Thursday, March 11, 2010

Christ Church - Thursday Evening

We have happily arrived in Christ Church after a spectacular morning drive south from Mount Cook and along the Southern Alps to Geraldine (that's a town famous for it's canned fruit marmalades and juices - in every NZ store). Then, we had rain all the way into Christ Church. Hopefully, it will clear up tomorrow.

But, coming down along through the valleys parallel to the alps was a gorgeous drive with clouds sliding down the sides of the mountains and aqua blue lakes (caused by the glaciers that formed them, creating "flour" which is suspended in the water creating opaque and refracting lakes that make them green-blue). The colors are just amazing.

We spent yesterday hiking on Mount Cook trails, up the Kea Point Trail, about 3 miles return, and then the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier Trails, about 2 miles return, but the latter was straight up, over a very rocky trail, which at times we lost, but didn't fall across the edge, obviously. There were times when I didn't look down, just at the rocks under my feet. It was a challenge. Matt, you wouldn't have liked it! The Tasman glacier is grey and ugly (and receeding, of course) but there are icebergs floating in the lake. Never having seen one, I was impressed, and they would have been more impressive up-close, I'm sure

We had an excellent dinner in the Panorama Restaurant at the Hermitage. Bill had the fresh whole sole (nice poetic gesture) and I had local salmon. Both were presented beautifully and tasted just a good as they looked. Dessert was creme brulee and blackberry yogurt terrine with chocolate crust. Yum.

By the way, the Hermitage Hotel is full of Japanese tour groups. We felt under-caucasianed. They are avid hikers, obviously, as there were groups and couples passing us on the trails all day for two days. Amazingly, many of the women (and some of the men) were heavily dressed with scarves, hats, gloves, fleeces, hats, wind-proof jackets, ball-caps. sweaters, etc. Either they are very thin-blooded or there is some aversion to breezes or the sun. We were HOT. The sun was blazing and after walking just a short time, we were glad to be thinly clad. Anyone have any idea? I suppose the women don't want to get tanned, but gloves and scarves? Matt?

Our new motel, The Lorenzo, in Christ Church is very modern and comfortable, and the hosts (0wners) couldn't be more friendly and helpful. We have a studio kitchen again, which we love because we can eat our yogurt and cereal for breakfast and make fresh press-pot coffee!

Here's to hot weather! The Ellerslie Flower Show is tomorrow.

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