Sunrise! This was the view from my morning run.
*****SUN, FEB 8th - Back to Christchurch again*****
I got up early & headed out for a sunrise run. It was so beautiful! I ran down to the lake & actually just sat along the shore for a little while watching the sky change as the sun rose. Such a great way to start the day!
Headed back to the B & B, had some breakfast (the second B in "B & B") & then hit the road. Before I left Tekapo, I made it a point to go to that church & get the picture of the cross with the lake. It was OPEN...there was no wedding going on & I got the picture. Woo hoo!
It was a gorgeous drive back to Christchurch & I actually took the scenic route so I went a different way than the last time I drove up to ChCh.
the famous shot of the cross from inside the church! I finally made it there to get the picture & there wasn't a wedding going on & it wasn't closed!
I found a hostel to stay in for the last 2 nights & then I got in touch with Jamie & Belinda. Jamie is the guy I met on the New Year's kayaking trip in Abel Tasman
...and I went to the Buskers Festival with him a week or so ago when I was in ChCh the first time. I was so excited that we were going to get to hang out again! We planned to meet up at Dux de Lux for some Ginger Tom's!
Then, I got in touch with Belinda because she is still staying in Sumner, just outside of ChCh. We decided that we were going to go surfing tomorrow! SO FUN!!!! I'm excited to head out to Sumner again - it's just so gorgeous there & it will be fun to surf.
Gotta take a picture of the church in Christchurch!
I think that will be a fun thing to do on my last day.
And THEN - I also found out that Alex, the guy from Switzerland who I met in Queenstown, who I hung out with Te Anau - is biking to Christchuch tomorrow too! He may try to meet up with us in Sumner, but if that doesn't work, we'll definitely get together in Christchurch for dinner. I love it!
So - I walked around town a bit, checked my e-mail (there is an AWESOME internet cafe here called e-Blah Blah & it's great - $3/hour!!! That's the cheapest I've seen it & they have really fast machines & they have memory card readers....so fun) & then met up with Jamie at Dux de Lux!
It was great to hang out with him again.
I was laughing. That's not how I normally smile. :) That's what happens after 2 Ginger Toms - and onto the third. Hee hee.
And what was so cool is that when we met in Abel Tasmen - we talked about what I should do when I'm in Christchurch & he told me that I should go to Dux de Lux and get a Ginger Tom. And that's exactly what we were doing! Those beers are just so good. We need to figure out how to get them in the U.S. Seriously!!! It's beer with honey, ginger & lemon. It's refreshing, spicy & just hits the spot. Anyway! It was fun catching up with Jamie & I'll be excited for him to come visit me in San Francisco one of these days! Right Jamie?!?
*****MON, FEB 9th - LAST DAY IN NEW ZEALAND!*****
Well, I'm sad to say it - but it's my last day in New Zealand. :( I will DEFINITELY be coming back here again.
Jamie!! So fun that we got to hang out for a third time while I'm in NZ. He definitely thinks I'm a bit of a stalker. :) He switched from Ginger Tom to Non Tom since he had to go to work the next day!
People keep asking me which island do I prefer - the North or the South - and honestly, I have enjoyed every single place I have been, it's hard for me to say. I really like BOTH islands & think people should visit both. I will have to come back to get to the Coromandel Peninsula, Napier & Stewart Island....but besides those areas, I'm pretty sure I hit everything else!
I'll think of some lists of top cities, favorite experiences, etc & put those in here. Right now, I want to get out & enjoy my last day - so I'll come up with those lists today or tomorrow on the plane!
So, I just printed out my boarding pass for tomorrow! I'm heading to Melbourne on a 7:15am flight. UGH!!!! AND I have to be there TWO hours before to check in since it's an international flight.
How delicious does that sound?!? It is just so good. I need to work on getting it imported to the U.S. Jamie said he is going to ship a case to me for my birthday in November. I can't wait!!
AND I have to return my rental car (I wonder what's going to happen since I'm returning it with 2 less hubcaps....we'll see!). Oy. It's going to be kind of brutal in the morning! However, I've been in touch with Steve & Naomi...that's Dan Halperin's brother & sis-in-law and I'm going to take a cab to their place from the airport. So nice to have a plan & have a house to go to upon arrival!! Even though I am INCREDIBLY sad to leave - I'm getting excited about the next phases of my travels.
My plan right now is to spend a few days in Melbourne, then I may rent a car (I am loving the whole car rental thing & driving on the left will be no problem at all!) & drive the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide to see Andy, from Mountain Camp.
Hung out with Belinda in Sumner my last day. That's her n her new haircut.
I'll probably do some surfing & snorkeling there & then I may fly to Bangkok from there. Seems strange not to go to Sydney & the Great Barrier Reef...but I've been there before & right now I'm feeling like I'll want to make my way to SouthEast Asia. We'll see! I guess that's the beauty of being able to figure it out as I go.
Okay, I'm off to enjoy my day. Surfing with Belinda & catching up with Alex later today. Sounds like a perfect last day in NZ to me!!!
(Update later) - It did end up being such the perfect day! I headed out to Sumner & Belinda couldn't meet up right away (was getting her hair cut) - so I just hung out on the beach for awhile, read the paper, swam in the water, etc. Then, when I was heading over to Tart (the best coffee/breakfast/lunch place there) - I actually ran into Alex on the beach.
Ran into Alex in Sumner so he joined Belinda & I for lunch.
He had just biked over from Lyttleton & was literally texting me when I saw him! So fun! So, he joined us for a little lunch & then he was off to bike into Christchurch (he biked for 6 weeks & biked over 4000 km in NZ - holy moly!). We planned to meet up later so I could go to Dux de Lux & get another Ginger Tom. :) So, then Belinda & I headed down to the beach & actually decided against surfing. It just seemed like too much of a production at that point & actually the waves were pretty crazy, so I'm glad we just decided to swim around in the water for a bit. The weather turned a little cooler - so we then headed back to where she is staying & hit the hot tub. We had run into AJ on the beach too, so he joined us as well.
Alex at Dux de Lux. He had a Ginger Tom & then went for the Black Shag.
Such a fun little day in Sumner!
When it was time for me to head back, Belinda and I said our good-byes! It really was so special meeting her & I'm very grateful that I got to know her & spend time with her. We will definitely see each other again...etiher in SF or the Netherlands....but regardless, I know we will always keep in touch!
So, I drove back to the city, filled my car up with gas so I could bring it to the airport the next day full (seems like a random little detail - but this is important to remember for later in my story), and then met up with Alex. We went to Dux de Lux and got Ginger Toms. Yay!!!! I was so happy. :) Well, actually not entirely happy - because when I went to pay for the drinks, I realized I didn't have my credit card.
Last dinner in NZ with Alex!
My LAST day in NZ & I decide to misplace my card now?!? Just perfect. Well, I did remember the last time I used it was at the gas station (see, that detail came in handy) - SO - I found the receipt which luckily had the address of the gas station, then asked the people at Dux de Lux to help me call. It was much more complicated than it sounds....I didn't have credit left on my cell phone so I couldn't call...and they were having trouble helping me find the number - the number in the phone book was wrong & they didn't know the number for information....ANYWAY...after a couple iterations of things - we found the number, I called them from the bar phone & lo & behold - the credit card was at the gas station! So, good news was I found my card.
This was in my hostel....so approrpirte. I MUST return again!
...bad news was I needed to only have 1 Ginger Tom, wait awhile (because that's how responsible I am ;) ) and then go get my card. Alex was very nice & came with me to the gas station & was very supportive through the whole thing....although he did say at one point, "I think you are crazy". It was said in this Swiss/Germany accent & it was very funny.
SO, after I got my credit card we headed back into the city (it literally took 30 minutes to go out & get my card & come back - not too bad) & we went out for a YUMMY dinner near SOL Square in Christchurch. We shared pictures of our travels & talked about how there are so many special places in New Zealand & what a wonderful experience we have both had traveling the country.
More ofthe sunrise.
When we got our wine, Alex raised up his glass & said, "To New Zealand & the special memories" - it was so cute. It's also so cute when it's in a Swiss/German accent. He also loved Wanaka so it was fun to talk about the places we both went when we were there.
Anyway - it really was just such a perfect end to my time in New Zealand. This country is so spectacular & there are so many amazing things to do here - but when I think about my trip - I feel especially lucky for all the amazing people I crossed paths with and who I will hopefully stay in touch with & see again at some point!