A Travellerspoint blog

Warmth in a Studio in Taranaki

Gearing up for the Long Ride Home

sunny 12 °F

Kiwi time is just about over now and it's time to head east. I spent the day tearing apart bags, suitcases and carry-ons, rifling through paperwork, calling the U.S. Embassy (about Ralph - I'm told he might make it through customs due to his hard consistency -- yes, John, I wrote hard), doing laundry, and scrubbing New Zealand shells and rocks (if they want to get into America, they have to be clean as a whistle). Then I took a long, cold walk through the little township that is New Plymouth.

I don't care what Lonely Planet says, this is a charming, 1950's throw-back town that is as unassuming as it is COLD. So it's not a fashion hub or happening bar scene, it is right on the windswept coast and really charming. That wind though that keeps the surfers coming back year after year came a whipping off the water this afternoon and I found myself longing for a long summer day in Jacksonville. Brrrrr. You can all remind me of that in the middle of July when I'm whining about the heat. Halfway down the main street I stopped for some Fish & Chips, which was delicious. Despite not being that health concious about my eating choices these past 3 weeks, I don't feel like a puff-a-lump and based on the same fit of my clothes, I guess I don't look like one either. And those fish & chips smelled so darn good! Yum. So, yes, Chris, I'm ready to get back into the world of situps, and pushups and pull-ups. Ugh. I have no doubt that it is going to kick my @ss after being out of the routine for almost 3 weeks. I hope I can lift a telephone receiver, though, come Tuesday!

But, I have one more night here and I'm planning on eating whatever I want and ordering dessert! I bought another bottle of the same amazing Marlborough wine that Marge and I killed last night (NP lets you BYOB to most restaurants), so we're prepared to do that again (although I think perhaps we ought not drink the whole thing this time).

I do miss the familiar sounds and smells of Florida, and my family, friends and co-workers. I believe I'm ready to come home. I find myself already thinking about the beginning of the summer's session of creative writing, what movie Vince and I are going to see next, and what type of kayak I'm going to buy after I pay the charges from this trek around the globe. I'm looking forward to cuddling with Jaeden and watching his face light up when I give him the green rock I found the 2nd day I got here (assuming customs doesn't end up with it), helping Jayme find her perfect house and encouraging Ryan to continue his pursuit of whatever it is that he needs to be happy. Maybe it's MBR, maybe it isn't. We'll find out soon enough. I also look forward to working with the folks to find a new abode and settling in.

Three weeks of traveling to the other side of the equator have taught me a few new things. Go in the summer! :) I can do anything and go anywhere I want to. Having someone to share it with, though, adds a nice dimension. I've also learned that everyone needs to get away to clear their head. Some go farther than others, though, to do it. :) While this trip has solidified a love of travel, in general, it has also confirmed that I like where I currently live and look forward to enjoying what's right under my feet when they land in the sand this weekend. I know I don't like being in an airplane for more than 9 hours or so, and will keep that in mind when planning the next run for fun. Farm life is not for me for more than a couple of days, but I sure enjoy the recipes! Kayaking on the sea is amazing and I can't wait to do it again. Trotting on a horse for 4 hours hurts the @ss for more than 4 days. Sand flies live in New Zealand and I live in Florida for a reason - I will never complain about a peraniah gnat (aka "no-see-um") again! Dorkland will forever have new meaning, and the term Scenic Highway will from this moment on trigger an overwhelming need for antacids and Tylenol! Oh, and New Zealand has a desparate need for geography majors to help design accurate maps. Pass the word.

Thank you, New Zealand, and Margaret, for a wonderful adventure and some good old fashioned friendship. It was really quite grande and I'll never forget it. Or you. I look forward to seeing you both again, one much sooner than the other. Hugs!

Posted by FLD 16.05.2012 21:36 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Climb, Swim and Moooooooooooooooooooo!

Life on a Farm in "Up, Up . . . Up."

rain 11 °F

The drive from Nelson to Mahua Sound, which is the location of my farm stay, was supposed to be approximately "15 km" from Havelock. Havelock is yet another little "blink" hamlet nestled at the pass between a bit of nowhere and somewhere just to the left of nowhere. Again, supposedly just a few km from Picton, it is the bend that connects the main highway to the scenic hwy. It is also supposedly one of the biggest mussel producing areas in the world, believe it or not, which I now have a much better understanding of after spending a few days in the Sounds. The day I left I was able to explore the shoreline a bit as the tide was out, but the rain wasn't, and I saw hundreds of wild mussels littered all over the rocky shore. This happens alot in the Sounds apparently and one just has to mosey on down to the water's edge to gather up a feast of shellfish for dinner.

I've come to the conclusion that local Kiwis aren't intentionally lying when they tell you how long they think it is to a particular destination. They just don't care how long it takes them to get somewhere, or they're so familiar with the stomach-turning drive that they no longer notice it, so it stands to reason for them that they don't care how long it takes for YOU to get somewhere. No worries, as they say over, and over . . . and over. :) I don't think Kiwis have a high rate of heart attack - they generally don't worry about anything!

So, the 1 1/2 hour drive to Mahua Sound from Nelson took the better part of 3 hours. In the rain. I had a narrow window to make it there before dark, hence dropping Margaret off a bit early (almost 2 hours early by our standards, but in Kiwi time, it was just a snapshot in her day), and I pulled down the long, narrow, gravelly drive just before it got really, really dark (hi-beams a rockin)! This after stopping no less than 5 separate times and calling my hostesses to make sure I haven't missed it and/or was going the right way. Their directions were good, but the "just up the road" part was, shall we say . . . just a bit OFF! By the 5th call, we decided to break NZ laws and have her stay on the phone w/me as I navigated yet another mountain "saddle," and a whole lot more of UP!

The driveway was more gravel-dipped tire tracks than anything else. The sign I was looking for turned out to be a small white piece of board with neatly hand-printed letters that read "Sherrington Grange." You could see the house lights blinking through the massive trees, and a few tell-tale sheep on the side of the drive, but that's about it. I think the goats were more startled than I was. They were huddled together in the area that was supposed to be my parking spot and looked highly offended at my headlights. The loud noise they made in protest made it clear that they were not pleased. My hostess came out in bare feet tucked into flip-flops, a short-sleeved shirt and denim skirt and welcomed me to the farm. "Never mind the goats, now, just park it right there," she said with a thick, country Kiwi accent and a very large Kiwi smile. I mention her attire because I have the heat in the car on high, 3 layers of clothing and my L.L. Bean jacket zipped up to my chin. The car says 9c outside, with a cold, driving rain. She was still smiling. You gotta love the Kiwi approach to life.

So we both grabbed my bags, navigated a herd of goats, 2 large ducks and one very excited overweight laborador to get through the door and into the house. I walked into another world then, but it was neverheless a warm and inviting one. She asked me if I'd like some warm tea as she heralded me through the open expansive room that seemed part family room and part office, down a narrow corridor to the last room on the left. It was a medium-sized bedroom with a double bed against the wall, and an antique sewing machine tucked into the corner. There were 2 end tables on each side of the bed with a modest lamp set atop them. That's it. Oh, and a hand-made binder with general information about the cost of meals (NZ $35 each), cheese-making classes (NZ $70 for 2 hours or $110 for 4 hours) and other necessities that one would need while ensconced in the middle of the mountainous sounds, considering the nearest town is over 1 1/2 hours away. Hmmm. I think I'll take the meal, thank you.

After I get my stuff settled into the room, I head back into the kitchen area where a hot pot of tea is now waiting, along with an errant duck that has apparently managed to squeek its way into the room when no one was looking. After a little drama in trying to capture one flapping water fowl being chased by a gleeful dog, and then heralding it, minus the dog, back into wetness, we settle into the "what's your story" chat that inevitably happens with the arrival of each guest. I tell them, Mom and daughter Harper who are running the farm, about life in Florida and my Kiwi experiences thus far (including no love lost for Dorkland), and they in turn fill me in a little about cheesemaking in the Marlborough Sounds. Interestingly enough, Mom Harper has the same take on Dorkland (i.e., Auckland) that I do and shares some of the locals' angst about the Asian takeover of Auckland that's been occuring over the past 6-7 years or so. We share an "aha" moment then and bridge just a little the intangible cultural gap over our mutual dislike for the new Dorkland.

Dinner was supposed to be happening at 5:00, but it was almost 6:00 then with no indication that it would be served anytime soon. Lisa, the daughter who is now pretty much in charge of all farm decisions, indicates that they are waiting for their other guests who should be around shortly. At 6:30 the long-awaited lights finally shone down the drive heralding the arrival of Peter and Ingrid, the couple who is sharing my farmstay at Sherrington Grange. Ingrid is German-born and speaks very gutteral English. Peter is a Kiwi born and bred in Christchurch, but they both now live full time in Nelson. At just before 7:00 we all sit down to a meal of roast beef, mashed potoates and wine -- local New Zealand wine from one of the local vineyards. Yum. After a quick explanation from Lisa that the beef we were eating was none other the farm's randy bull who apparently had the nerve to get fiesty this past spring after breeding and take out the farm's generator, tractor engine and a couple of out-buildings. I found myself being grateful that she shared that story over dessert, which was warm gingerbread served with pear compote and warm cream! Delicious. I almost forget that we had just eaten little Cassie's father. Welcome to the farm, Francie.

Life on a farm ends early and starts early, so the lights pretty much went out at 9:00 p.m. I, of course, laid in bed listening to the steady thunder of the rain beating on the roof tiles while I tried to read. I gave up around 10:00 and when my eyes opened on their own violition at about 7:00 a.m., I just went with the moment. I listened to the rain beat steadily still on the roof and the windows. Still raining. Hard. I pulled open the thick curtains to bleating faces pushed up against the glass. I jumped at least 2 feet straight up. Goats. They were all gathered on the deck that surrounds the house, which I found out later was fairly normal when it was raining. They don't like the feel of the mud in their hooves, apparently, so they convene on the deck when it gets too wet for their delicate feet. Who knew? So, I was greeted by two long-horned females with big brown eyes and wet fur and seranaded by their bleating at 7:00 a.m. Welcome to the farm. :)

After a quick shower, I was joined in the large dining room (I found out later that the table can comfortablly seat 30, believe it or not) by the other two guests and our hostess, Lisa. A spread of homemade yogurt, muesli, freshly-baked bisquits, honey and a variety of other delicacies laid before us. Yum. It was still raining, however, and continued for much of the day. I tried twice to sneak out between showers and do a little exploring of the farm, and got soaked both times. I finally gave up. After changing clothes for the 2nd time, I popped open the iPad with the Kindle app and got comfortable on the family sofa with my barking blanket, Benjamin. I'm not sure who was happier -- me or him!

We had decided earlier to start the cheese-makiing lesson at 2:00, so at 3:00 -- right on Kiwi schedule -- the kitchen came to life and milk started warming on the stove. Fresh milk of course - I was on a dairy farm no less. The secret to making cheese, it seems, is all in the temperature. You can use store-bought milk just as well as you can use Bessie's, but the difference is what temperature you bring it to and when you put in the "culture" or the component that will make it curdle. We made Parmesan first, which takes much longer and a lot more finesse, and then Ricotta while we waited for the Parmesan to "cool." I will never in my lifetime buy Ricotta cheese again. It was so simple and easy to make, it's a crime to pay for it! All you need is a good candy thermometer, milk and some good white vinegar, and Ricotta is born! Parmesan is a bit more picky and will take alot more stirring, coddling and watching and about 4 months of sitting in a cool dark place before you'll want to shave it across your spaghetti. Ingrid and I took the class together. It was nice to have an equally-inept partner to work with in the world of cheesemaking; we both ended up with a nice round ball of Parmesan cheese to show for our efforts though. There is apparently a tradition in cheese-making to name your cheese. It can be male or female, but i'm told that they are most often male. Ingrid named hers some romantic European name that everyone oohed and aaahed over and I don't dare to even try to spell. I named mine Ralph! :) So fitting for an American, don't you think? Hopefully, U.S. customs will let Ralph into the states, but I'll check first so he doesn't end up in the trash can. If he's banned, Margaret will end up with a houseguest for 4 months until she eats him [sorry Ralph].

And such was my farmstay. Great food, dial-up Internet connectivity when the generator was working or an animal hadn't pushed it over, and charming Kiwi hospitality. I loved the Sounds but was ready for an Interent cafe and warm cup of Cappicino yesterday (Tuesday, May 15th). Apparently, you can't take the city out of the girl, no matter how you package it. Plugged back in and happy now, but I did enjoy the little peek into the world of pastures, fresh milk and goat-voyeurism. Welcome back to the city, Francie.

Posted by FLD 16.05.2012 02:55 Archived in New Zealand Tagged farm goats marlborough_sounds sherrington_grange Comments (2)

Life After Abel Tasman

ChaChing

overcast 15 °F

Must be the headache from the paddle-wonk that did it, but Marge was in shopping mode on Sunday. We had a lazy morning in the suite, sending emails, checking emails, checking other stuff, etc., before scrambling to get checked out and on our way. Marge flew back to New Plymouth in the afternoon, and I headed to no-man's land deep in the bowels of the Marlborough Sounds, which I'll describe in a seperate blog, but before we headed out of Dodge, or in this case, Nelson . . . we shopped!

Now, you need to understand that Margaret has been in Kiwi land since January, and in the metropolis of New Plymouth for ALL of it. The most fashion forward item in the stores in New Plymouth is Uggs! :) Every respectiable Kiwi female in New Plymouth owns about 40 pair of leggings in all different colors and textures and wears them with everything. Skirts, shorts, pants . . . dresses, you name it. They wear 'em - all the time and with just about everything you can think of. Very attractive. There is also a tendency for all dresses, tunics and shirts to have a kerchief hem. Seriously. So, needless to say she's a little shopping deprived. When we landed in Wellington, we both sort of drooled over some of the window displays in those fine shops, but all of those stores were closed - it was 8:01!

So, off to Nelson we go, which is a really small little town at the edge of Abel Tasman and in the bowl part of the Marlborough Sounds. What Nelson has going for it, though, is that it is the wine and craft hub of the south island, so there is alot of style and fashion in this little hollow. Great shoes! :) And Marge had fun going in and out of what shops were open on Mother's Day. She got a few things to make her feel pretty and keep her warm as winter approaches, and we got to bond female style. We had a lovely lunch in one of the outdoor cafes and I got a great dress that I would never find in the states. Sunday was a good day. Well, let me rephrase. Sunday was a great day for my closet and Marges - lousy day for our respective wallets.

We had to cut it short, though, as I needed to get to farm country before dark and it was those mountains I had to navigate. Again. Ugh. In the rain, cause it was a comin. So, I took Marge back to the airport, a whole lot heavier now with her new purchases, and headed off to no-man's land in the middle of "up, up . . . up." That description deserves it's own blog, so I'll save it for the next effort.

Posted by FLD 15.05.2012 00:52 Archived in New Zealand Tagged art shopping wine nelson Comments (0)

Able at Abel - Splish, Splash and THONK!!!!

Ooops, Sorry

sunny 14 °F

Alarm goes off at 5:30, we smack it a few times before pulling ourselves out of a warm bed. Ugh. Oh, shit. It's Saturday. We're going kayaking! Now we're up! And off. We're in the car after a quick breakfast and several cups of Joe and tea. It's dark but not rainy and we dare hope that when the light finally does come it's going to be clear.

As the sun starts to rise behind the mountains and light penetrates the fog, we realize that all we see is still . . . fog. Damn. And more fog. No rain though so we hope and keep going. Marge is driving and I'm reading the map provided by Wilsons, the kayaking outfit that we're using for our sea adventure, and this one actually seems to know what it's doing. We're also on relatively flat roads for a change, so we're making good time. The fog starts to lift just enough to start displaying some of the topography and . . . oh my. The mountains frame the valley all around us, with gold and red and orange trees and shrubs lined up on both sides of the road. We realize just then that we're in orchard country and they are everywhere. Apple orchards, and pear orchards along with the random vineyard and sheep farm. Of course there are sheep - there are ALWAYS sheep! This is New Zealand after all. But the orchards are lovely. And vast.

Now the fog is really lifting and we see blue sky. Hallelujah! The coastline starts to appear again off to our right, nestled in between the mountains, and before we know it we're there! 1 1/2 hours early! :) There isn't a thing open except a little dairy (i.e., store) and Marge satisfies herself with a machine-generated cup of coffee. I sip on water and we both wait in the car. For an hour. :) People start to show up here and there. There really isn't anything where we are, other than the beach and a little tiny township up on the mountain about 500 ft up! The beach is directly across the street from the designated parking lot and there are 4 ticket booths for each of the 4 outfitters that have access to the beach, and the national park's water launch. There are a few modest lodgings, one cafe and a couple of farmhouses, but everyone is still nestled snuggly in their warm beds at this point and it's just the crazy people that are going out on the water at 8:00 in the morning waiting in the parking lot.

We watch a tractor pull up hauling a metal and rubber skiff, and then a truck pulls with a rack full of kayaks. Aaah, I think our ride has arrived. More cars and campers start to pull in, so we get out and brave the cold air. It's still pretty chilly at this point, maybe about 11C with a light wind, but on the beach it feels cold. We've both got our heavy coats on over multiple layers, Marge with capris and me in long tramp pants and closed shoes. We're going to kayak like this? Ha ha!

People start to convene at the ticket booths, and a stocky Kiwi with a great tan and a hat bearing the insignia of Wilson's Outfitters rounds the corner by the ticket booth and announces he's here for the Wilson's tour. There's about 10 people, including us, now milling around so we all turn and start to pay attention. He introduces himself as Tim, tells everyone to keep their tickets to give to the captain on the boat, but he's looking for two that are doing the sea kayaking. That's us! I announce our particpation and he does a decent job of covering his surprise at the old birds apparently taking his 3-hour paddle and trek! :) Good show, Tim. He turns out to be a great guy and an even better guide. We get on the rather large boat that is now holding about 40 people. Huh? Apparently, there are multiple tours and Wilsons has this thing down so well, that they drop people off and pick people up all along this deserted and remote national park, by water access only. That rubber and metal skiff they were bringing up the road is now lifted onto the side of the boat and they use it later to go retrieve a group of people from a deserted beach halfway up the remote coastline. Amazing, really. After two stops up the rugged coastline that is Abel Tasmin National Park, including one that picked up three more people that ended up kayaking with us, we're ready to disembark on a deserted beach with our guide, our packs and 3 double kayaks and that's it! A little daunting honestly, cause the only way back to the boat is by kayak and that's about a 3 hour ride. Sink or swim moment, literally.

The kayaks are ruddered, so the front person has the job of navigarting (Marge's job) and the back seater has the job of steering (me). Oh boy. :) We've got a relatively light chop on the seas with the wind, but as long as we don't run into a high wake, we should be able to keep upright. It was really amazing. The other 3 in the kayaks included a Kiwi couple from Dorkland, and a guy from Washington state who was in NZ for a travel conference. The 6 of us set out into open water after some brief prepping, adjusting and training by Tim. Off we go. We went straight out towards Tonga Island and navigated around it in pursuit of seal watching. These things were amazing. Little black seal pups jumping off rocks and swimming towards the kayaks made our afternoon. The only bummer was that because the water was relatively choppy, and we were in sea kayaks, we had the camera's in waterproof bags and it was a little iffy trying to get those out to get pics without capsizing. We managed some, but not sure how good they're going to turn out. It was good fun though.

We circumnavigated Tonga Island, which took the better part of 2 hours, and then headed for a secluded/protected lagoon for lunch. Here's where it got a bit . . . uh . . . awkward. The passage really narrowed and got shallow, so the rudder had to be pulled up so we woudln't beach the kayak. That means not steering, so when we went straight for the tree, I tried to use the paddle to avert it and only managed to nail Marge in the back of the head. Ooops. LOL. Poor Marge. Woke her @ss up. And of course for the rest of the afternoon, the standard comment was "Francie, watch out for that tree," in Kiwi!

We spent a quick 20 minutes on the beach, inhaling food and fighting off sand flies (which, by the way, have managed to aniliate most of my exposed skin on both legs and wrists - those suckers still itch!), before gearing up again and heading back off. We managed to be 15 minutes late for the boat, which was waiting for us on the beach. Oh well. What are they gonna do . . . leave us? Better not! We did a short trek after beaching the kayaks and rinsing off the sand and salt, to another beach and waited for our ride. We left the hotel at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday morning and pulled into the outskirts of Nelson at approximately 5:00 p.m. We enjoyed a lovely dinner overlooking the sounds. By the time we hit the hotel around 8:00, we were both wind burned and exhausted, but happy.

Asleep by 8:03 p.m. Out! Great day, great experience. Thank you Wilsons, and Tim, for a great day!

Posted by FLD 15.05.2012 00:13 Archived in New Zealand Tagged abel_tasman_national_park Comments (0)

Down from the Mountain and Back Online

Backtrack to Friday, 5/11/2012

rain 9 °F

Ok, so I've been immersed in the soggy world that is New Zealand, alot of which is without constant Internet or steady WiFi. But I'm back in a town, with a gas fireplace and red wine. Ah the benefits of both. All. Yes. Farm life is quaint and peaceful, but I guess I'm not a true farm girl, cause when I heard there was only dial-up connectivity and it was intermittent at that, I thought I was going to throw up. No, not really, but you get the point. Then it rained. And rained. And rained some more, but I'll get to that in a few blogs. Work with me - I have lost time to make up for. My little fingers are just excited to be actually working their way across a keyboard after the long break! :) Time to backtrack from the last blog, which was on a ferry crossing the Marlborough Sounds on Thursday, May 10th. My, so much has happened.

We (Marge and I - I had company then, which was wonderful) arrived in Picton, NZ at approximatelty 11:30 on Thursday morning to a dismal sky and cold wind welcome. We got the rental car without a problem and off we went. The bloke at the rental car suggested we needn't take the "scenic highway" because of the weather, which we were happy to oblige. "Scenic highway" is code for OMG white-knuckle road that requires 2 bottles of Zanax and a quart of antacids, so we were good with that. He lied - we ended up on it anyway. In the fog, on wet roads. Yeah.

But, once again I digress. We stopped for lunch cause now we have this drill down. The locals tell you that it only takes about 1 1/2 hours to get to where you want to go and there are towns along the way. That means it really takes about 2 1/2 hours and those aren't towns. They are farms and sheep and more sheep and more farms. You might be lucky to find a public toilet and a "dairy" (code for "store," that usually only carries the absolute necessities, which means no lunch), but that's going to be about it. So we go in search of food in sleepy, drizzly Picton, a small "blink" town that only has the ferry stop to thank for any commerce. We find a little shop at the edge of town and go in to investigate. It becomes immediately clear that they don't get too many Americans in there, cause the responses we get to the questions we ask are something akin to green alien landing in Picton and asking for the spaceship dock. But we work through it and we both order a yummy potato bake (which, btw, sits in the glass case in a pyrex baking dish like you and I have in our kitchens - this stuff is ALL homemade!) and I get a meat pie for the first time. Delicous! After we practically snort the china plates (it is a little obvious that we love the food, which appears to help getting the hostess finally warm up to the strange American women), we wander into the attached mall. The Mall, folks, is a 40 ft. building with a grocery store at one end and a few shops in between, including a pharmacy. We pick up a few essentials and start on our journey to Nelson, New Zealand, a sleepy hollow about 110 km northwest from Picton proper, and still at the base of the Marlborough Sounds. Picton looks very much like a town on the hills of the Italian coast.

The road we take, marked as Hwy 6 on the map, is none other than the scenic highway that we decide against taking as we left the rental car place! Again . . . "Mapmaker Needed in New Zealand. Immediate Need. Please Apply!" We stop at the "overlook" no more than 10 minutes into the ride still excited about the view. It is amazing. After the third overlook, and after Marge's color has changed from a healthy flesh color to a pasty green, we decide it's better to just keep going and try not to notice the sheer cliffs to our immediate right, or left, or ahead and just get through the hairpin turns, and friendly yellow signs that have squiggly lines in bold black indicating "curvy" roads for "9 km" or more. 3 hours later, we pull into lovely Nelson. It's still gray, wet and cold, but we can STOP! The fog is so thick you can barely make out the line of mountains and the coastline, but it's still pretty nevertheless.

We brave the weather and walk around town a bit anyway, partly because we're determined to make the best of it and partly because it feels so damn good to be out of the death trap that was the car! It's close to 4:30 now and everything is shutting down. Yes, it gets dark around 5:00 up here and everything closes by 5:00, except on Thursday. Everything closes at 8:00 on Thursday. :) So, back into death trap 2012 we go after making a quick stop at the local "i-center" to get GOOD directions to our hotel. Within 15 minutes we're pulling into this gorgeous, Tudor-like complex of brick and wood door buildings. We get checked in, complete with modem for WiFi access and off to a beautiful 1 bedroom, apartment-like hotel suite that was truly lovely. It included a full kitchen and living room. Great. When the WiFi access doesn't work, though, it's not so great, but after a few phone calls with the front desk and then the internet provider help number, we finally get it going and we're both online but too damn tired to do anything with it.

Our morning the next day needs to start at 5:30 a.m. so we can get to Abel Tasman National Park for our sea kayaking adventure by 9:00 (the directtions said 1 hour, so we need to plan for 3), so after a few short emails to family members, we're in bed and I'm out within a minute or two of pillow contact. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Yes, I drove us from Picton.

Stay tuned for kayaking adventures with Tim, our guide with Wilsons. Next blog. But suffice it to say that the ride from Picton to Nelson was eventful, and long, and rainy. The scenery, no matter how gray, was still beautiful. The town of Nelson looks quaint and adorable and we can't wait to really explore it. The village that is the Grand Mecure Monaco (which I'm back at tonight, Tuesday, 5/15/2012) is really wonderful and beautiful and probably the nicest accommodation so far. So far so good. Now lets' hope it doesn't rain on Saturday, 5/12 for the kayaking trip and we don't dump in the Tasman Sea. :)

Posted by FLD 14.05.2012 23:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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