, we find a monument that commemorates 100 years of British rule. There is also embedded in the podium a tribute to Dunedin’s namesake: a chunk of the rock upon which Edinburgh Castle was built. It has a beautiful view of Dunedin but the sun is sinking and the wind picking up and the cold air chases us back to the car. It’s time to call it a day.

Monday, November 25, 2013

New Zealand Diary - Mt. Cook, The Tasman Glacier

Monday, October 21, 2013

It’s an early start to our morning as we check out of The Lilac Rose B and B. Maddie, the four legged host, bid us a fond farewell. We get stalled a bit in traffic getting out of Christchurch but the slowdown gives us opportunity to watch the kids as they head off to school. The popular mode of transportation is by scooter, the push-with-your-foot kind. A few are using bikes or skateboards but even fewer are just walking.

Mount Cook is our destination and it is a long drive for us today but at least for a good part of the drive, the road is flat and straight. This is probably the straightest and flattest driving we’ve done in all the time we’ve been in New Zealand so far. Along the way we see several fields of yellow blooms. This is the plant that canola oil is derived from.

At Lake Tekapo we find an old historic church, The Church Of The Good Shepherd. The name is bigger than the church. It probably seats 25 people at most but has a beautiful window overlooking the lake. It reminds me of another little church I believe we saw in the Alps in Europe whose window overlooked a lake and mountains.

A little farther on there is a small strip of stores and a couple of restaurants one of which looks inviting for lunch. We place our order at the counter and then find a seat at the window that looks out over the lake. Lake Tekapo is almost a Caribbean blue. The sun comes and goes but we can see lots of clouds in the direction we are headed. Not a good sign.
At the southern end of Lake Pukaki  we turn onto Mount Cook Road. It follows the shore of the lake which is full of white caps because the wind has picked up so much. There are still some spots of sun but more and more clouds are filling in the clear skies.

We can see some snowcapped mountains ahead but have no idea which one is Mount Cook. It begins to rain a bit—kind of like we are driving through a misty cloud. I wonder if it isn’t the wind whipping up some water from the lake and throwing it at us.
Where the lake ends and the braided river that feeds it begins, we see the wind drawing up sand from the river bed and twirling it like small tornadoes. It seems strange that it’s raining and yet the wind can whip up dry sand.

The Hermitage Hotel has a nice fire burning in the lobby’s fireplace. A welcome site since now there is a steady rain coming down. Thankfully there is a parking spot right next to the door where we need to enter to carry our suitcases in. Our room has a balcony with a view—well, the view for the moment is a foggy wall of rain but we can always hope for it to move on.

View from our room. Mt. Cook is there somewhere.
We wander around the hotel a bit. It is large and has quite a history even though it looks modern. The first Hermitage was built in 1884 by Frank Huddleston who sold it in 1885 to the Mount Cook-Hermitage Company that was formed to build an alpine village there. Things did not go well. The government took over. The Hermitage needed to be rebuilt and in 1914, the second Hermitage opened. Through the years it was expanded with extensions built on and then in 1957 disaster struck. A huge fire burnt the hotel to the ground. By 1958 it was rebuilt and has been extended and renovated through the years.

Next to the lobby, there is a museum featuring Sir Edmund Hillary and his conquest of Mount Cook (Aoraki), New Zealand’s tallest mountain (3754 meters), and several films about him and the mountain area are available to watch but all for a price. We are tempted since it appears we won’t be doing much hiking around here in this weather.

The rain looks to be letting up when we return to our room. We decide we’re game to try at least a short walk. We’ve been in the car all day and really need to get some fresh air and exercise. We drive around the end of the small mountain in front of us and are amazed to discover that side of the mountain is much drier. It’s still a little drizzly but tolerable. We don our all-weather coats and set off to see the glacier that is nearby.

The sign says it’s a fifteen minute walk to the glacier. It may be that long for someone used to mountain climbing. It takes us more like thirty minutes to get to the top and the climb gets very rough just before the end especially when my guide, Bob, gets off the trail and we are sort of making our own way among rocks and boulders to get to where we could see there was an interpretive sign indicating the end of the track. Out of breath and wondering how I was going to make it down over that rocky area, I looked to my left to see a young couple practically sprinting up the trail we were supposed to be on.

The view at the top is something else. Below us is a glacier lake formed by the melting of the glacier. Several icebergs float in the murky waters and off in the distance we can see the Tasman Glacier itself. It isn’t one of those pure white and blue ice glaciers but it is said to be the longest glacier in New Zealand and is full of rocks and silt it has picked up along its journey from the top of the mountain.

A little more rain starts to fall and the wind picks up so we don’t linger. The way down is not too bad since we now see the trail more clearly. Certainly not as hard as the climb up. We do it in the suggested fifteen minutes. When we take a last look at the sign where we had begun, I tell Bob that we need to check the next time we see an arrow pointing straight up to make sure it means straight ahead and not straight up, literally.

The evening brings a lightening show and lots of rumbling thunder as the noise echoes through the valleys between the mountains. What will the morning bring we wonder? Will we get to see Mount Cook’s peak?

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Zealand Diary - TranzAlpine, From Christchurch to Greymouth

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It’s Sunday and if we were home we’d be having waffles. Waffles, it is, says our host at the Lilac Rose and we enjoy some great tasting treats with wonderful maple syrup. Maddie lays at our feet under the table hoping something will drop. Unfortunately for her nothing does. We savor every bite.

While our host assures us we have plenty of time, we still leave early to arrive at the train station to get our seats and board the train. The train has very comfy seats and lots of window space with even a little above us as well. And the windows look pretty clean except for a spot here or there. We are in the car just behind the open car where there are no windows and you can get clear shots of the glorious scenery provided there are no heads in the way.

Our ears begin to pop as we ascend into the mountain range. The South Island has mountains that extend through the middle of it called the Southern Alps even though it is made up of several ranges of mountains. Mount Cook or Aoraki, the Maori name, is the tallest.  Our train trip is called TranzAlpine.  There is a running commentary you can listen to with headphones. I listen for a while but don’t care to be distracted by the voice in my ears. I’d rather sit back and enjoy.

I take a few pictures but for the most part, I just want to soak in the green hillsides and the yellow ones, which the commentary tells Bob are noxious weeds. We saw them as we drove to Christchurch yesterday—vast areas of yellow flowers.

There are a couple of stops where one or two people board but there are no large towns. Our stop in Arthurs Pass is the end of the line for many travelers. Some will hike the trails that are there and then return with us to Christchurch. Others have arranged to be picked up by tour guides for the trip back. We are going all the way across to Greymouth, spending an hour and then boarding the train again for the return trip. I hope that the sun will be in a better position as we get high into the mountains on the way back. The morning sun shone directly into the camera for some of the best shots.

At Arthurs Pass we are asked to board buses that will take us to the next stop Otira. For some reason they are concerned with the long tunnel that the train goes through in this area. Apparently there was a buildup of carbon monoxide fumes in the tunnel and they are concerned for the passengers. Not the crew, I wonder? While we don’t get to go through the tunnel, we do get to see the gorge that we would miss while in the tunnel. There are several huge waterfalls and the bus driver narrates a bit about the area.

In about twenty minutes, we are at the Otira station and board the train again. The landscape begins to change dramatically as the rugged mountains become rolling hills green with pasture land. We roll into Greymouth, a town that is a bit sleepy on a Sunday. Bob and I walk down to the first intersection looking for a place that is open for lunch. We find one called Freddy’s. It’s in an old building on the second floor but worth the walk up. Bob has some great soup and my Panini comes with a tasty salad.

The train leaves an hour after we arrived and this time it is full. There are no empty seats to spread out in. At Otira we again get on buses for a ride to Arthurs Pass only this time instead of two buses there are four.

I spend a little extra time out in the open car taking pictures. This time I have a good idea of what’s ahead. It’s been a relaxing day. Bob is full of all sorts of facts from listening to the commentary both ways. As he says, the nice thing about being old is that if you wait a bit, it’s all new again. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Zealand Diary - Christchurch, Earthquake Recovery

Note the containers holding up facade.
Saturday, October 19, 2013

Morning brings sunshine. It is amazing to us how many good days we have had. We can only hope it continues. The snow-capped alps are shrouded in misty morning air heavy with salt from the sea. So much for my sunny picture. We start off on our drive to Christchurch. We want to get there before noon so that we can tour the city a bit. There will be no time tomorrow with our all day train ride through the alps.

On arrival at Christchurch it is difficult to find our way to the Information Center since there are so many detours in the major part of the city. The business district was the area hit the worst in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. We finally find the IC next to the museum and stop in to buy our tour tickets for Discover Christchurch. It is a red double decker bus with an open top for the one hour tour and if you opt for the full three hours, you are transferred to a double decker enclosed bus. We choose to take the shorter tour because we really just want to see the city.

Insert is from our 2000 visit.
On our cruise several years ago we had visited Christchurch. It is amazing to see the devastation this city has suffered. In some ways it reminds me of New York after 9/11. Big vast open areas where buildings once were. It has been two years since the last quake and much of the debris has been cleared leaving vast areas of vacant lots with remnants of the rubble.. What is mostly going on now is deciding which buildings still need to be demolished and which they can salvage. There were about 1500 buildings that were lost and among them over 200 that were historic landmarks. Some, like the old cathedral will not be saved meaning Christchurch will lose a lot of its history.

The buildings that used to be the University of Canterbury and then became the Arts Center showcasing one of the most distinct cluster of heritage buildings were damaged so severely that they don’t expect the restoration work to be done until 2025.

Christchurch felt itself fortunate to have survived a 7.1 earthquake on September 4, 2010 but their good fortune turned to disaster when a 6.3 quake hit on February 22, 2011. There were 185 killed and several thousand injured in the second which was along a fault line closer to the center of the city and in the middle of the afternoon when many were at work in the city center.

Our bus driver pointed out where the Canterbury Television (CTV) and Pyne Gould buildings were where so many were killed. He used to work in one of the buildings and talked to one of the few survivors he knew. She was a receptionist on the first floor and ran the moment the building started to shake. She told him it collapsed behind her as she ran out. On a corner lot across from where the buildings stood are a set of white chairs, each representing someone who died there.

 Adding to the problem in a large residential section was the fact that much of it was built on a swamp and therefore when the quake happened, the water between the rocks below the foundations caused even more shifting making everything unstable. A large area of residential homes that have been condemned will not be rebuilt because of that. Also there will be no buildings over three or four stories high in the city.

Christchurch will be brand new in a couple of decades just like Napier that was rebuilt in the 1930s. Chances are the traditional buildings that lent the charm of the old city will give way to something new. Our driver indicated that there was an excitement growing in the opportunity to create something that will serve the citizens well and be an attraction for others. 

A temporary building called The Cardboard Cathedral is an example of what may be to come. The cathedral was designed by a Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban. Its supporting walls are made from containers and the beams are two foot diameter cardboard tubes. Originally the cardboard was to be the sole support of the roof but because the proper cardboard could not be imported, the beams were made with wood in the center of the cardboard tubes. The building has multiple uses and is interdenominational. 

After our bus ride, we stroll past the Avon river. While the bridges over the river are closed to vehicle traffic due to quake damage, you can still walk over them. The river remains a beautiful respite in the middle of the city.

The afternoon passes quickly and we need to find our Bed and Breakfast. Much to our surprise, we are greeted by not only our two legged host but a four legged one as well. We’d forgotten that The Lilac Rose has a resident retriever and a “non-social” cat. Maddie is very friendly though and reminds us of our son’s retriever back home. She comes and lays her head on Bob’s knee and patiently waits for a scratch.

We make it an early evening as we have to rise and shine in time for our Trans Alpine Railway trip tomorrow. It’s been a sad day but a day filled with hope for Christchurch. People are looking forward rather than clinging to a past they can’t change. They are excited about the new city that will rise. We wish them the best.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Zealand Diary - Kaikoura

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Maori culture is having a great influence on New Zealand. They were the original settlers of the islands and were there when the Europeans came. Many of the names of towns and cities are being changed to reflect that. We have learned that Wai at the beginning of a name has to do with water or the sea. Kai at the beginning has to do with eating or food. Kaikoura means something about eating crayfish which look very much like lobster to me.

The clouds have hidden the sun this morning as I eagerly glance through a crack in the drapes to see if the snow is glimmering on top of the New Zealand alps. It isn’t. I fix breakfast while Bob is shaving and getting dressed. Our plunger coffee is tasting really good. I may have to buy one of these gizmos for home.
About nine we head for one of the parking lots along the coastal trail that is a huge loop around Kaikoura. There is a long walk between the two parking lots which we plan to walk. The whole loop takes about three hours but we’re not sure we want to dedicate ourselves to that much walking.

As we round a bend just before the parking lot, we see seals playing in a pool of water next to the road. When we park and start to walk back, our path is blocked by a large seal who doesn’t appreciate being disturbed when Bob moves a little closer for a better shot with his Go Pro. For a moment I wonder if the seal is going to charge. I ready my camera just in case. After all, I can’t really help Bob run any faster if the seal decides to go after him. I might as well get the shot.

After watching some of the seals in this colony we find the entrance to the trail and begin a climb up. We didn’t realize the coastal walk was going to be high on the hillside and not actually on the beach area. The beach area would be tough to walk as it is mostly large rocks rather than sandy or pebbled beach.

Once we get to the top and catch our breath, the walk is very pleasant. The trail is grass covered which muffles our footsteps and allows us to listen to the sweet melodic bird songs. I don’t know when I’ve ever heard birds that actually sing so much. Our birds back home chirp happily but these NZ birds seem to sing.

Along the way, there are several places which interpret what you are seeing and there are very nice benches to sit and rest and enjoy the view. At Whaler’s Bay, we sit for a while and watch two boats that are obviously looking for whales. They seem to find something to look at but we don’t see any spouts, the usual sign that there are whales about. After our trips to Maui to see the whales, we find it’s not worth it for us to go on other whale expeditions—especially when you probably won’t see many whales. Maui has spoiled us with its January/February whale population.

A couple more seal colonies are below us along the way. A charming little yellowish bird poses for us. I think it might be a type of finch since it flies like our finches back home. We stop again and just take in the peace and quiet and watch the sea gulls soar.

We reach our goal, the other parking lot, but by that time we figure we are about half way around the loop and it would take us just as long to go back as to go forward. Plus, our motel is along the route and we could stop and have lunch and then finish the walk to the car. There is only one problem with that. Bob left the key to our room in the car so he wouldn’t lose it. Undaunted we forge on figuring our host will let us into our room when we get there.

We walk through the back part of Kaikoura following the Maori symbol on poles along the way. We hope to find a place to have a cup of tea and rest a bit but this part of town has nothing to offer unless a resident takes pity on us and invites us in.

The path leads between several homes and then toward another hill to climb. Unfortunately there is water draining from the hill and the path is a muddy stream. Bob makes it through that section relatively unscathed but I end up slipping and getting my Tevo sandals covered in sticky mud. We reach an area of dense pine trees. The floor of the forest is carpeted in pine needles. A small clear stream invites me to wash off my sandals. I dip my feet into the chilly water and do the best I can to wash off the mud. I’m a little squishy when I’m done but the good thing about my Tevos is that besides being good for walking, they dry quickly and can take the wet.

A plateau of grassy pasture and a narrow trail down the other side direct us back to the main street of Kaikoura. The trail or track, as the Kiwis say, is dedicated to Thomas Brent Smith, 38, who drowned when trying to save a whale back in 2003. A humpback was caught in a craypot line. (Craypots are lobster traps. The crayfish here are actually what we call lobsters.) Smith, who had some training in rescuing whales from such instances, donned a wet suit and dive gear and went out to the whale to cut it loose. A nearby whale watchers boat videoed the whole thing. The tail of the whale began thrashing and hit Smith on the head. The article I read about the inquest assumed he drowned and at the time of the article, the body had not been found.

Our legs, mostly knees, are protesting and ready for a stop. When we reach the motel the lady at the desk assures us that it’s not the first time someone has left the key in the car and done what we’ve done. I make coffee and sandwiches as Bob graciously takes my sandals to the hose outside and scrubs them off.
Lunch, a short rest, and we are trekking again. This time, only about twenty minutes to the car. The seals are all off sunning themselves on the exposed rocks from the tide going out. As we drive back, we find another road that leads to a lookout with several nice benches where we can sit and enjoy the view. We agree it would be a great place to have our evening coffee and Tim Tams. It’s a plan. With that in mind, we go off to take advantage of the guest laundry. My sandals weren’t the only thing that got muddy this morning.

After a good dinner at a place call The Whaler (a pub with great food), we find ourselves back at the lookout. Unfortunately the clouds have moved in again only this time they are even heavier and a lot darker. It’s still nice to sit with our coffee and dessert but when we’ve finished and feel the first raindrops, we decide to take cover. Maybe in the morning I’ll have another shot at taking a picture of early sun on the snow-capped mountains. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Zealand Diary - Ohau Waterfall, On To Snow-capped Mountains

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another day of driving is ahead of us but we feel rested after our wonderful day of rest yesterday. We strike out in sunny weather and Bob remarks that even though we had some nasty rain and wind, we have still had a few minutes of sunshine everyday so far. Our drive takes us back over some of the area we crossed on our way to Abel Tasman but it is sunnier and we get to see it from a different direction. When we get to North Havelock again, we sigh. It is way too early in the morning to get any mussels.
One of the places we had planned to stop and didn’t because of time and weather on our trip out becomes our first stop of the day today. In the Pelorus Scenic Reserve is a bridge that crosses the Pelorus River and is near the site of where some more scenes of the Hobbit were shot. We stop and take the short trail down to the river. I can see how they would have enjoyed this spot for movie making. The river is running fast and makes a bit of a bend here from behind some rocks. There would be some great shots to be had if a river was needed. Again we decide we really need to watch the movie when we get home.

The little café near the bridge has coffee available and we order two flat whites to take away and grab some bananas that are a bit brown but only 50 cents each. There are only three left and the lady gives us all three for the price of two to “clear my counter.” The bananas are nice and sweet and the coffee good. We turn and head southeast as our destination is on the Pacific Coast this time.
Down the road a while later, we glimpse a huge snowcapped mountain. The sun gleams off the white top creating quite a backdrop to the green mountainsides nearer us. The view only gets better the farther along the coastal road we drive.
Lady Garmon tells us our next stop is about 700 meters ahead but we see a turnoff in front of us. Wisely Bob turns in and we discover that this is where we are supposed to be. It is the Ohau Waterfall Walkway. As we get out of the car, Bob spots seals down on the rocky beach. He explains to me that this is a stream that leads to a waterfall where the young seals go to play in the water. I’m a bit skeptical until I read the sign at the start of the walkway. Sure enough that’s what the sign says happens and when we start out on the walk, there are several young seals headed upstream right next to us.

It is a short walk to the waterfall where amazingly we find more than two dozen seals playing in the pool at the base of a huge waterfall. The sign told us that they come here while their mothers are out hunting food in the sea. They learn to socialize and get along. Hmmm. Looks to me like a teenaged party. I sure hope those mothers are getting lots of food. I remember how teenagers eat.
A short while later and down the road, we find a place called The Store where we decide to take a break and get something to eat. I’m not very hungry so I get a cheese and bacon scone which turns out to be bigger than I need. Bob orders the seafood chowder that comes in a large shallow bowl with a scooped out small loaf of bread in the center. The chowder is delicious but way more than he wanted to eat. I dip my scone in it and enjoy the flavor. We could have ordered just that and had more than enough to eat for the two of us. We tend to order just one meal when we can and split it. Unfortunately we don’t always agree on what we want to eat.

Soon we find ourselves in Kaikoura and the Anchor Inn Motel. Our host says we’ve been upgraded and now have a sea view. The beach area is just across the street and the beautiful snowcapped mountains we enjoyed seeing all afternoon are just a little to our left. As we eat our dinner of fish and chips takeaway in the table in our room we enjoy our view and anticipate how beautiful it will look as the sun rises in the morning and hits those snow topped mountains. I like snow when it’s on top of the mountain and I don’t have to deal with it. But I don’t want to think about that yet. After all in New Zealand, it’s spring!

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