Vicki and I have had a very boring day. We did our usual, went to Starbucks, had an interesting conversation with Jerry. Jerry is quite knowledgeable and has had an interesting involvement with Chinese medicine. We will share more about this in the future.
|It is hard to live in the desert and realize that weather conditions are so severe....it looks beautiful!|
The weather turned very cold today...I had to put on a sweat shirt. lol! I guess that is really not nice to say since the east coast is covered in snow! Ads long as I did not lose the power in my house I would have loved to have been there...maybe at the Westin in New York! At least at the Westin I would not have to shovel snow That is as long as we paid the bill! lol! Really, I am not kidding!
After Starbucks, Goodwill, QT, the post office and Walgreen we headed home to our favorite lunch.
After lunch I finished deleting the photos and the count is up to 12,000. Considering that I started out with 1,000 I did amazing things. To bad it wasn't the stock market that I was working...I would be one happy camper!
Where we did not go today .....but the Amsterdam did!
Day 35, Napier, New Zealand
Postcards from Paradise
Due to the flucuation of the tide, we had to arrive an hour later to Napier than originally planned. That was great, because we had time to enjoy the sail into the massive Hawke's Bay. The weather could not have been more perfect. The sun was out and the skies blue, making the waters several shades of turquoise to dark blue. The bow was completely ours to watch the slow process of our arrival.
We booked a tour with our travel agency today, which took us out of town to Cape Kidnappers Station, a rugged coastal property owned by a local billionaire. This property is 5000 acres of steep hills and canyons, which have been planted with pines. The areas that are not planted are as barren as sun dried mountains we have seen in deserts.
After driving through Napier, where a bagpipe competition was being held, we headed along the picturesque coastline dotted with Norfolk Island pines. Soon we arrived to the station where we stopped briefly to pick up numerous free brochures and make a pit stop. Entering a private gate, our 4 wheel drive vehicles (there were three of them) started climbing a private road that took us to the top of the mountainside. Cattle and sheep were contained in large sections that were separated by miles of fencing and gates.
On the top, the owner of the property had built a massive home, as well as a hotel/bed and breakfast. A huge garden was planted nearby to supply guests with everything fresh. Stretched out in front of the home was a golf course, which if we heard right, ran about $400 to play. Continuing on, the vans climbed the steepest cliffs with hairpin turns until we arrived at the top where the birds were. Cape Kidnappers boasts having the most accessible mainland gannet colony in the world. Actually, we drove right up to this colony which was perched on the flat clifftop. Thousands of these large birds were caring for chicks of all sizes. Many were flying overhead, having come back from feeding on small fish for hours.
We were allowed to stand within feet of these interesting birds as they preened and fed their chicks, some of which were as large as the parents. The only downside was being on the upside of the aroma of the bird guano. Guess that's part of the experience. While we were busy taking photos, the guides and their helpers set up tables full of frosted cakes of all types, huge strawberries, and kiwi or orange juice. We located a bench on a lower cliff, where we could watch another colony of birds down below on limestone rocks. What a view we had of the bay and beaches below the windblown cliffs.
All too soon, we had to leave, mostly because more vans were arriving with the HAL folks doing the same tour. These roads to get here were very narrow, allowing for one way traffic. We did have to back up once to allow another vehicle by, and were glad to have to do this only once. Our driver stopped once to allow us out to take photos of the stunning views. Back down at the start, we made one more pit stop, then drove back through Napier. The tour ended with a quick drive through town to see the art deco buildings, built after a devastating earthquake in 1931. If we ever have the chance to visit here again, we will stay in town and explore there.
The sail away was as nice as the sail in. Boy, have we been lucky to have had so many perfect days since we have been in New Zealand. It's no wonder that the people here are so happy and friendly. It's obviously a great place to live.
Tomorrow we will be in Wellington.
Bill & Mary Ann
PS There have been some ship issues which needed fixing. We received a letter this morning announcing that the elevators would be out of service for an hour this afternoon. Good thing most folks were out in town or on tours. Then we have been having water problems with the shower. It has been sporatically going from warm to hot to cold in a matter of minutes, with the surprise of a pressure drop when least expected. Henk, the hotel manager, has promised to check into this for us, as we have never had a problem before in this room. We do know that many leaky pipes are in the process of being replaced, which may be affecting us.
Day 35, Napier , New Zealand
We could not have had a better day today….. The weather was just perfect. Today was spend exploring the lovely city of Napier, known for their Art Deco style. In 1931, the city was destroyed by an earthquake and the rebuilding was done in the popular style back then, Art Deco. They also go all out in showing off their Art Deco by having vintage cars and people dressed in period clothing. They also had a special event today, a band competition with more bagpipes than I have ever seen in one place…. The gardens here were some of the best that I have seen.... beautiful flowers! The day was just fantastic! Tomorrow we spend the day in Wellington, New Zealand