(Rob) Up at the crack o' dawn to catch the Atomic Shuttle from Dunedin. Andrew, the driver, used to live in Bloxwith but moved to NZ about 28 years ago. It's a small world!! Again, a very scenic ride to Oamaru
- about 1 1/2 hours through English looking landscapes - rolling hills and parchwork fields.
Dumped our stuff at the Swaggers hostel which nestles beautifully into the surroundings, an old ranch-like building with a little plot of land on the side exploding with summer flowers, a plum tree and lots of wild poppies & daisies, swaying around in the sea breeze. The owner, Irene made us very welcome - free milk and drinks available - a homely, old fashioned feel to the place; similar to a traditional bed & breakfast ("how would you like ya eggs, fried or boiled?" - that sort of feel).
Rob's impersonations leave a lot to be desired
We took time to suss out the area; shops and information office. Also visited the local and quaint shops, galleries and museums in the backstreets. The breadshop was particularly impressive - all baked on the premises by a Jewish looking guy with a long beard and round glasses.
PM Took a walk along the harbour, cliffs and sea shore, kicking the shells and generally admiring the gorgeous coastline and surf. Our walk into a forested area close by was also lovely, contrasting in terms of smells, birdlife and a variety of trees and shrubs. The fircones are huge - like limpets attaching themselves to the everlasting, soldierlike trees - all straight in tidy rows and reaching for the sky. Glimpses of the turquoise coloured sea below gave a kind of Mediterranean feel to the experience.
Our walk took us down to the coastline again to the yellow-eyed penguin hide and, in excited anticipation of returning later at dusk, when the penguins return on shor to feed their chicks.
Late PM. We spent some time in the hostel. Got chatting to a couple of women from Switzerland - a psychologist and a residential social worker. More people from the 'caring' professions. The Swiss lady spoke English with a Scottish accent!! as her mother was Scottish. Whilst we did discuss work related issues to an extent, it didn't feel like talking shop given the different systems and approaches to the work. However, I suspect that if we had chatted for longer, similarities would have emerged in terms of people, politics, frustrations, hope and aspirations, etc. We're all human after all.
(Jan) Set out to walk the 30 min up and down hill back to yellow-eyed penguins in the evening but got picked up along the way by a local elderly couple. Thought of refusing the lift as a lovely evening but took up on it out of interest. She goes down every evening to clear any rubbish but tonight they were taking some friends. Said they often stop on the way to offer 'younger people' a lift in case they hadn't realised how far it was! Spent a pleasant couple of hours sitting on the cliffs watching the sea as well as 4 penguins and a seal & chatting at length to 2 young Dutch guys from the hostel. We also had a good lauch pretending we had seen penguins when we hadn't by pointing at distant objects, watching everyone else looking at what we'd found. Sad! We didn't jump to the chance of the guided walk for $10 with Jim earlier on and unfortunately he fell during the second walk and had to cancel the third. He'd fallen onto a stick up his nose! Ouch. and set off for home clutching a hanky. We'd both surmised what he might be like beforehand as we had heard alot about his tours and he is much celebrated but we were both wrong. The only thing we got right was his nervous energy.
We walked into town afterwards to get a hot drink but it was closed! We eventually found a pub/restaurant which was very friendly (again) and cosy. The building had originally been the first post office there.