Never tired of this view
(Rob) Still a bit mesmerised by this gorgeous place. Surrounded by mountains and a German named Danielle with no German accent ("he's worked hard not to have!") who owns a taxi company in Munich, has got 3 kids who he hardly sees due to his busy schedule and who intends to earn enough dosh in 2005-6 to take off all of 2007 for more travelling and semi-retirement.
Weather really sunny today. Took off in morning for a walk over the mountains (Mt Iron) via art gallery on the main road from Wanaka. Got chatting to mother and daughter artists who produce some lovely stuff in stained glass, mixed media paintings and etchings. Daughter spent a few months in Ireland promoting her work and a glimpse of her portfolio reflects a variety of designs - rich in colour and creativity. Mother doesn't need to work due to be being married to a wealthy bloke but she sells her work and provides teaching on occasions.
More quirky things
After being inspired by the chat, we moved on to finish our walk where we had the benefit of some fantastic views including Rob Roy Peak which is loaded with great wedges of snow looking as though it is ready to slip off at any minute.
Trailed through a little town on the other side of the big hill, lots of land and new developments for sale (£1.000.000+)
Strolled around the shops in the afternoon. Sorted out photos and bought some little odds and ends.
Evening: Enter Christine and Alan. Picture the scene: mid evening the aforementioned pair - aged approximately early 60's arrive at the hostel weighed down with heavy backpacks, ice axes, a few days growth (including Christine, bless her!) and looking absolutely physically drained. It transpired that they had been stranded due to river flooding, necessitating a helicopter rescue.
Worth the walk up Mount Iron any day
They were in the middle of nowhere having not seen anybody for days. To make matters worse, Alan had been struck by a loose boulder attempting to cross the flooded river (they had crossed easily on the way out) bruising around his eye and face. What fun eh?! Most normal people at that age would be sitting at home with the Readers' Digest supping cocoa and/or getting ready to go out for the weekly bingo session.
(Jan) We reckoned Alan was a.k.a. 'Steve' of Australian TV fame who wrestles with crocs, etc due to his manner of relating his tales. He made it all sound like a normal day at the office but couldn't stick it out longer as he was worried about Christing and running out of food. They were provided with food from others in the hostel and it transpired they were also going to Te Anau
the next day. We cancelled our plans to hitch, booked seats for 4 in the coach to Queenstown
and offered a lift in the car we were planning on hiring there.
Got talking to a 'Jean & Sandra' pair from Sussex - very pleasant and into the long tramps rishing their necks on remote tracks on their own. They were a CPN and clinical psychologist who'd taken a few months off. All these 'people people' who are off travelling, eh. Don't see any of the bingo hall, slippers to the shops types round here!
Went to a unique cinema tonight to see a surfing documentary. Didn't fancy the alternative of Lord of the Rings for 3 hours on a fine day (We both got a bit burnt today). The cineman was an old fashioned independent one with a good cafe attached selling delicious home-made ice-cream. We were tempted to give up the wait to go in as it ran 1/2 hour late and we wanted to go to bed but it was worth the wait.
It looked like when the traditional tip-up seats had worn out, they took them out and replaced them with arm-chairs and settees - even a Morris Minor too, sometimes chopping off the back legs to make them fit the steps (car included). The front row was reserved for rocking chairs but sadly our backs meant that we sat on the original seats - very comfortably too.
The film was unexpectedly fascinating and entertaining. These surfers were amazing and will go to incredible lengths to find surf - taken out by boat to find huge waves thrown up in the middle of the sea by ocean floor disturbances and to ride the waves back to shore puched up by super tankers. The children and older people (all men) were superb - an alternative angle on accident risk reduction in old age by keeping them fit. Some younger women are into it and show a very different style, earning a grudging respect from the men.
We walked home at midnight looking a our shadows cast by the brightest full moon we've ever seen.