Thursday, January 23, 2014

Austrian visitors show of their alpine skills

Thursday, January 23, 2014
oldbearnews editor

We woke 6 am – to the sound of miao miao – the cat who had gone missing for some days suddenly returned overnight. Goodness knows where she has been. Son numer uno very happy indeed. Made for Mamabear traveling happy too.
Quick breakfast and electronic catchup – then time to pack and head off. Managed to pick up Liz Peach on the way. Before long we had to look at a map and decide which was the quickest way out of Christchurch. We then cranked up the 70 horses and the stage coach and took of to the fabled west-coast.  

Pit stop for the horses (and the traveler's) included Springfield – of Donut-Simpson fame.  The original nut got - urm - souvenir-ed (no wait urm set on fire!!  Rumor has it that Bart was seen around that time near his nut- but that could never be verified)  and it took a long time for the powers to be to re-commission a nice solid new one.  Springfield of course is the home of one Simpson dude - and so when the Film was released it was released here first - along with the international film crew and a whole lot of hoopla!   Naturally it provides a convenient stop for photos / toilet or just simply stretch the legs.

From there onwards towards Arthurs Pass – for lunch and a historic road travel / kea inspection.  Ducked into the local DOC / Info center and was very disappointed.  After the 2010 shake, the building has since been deemed unsafe - or semi safe and needs repairs and so half the displays are in storage while they work on strengthening the walls.  That just meant we spent less time there and have to do a verbal sale of the original road-ing, later on the lookout.  The original road was suitable for cars only- and no caravan/truck and/or trailer to be towed was allowed to go over Arthurs Pass - these folks had to make the long journey via Lewis Pass to the West-coast. The hairpin's in particular were on a steep slope and were scary enough for some folks - even for Mamabear.  She has not so fond memories of stalling her car on one of the hairpins and could not get going again - so I had to "rescue" her.  No safety rails in those days - just a sheer 300 meter drop down to the valley floor. Guess that explains her fears of stopping on any sort of hill/raise on any road.  Since the viaduct was built the West-coast opened up with easy access for tourists and goods and services.

Lunch was consumed at the local Cafe. Still very windy and cold - such a change from the weather in Christchurch. We decided that even with the drizzle and wind it was good to hoof it up to the 'devils punchbowl falls' and I remembered that last time I was there I carried a young girl up there too. Still huffing and puffing now and the 300 plus stairs along the way were not helping.  Someone needs to count them for me - I lost count on the way up and down.

Beautiful waterfall, and with the rain it was fuller then normal giving nice rain curtains that were torn in the wind. 

My job description keeps expanding - moved from Bed and Breakfast owner to Driver to  - well - Paparazzi-dude.  I was tasked to take a picture of all folks AND the waterfall in it's entirety.  No easy task.  Soon found a creative angle to  use and voilà - a happy snap shot to go into the family album.


Just in case there is ANY doubt - yes this is KIWI country and this soon to be Kiwi will join several other Kiwis present.  There are nocturnal birds around the area - so if you ever decide to spend a night at Arthurs Pass you might just see some Kiwis - (of the feathered variety) running round.  Trust me - you don't want to be outside yourself in the night - it gets rather cold up there.

After the hike up and down to the Falls, it was back to the car where it was drier and warmer and we hotfooted it all the way to Hokitika (via a photo-stop on the viaduct lookout point)  and found the bach in a lovely, far away hidden corner in NZ – very quiet and serene.

Our horses are getting a well earned rest – well almost.  While I am typing furiously to catch up on blog – some of the 70 horses have been taken out again from  the stables to get some much needed supplies.  Hmmmm wonder whats for dinner???????

Dinner became a lovely Apricot chicken something rather along with a Pear crumble for dessert.  Here the newly minted chef can be seen prepping the pears . . . . .


The sun poked her head round the clouds so I decided in the last minute to go to the beach and Bernhard and Wilfried joined me – it became a boys only event!! The ladies thinking they will see better tomorrow - yeah right!! It was a LOVELY Sunset!! All three lads took lots and lots of pictures.  Eventually back to base and then a early bed for the tour-guide but not before some typing and a glass of red and some string therapy. ^^

The beginning of some tying up?? Nope - just a crazy idea of ID tags - no wait - friendship bracelets.  One thing is for sure - I do need my reading glasses.  Eventually this particular model was completed and having set the standard eventually in due course everyone got one made. 

Tomorrow of to pancake rocks and walk on river bed.

oh forgot - I uploaded a video - enjoy :D

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