Friday, June 02, 2006

The drive to Christchurch

We departed Motueka at 0800 and the sun was rising over the empty tidal flats. Not entirely empty, as there were dozens of artistic rock formations (a peace sign, happy face, lots of words) carefully arranged in the sand and mud. It would be most interesting to see them mid-tide, rocks poking through the surface of the water. The 4 C chill this morning has left a silvery frost on the dark green hill that is slowly vanishing in the rays of brilliant golden sunshine. Passed through a McDonald's drive through, felt weird using the right window as we drove through.

We drove through Marlbourough country, full of vineyards. South of Blenheim, we came to a single lane, 500 foot long bridge with a wooden floor and train tracks for a roof. We were on the yielding side, so we had to wait for a long enough break and hope for the best. Lunch was at a nice place on the shore, had a very spicy Tandoori Chicken on filo dough. We stopped to take loads of photos of seals sunbathing on the rocks. We drove on to Christchurch, watching the gas gauge keep dropping. Since we paid for a full tank, we had no intention of putting more cash into the car. We turned it in to Hertz with under 10 liters in the tank.

Our hostel, Charlie B's Backpackers, gave us a room with a floor-shared restroom/shower across the hall...slightly inconvenient. Shopped a bit before the stores closed, then hopped onto the city trolley and viewed the city lit up at night. Ended up eating at a restaurant by the river and drinking maybe a bottle and a half of wine between us before walking the town a little more before turning in fat and happy. We have to wake up early to make the trans-alpine train.

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