Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Golden memories

We had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.  It is good to remember those who have served, and no better way for us than the ceremony's at the Bolder Boulder.  This year, we watched on the television, as walking it was not an option.  Next year, however, we will celebrate with the throngs at Folsom Field, on the C.U. Campus....with a flyover and parachute jumpers from each branch of the Armed Forces.  It tugs at our heart strings, and we are grateful to each and every man's and woman's service (and those family members that are left behind).

We enjoy time with old friends this weekend, whom we had not seen in several years.  Somehow, we just seem to pick up where we left off.... golden friendships, for sure.

Now, where were we on the journey in New Zealand?.... oh, yes, we were in Dunedin....and heading to the Otago Peninsula and the Royal Albatross Center...then on to Lanarch Castle in the afternoon. 

With water like sea glass, we drove out to the Otago Peninsula.
The drive was a bit hairy, with little or no shoulders
on the road, and some of that shoulder crumbling away.
Though we were right on the water level, the curves and road
made for a few 'breath taking moments'.

However, the views more than made up for it.

The water was the greenest blue!
If you look closely, you can see the Seals
lolling about in the sun.
This was the Royal Albatross Center.
Unfortunately, it was the middle of the day,
and the birds were out to sea,
looking for dinner.

I fell in love with this area of the coast.
It is quiet, and peaceful.

By the time we made it to Lanarch Castle,
we were hungry, hungry, hungry.

It was a bit pricey just to get into the
gardens (double the price, if you want
to see the inside of the Castle).
However, I can honestly say, that these
were the most glorious gardens we saw,
after a lovely lunch in the garden Cafe.
I will save those photos for tomorrow.
(Think:  Alice & Wonderland, oh, my!)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Seriously Odd Tree

Lot's of photos for you today, to tide you over for Memorial Day Weekend.  We have a lot of fun planned for the weekend; seeing old friends, and celebrating the Bolder Boulder...(none of us are running or walking this year, but we plan to celebrate, anyway!)
I hope you have a great weekend.
We will also take some time out to 
remember those who
served us.

This is a seriously odd tree which we came upon.
Actually, it was a wind barrier....a long line of trees
that were bent over.  Of course, the morning fog, helped to
give it a curious look.

The fog burned off and revealed a beautiful day.
It won't be long now.... and we will be on the
other side of New Zealand!

Do you ever 'treat' yourself when you are on vacation?
We do....and these lovely old bottles made our
Coke breaks a lot of fun.
My other treat were Snicker's bar.
I love vacations!!

The hills were filled with sheep
in their pastures,
as we drove along the highway.

Well, blow me down!
We arrived in St. Clair, right outside of Dunedin.
We were shocked and surprised to find that our hotel
was right across from the surfing beach!
It was a bright and sunny day...seems like everyone
kicked off work early and donned their wet suits.
We had a great time watching the surfers, and walking the beach.
(yes, this was a another magical moment....also, there were
fabulous restaurants all along the esplanade...
it doesn't get much better than that!)

Fun, fun, fun!

Looking back on the esplanade.
Our hotel is on the right (lots of glass)
this photo looks back on the hills of St. Clair.
I could live here!

We met many friendly folks on our beach walk.
Loved this place!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Caves of the glow worms

Once we were both feeling a bit better,
we took a lovely walk along Lake Te Anau lake.
We were able to visit the
"Fiordland National Park Visitors Center"
which had a wealth of information
about the area.

We were not daunted about a trip on the lake.
We, again, chose "real Journey's" for
our trip across the lake to see
the Glow worm caves.

This one is hard to see,
but there was a wedding going on
in the boat across the way.
The Bride & Groom looked most relaxed
and waved to everyone on our boat.

A beautiful and creative wedding!

It was lovely to get out on the lake.
Again, it looked much like the fiord's
of Norway, only today, the sun was out!

Arriving at the dock, we walked up the hill
to a center, where 'glow worms' were
explained (let's just say...they are tiny
worms that glow in the dark, as they hang
from slender threads in many caves)
We walked into the caves, quite a distance,
and then stepped into tiny boats to explore
a grotto lit with glowworms.

It was a bit like a "Disney" excursion,
but a lot of fun, too.

A nice way to say g'bye to Te Anau
Milford Sound.

Next up.... we will head across New Zealand (which only takes about 4-5 hours) and visit some very special places on the East coast of New Zealand.  Our Journey is winding down, but it has certainly been quite the adventure (with a few more magical days ahead).

I head back to Art Group tomorrow.  This is the first time in over six months that I have been with the group.  I am looking forward to getting back into the studio, and doing some work.  I am sure that it will be quite 'rusty' for awhile, but I hope it is like riding a bike.....and I have something to show you soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Delicious and Delightful

These grapes had just been picked.
Oh, My...they were so delicious...
as were the wines that we tasted
at the AKARUA winery
at Bonnackburn.
(worth the stop, always!)
Just a note.... we never found
a bottle of wine under $30, which
was a bit pricey.  However, we NEVER
had a bad glass of wine.
we LOVED the New Zealand wines.

My sister used to send us a box
from the Seattle area, each year for the Holidays.

Oh, how I miss that beautiful holly-day treat.

I have no clue what this is.... just so interesting??
Anyone out there know what it might be?

I have seen these on hiking trails
outside of Nederland, Colorado.
I know that they are poisonous.
They were growing on the path (lots of them)
at our lodging in Arrowtown.
I could see a 'fairy garden' tucked in here.

I believe that these were Horse Chestnuts.
That is not something that we see in my
neck of the woods.  I thought that they were
funny, funky, and fun.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beauty in the travel

I didn't know if I should start sharing some of the beautiful photos of New Zealand flowers or continue on the journey.  There were so many unusual plants, or at least ones that do not grow as profusely as where we live (lack of moisture, I do believe).

I think that I will complete our Milford Sound adventure, and pop some floral photos into tomorrow's blog.

As we climbed up the mountain to the Sound,
the clouds would roll across the highway.
The last part of the journey was made
in complete fog.

Here is Milford Sound.  (totally socked in)
At this point, the tour takes a boat out on to
the sound and the views are much like the fiords in Norway.
Of course, Sweet Hubby was headed to the showers,
while our tour director found a washer to clean his
clothing.  We relaxed and rested for a few hours, until
the group returned and we could get back on the bus
to go down the Mountain.

With the constant rain
(yeah, 360 inches per year),
there are always waterfalls.

On the way down, we stopped at the Chasm.
We were given umbrella's and walked the lovely
quarter mile trek through some stunning landscape.
The fresh air was just what we needed.

This was our bus for the day.
Real Journeys was a top choice for
this excursion.  I would choose them
again, if we get back to New Zealand.


When the skies cleared, we were delighted.
The sun does eventually come out.
The the mystical feel of the rain and clouds
was pretty spectacular.

Now, back to Te Anau to rest and recuperate.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Some days are harder than others....

We awoke to clouds, but left early
on a bus, up to Milford Sound.
Sweet Hubby wasn't feeling well....
our first clue.....

Because the road was very curvy and tight,
we took a Real Journeys Bus Tour.

Here we stopped at Mirror Lake.
The sky had cleared and the mountains
looked beautiful.

As we got to the top of the mountain,
Sweet Hubby's food poisoning kicked in.
Not pretty....Not fun....
nothing we could do, but keep moving..

The rain started, as well,
so we hung on.
Our bus Driver, Curls, was a Saint.
She did all she could to help out.

A piece of good luck!
We were able to see a "KaKa", an indigenous Parrot.
Sometimes they are out and about but sightings
are sporadic.  They love to eat the rubber seals,
off the car windows....
which this Parrot, eventually,
started doing.  

Traveling isn't always easy.  There are days when everything can go wrong.  However, even though this was one of our worst days (it is never fun to be sick, especially on a bus!), there were
kind gestures all around and loving care in a most difficult situation.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Everyday, the road beckons....

One of the things that we loved/hated about this
trip, is that we were constantly on the move.
The good part of that is that we never had a moment
to get bored, but the hard part was spending so
much time in the car.
Still, the scenery was spell binding,
each and every day.

I thought that we would see more sheep.
There were plenty, don't get me wrong, but I found myself
looking for them, on occasion.  It was a bit tricky,
catching a photo from the car, but this one pleased me.

We actually saw a cattle drive, one morning.
They came rumbling across the road, as we sat
in our car.  It reminded me of Colorado!

This was the view from our hotel room
in Te Anau, at the base of Milford Sound.
We were in for quite an adventure here.

This wedding chapel was on the hotel's
grounds.  Alas, it was never used while
we were visiting.
It looked like a great place to celebrate
a marriage, in any weather!

Milford Sound awaits.
The next morning, we would be up
early to catch a bus up to the sound.
Most travelers take a bus, as it is
often rainy and can be tough to travel
by car.  We decided to go with Real Journeys.
See you tomorrow!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Next day, sunshine....

Just wanted to show you a photo of Queenstown
the day after the rain/snow.
The sun was out and Queenstown was in all it's glory.
We decided to detour, just to get a great photo,
so that we could let you see it at it's best.
Lovely, lovely

Sharp Rain

I recently read a blog that describe a British rain as a sharp rain.....   That is what we had in Arrowtown and Queenstown.  With hard rain and lower temperatures, it became difficult to spend an entire day outside, so we would step inside a pub for coffee, lunch, snack, dinner.... anything to keep us out of the pouring rain.  As I have said before, there is a certain beauty to a rainy day..... but still, it is not always the best for wandering about outside.

We stopped at a Winery, just before the rain
started.  I have not altered this photo...
It was stunning.
(the nets are used to keep the birds from
eating the grapes, which were being harvested)

Arrowtown is a very quaint, but the shopping
is not.... a fun town on the weekends.
We slept at a small Inn which was the original Jail.

The apples loved the rain....

The mushrooms loved the rain.....

Walking the Queenstown Botanical Gardens
Not so much fun in the pouring rain,
but the gardens were spectacular!

The mountains around Queenstown were getting
their first snow on this day.  The town was being
washed with rain.  I had every layer on, and I
was freezing.  Cold and wet do not agree with me.

Queenstown was just a jewel of a city, tucked among
the hills.  I wish that we had more time to explore
it, but that is the nature of traveling.
Sometimes,you have perfection in timing and travel,
and sometimes,
you take what you can and enjoy that you at least got
to see it.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

We stayed at a lovely Inn in Waneka.
This town was situated around a lake, and
was full of travelers, hiking, biking,
boating, Etc.  It was a relaxing place for us,
after some hard driving days.  We walked and soaked
up the sun, on several mild Fall days.

A walking trail to the town was just a block from
our Inn, so we ventured around the lake and into
town for a long black and a flat white
(yes, more espresso... by this time we were hooked!)

This town reminded me a lot of Aspen or Vail,
in that everyone was into outdoor adventures,
and the houses were as lovely as any I had
seen in New Zealand.

Okay, I couldn't let these vans
not be shown.  I think 50% of the vehicles
in Waneka were Vans....every type and style.
I just thought this was adorable.
What a fun way to travel.

Of course, Juicy Vans were everywhere,too, in
their glorious green and purple colors.

As we rested on a bench, a group of ducks
came up and sat down with us....
soaking up the sun.
Talk about tame!

The weather was starting to get a bit cooler.
It was Fall in New Zealand.  Some of the
trees were starting to change.