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Monday, March 31
Breakfast today was a real treat, bacon, eggs, toast, roast tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans. Good fodder for a 35 km mountain bike ride over the Otaga Rail pass. It started out nicely but after 2 km my butt already hurt. I was worried. Then the numbness set in and the next while was nice with scenic views throughout the country side on the old rail bed. I was nervous as there was much loose gravel and stone which eventually made my hands and arms very sore. By the time we got to Oturehua I was ready for a break. We met Mel and Manuel at the cafe and had a nutritious lunch of an ice cream bar and for desert, an afghan. That’s a Kiwi thing made with corn flakes and chocolate with walnuts on top and was very good.
Back on the bike and the break had done my bum no favours. It was sore no matter how or where I put it. It was okay for a while but then we hit the 4 km hill. I ended up walking the bike the last kilometre as my thighs were burning and I was exhausted. The last 4 km was downhill which was awesome! The wind blew all the cobwebs out and it felt great but I kept braking as the speed was scary on the gravel.
After a nice shower of hot, then cold, then hot water I felt somewhat human again and grabbed an apple and a banana to balance my nutritious lunch.
The next adventure was curling. What a hoot! After a brief lesson 8 of us were let loose on two ices. Each threw 4 rocks just at the house. No one was holding a broom or anything. It was amazing how many great shots were made. We all had a blast and all were sorry the hour was over.
We made it back just in time to get laundry off the line and head to the pub for dinner. I had a veggie lasagna that was amazing. It had all sorts of stuff in it like squash and pesto. I even had cheesecake for dessert. No, I’m not losing any weight but all that exercise is worth something 🙂
Tuesday April 1
An early start meant we left in the dark and got to see the sunrise on the road over the mountains. We stopped at the Moereki boulders which Simon explained as fossilized dinosaur poop. Ya, April fools. 😉
A quick detour off the highway took us through Oamaru, a pretty town with lots of beautiful old limestone buildings.
The next stop was Timaru for lunch and some of us decided it was time for McDonald’s.
Upon arrival in Christchurch, we checked into the jail and were assigned our cells for the night. Simone did a quick drive around to show us where things are, gave us a map and we all headed off in different directions. Sue and I visited the Cathedral that crumbled during the earthquake 3 years ago and noted the devastation still easily viewed downtown. We checked out the Re-store which is a street of stores made from shipping containers as well as the million dollar cardboard cathedral. The botanical gardens were on the way back to the hostel, or it was supposed to a l be. We got just a little lost. Nothing asking a few kind strangers didn’t solve.
After stopping at Burger King for the free wifi we met the others and headed out to a Moroccan place for dinner. Sue and I shared a tapas selection and was it ever tasty! Nice.