Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 34: Dunedin

Day 34: Dunedin

Pics: Sunrise, Dr THB operating at Cadbury Hospital, Dunedin railroad station (supposedly the number 2 photographed building in the Southern Hemisphere…#1 has already made it into the blog), red and yellow hot poker plant, DB’s wool benefactor, THB and DB dare the sandflies to bite on their turf and take a picture of a gorgeous beach, dim shots of albatross flying and nesting, and pictures mostly taken in the gents and ladies restrooms at Plato

Department of additions, day 33: Cost of the Balmoral Motel in Invercargill $95 (includes $5 of internet). And, last night as we were walking back from dinner around 9pm, the town is very quiet except for one couple enjoying drinks outside a café. It is the Dutch couple we met at breakfast at the Ribbonwood B&B in Franz Josef exactly a week ago. We share stories, and they have had to find another place later in the week because the B&B in Christchurch was seriously damaged in the earthquake. Their Dutch travel agent has verified that their non-stop (true?) home is still flying later this week, two hours later than originally scheduled.

Arise to a spectacular sunrise (see pics), really the first THB has seen on the trip. Breakfast of warm stewed plums (not prunes, local plums, very good), cereal, toast, coffee with hot milk (included with room). Then we start to wander the streets and end up arriving just in time for the 10am tour of the local Cadbury plant, $15/person. The tour guide is a young woman from Maryland, who is handing out candy right and left.

Lots of chocolate later, including a wee bit of liquid that we slurp up with spoons, we continue our wandering, visiting the local art jewelry spot, Lure, which is pretty decent (no purchases made). Then we cross over the street to visit the Mumbai train station look-alike, minus the 500,000 people and missing all the trains, too.

A visit to the local art museum and a very good show of a Kiwi named John Pule and a combo show of local artists, at least one of which we recognize from other pieces seen here during the trip.

Lunch at the café in the Speight Brewery, very mediocre fish and chips and very good fresh brewskies, $35.

Then a quick rest up and we head out of town for a visit to the albatross rookery. On the way, down an unpaved road, we find some fresh (spun?) wool that DB pronounces a true bargain ($32), see pic of the lamb that provided the skeins! Also a visit to a very pretty viewpoint overlooking Sandfly Beach, where if you walk a lot further you can sit behind a blind and hope that small yellow-eyed penguins show up.

Back to the car and more meandering out to the end of the peninsula to see the albatrosses. We get very lucky: there are 5 or 6 nesting birds, one where we can actually see the chick (you have to stay in a building overlooking the rookery, behind pretty thick glass), four or five teenagers flying around, and several landings and takeoffs (not all that graceful when you have to unfold 9 feet of wings). Fascinating! $70…

Dinner at Plato, of which there are many pics of the restrooms and the wall of kitsch items the owner has collected oh these many years. 100% eclectic antique store give-aways, not even a nice piece of Bakelite in the mass of stuff displayed. A decent collection of Folgers percolator coffee pots (remember that theme of the pop…pop, pop of coffee brewing), and a bunch of junk.

The food was a lot better. Hey, they served bread and olive oil that you didn’t have to pay for!!!!!!!!! Appetizer of feta, olives, tapenade, asian veggies mix, tomato puree, and roasted garlic in oil. Very good when combined on the toast. Two fish dinners with ordered sides of bok choy and chard (we’re getting desperate for greens), a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and roasted peach on a polenta soft cake with whipped cream. Total $135…and way too much food, we got sucked in by the Bay Area feel of the place, okay, except for the kitsch all over the walls.

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