Monday, July 28, 2008

The Other Side of the World, Pt. 1

We were recently lucky enough to enjoy a wonderful vacation in the beautiful country of New Zealand. The Incredible Digit Husband's family (on his father's side) get together every few years for a family reunion and New Zealand was the destination for this reunion. I am happy to say that both of the Incredible Digit children did great on their first trans-pacific flight. 12 hours plus another 2 hours on a plane is not easy for a three- and five-year-old but the in-seat entertainment screens helped a lot.

We started out in Christchurch. We saw this tower during a walk in town.

The next day we started our official tour in the coach. Since we had a large group of twenty we were able to have the coach to ourselves. Plenty of room for knitting.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see more of town as it was overcast and rainy. There is a very nice Arts Center, lovely gardens, and beautiful canals that one can "punt" down in boats. Maybe next time.

One our way from Christchurch to Dunedin our Coach Captian/Driver, Brian, asked if we would like to make our first snack stop at the Ashford Cafe in Ashburton. I, of course, said yes (probably a little too loudly) because "they have spinning wheels there". They also have a very nice selection of yarn, spinning fibers, coffee and treats. The lovely woman below helped me in my selection of some very soft possum-merino spinning fiber. I also indulged in a tussah silk-merino blend, as well. The rest of our group enjoyed some hot drinks and sweet pastries in the cafe. As they say, a good time was had by all. Our next stop was Oamaru. A charming coastal town which reminded me a bit of Astoria, Oregon. The town is also home to a colony of blue penguins that can be viewed in day or night tours. The buildings in the area are just beautiful. Plenty of older architecture that has been lovingly cared for and restored. The four of us from the Digit household had a very enjoyable lunch in a nearby park (or garden as they call it in NZ) across from one such building....a lovely church.
Our final destination on this day was Dunedin. Our first stop was at the Cadbury factory. We got a tour and a great explanation of the different steps in processing of the chocolate. We also got lots of samples! Since we were the last group of the day our group leader was being very generous with the chocolate. So much so that the Incredible Digit Boy wound up with a bag full to overflowing. I would fly back to NZ in a heartbeat just for the Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate bars.

During our time in Dunedin we were able to see two historic homes....Larnach Castle and Olveston House. Two amazing homes with fascinating histories. The story of Larnach Castle is steeped in soap opera style family dysfunction. It would be too much to list here but, trust me, it's worth reading about here. Our guide, Winnifred, truly made the story come to life. We really were hanging on her every word.

After the tour we were treated to morning tea in the grand ballroom. The scones with cream were soooo good.
Now, unfortunately, Olveston House did not allow any photos to be taken inside so here's a shot of the front with most of our group (minus five who were exploring the grounds). The unique thing about this location is that all of the original items used by the family/owners of the house are all still there. The surviving daughter of the family was the last to live in the house which was willed to the city after her passing. Not to be missed. To be continued..........


Sharon said...

Welcome home, Digit family! Love the pics. I'm waiting for the one of the muscly sheep shearing dude...but I'll settle for some Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, lol... ;)

Nightingale Wailord said...

Nice report on your first couple of days in the family reunion. Oh those choccies were nice, I still have some left in the fridge lol! Looking forward for more :)

Tiggywinkle Knits said...

Ok, you've had 2 weeks to get over the jet lag, and the heat wave has certainly gotten you over the temperature change, so when do we get part 2? ;)~