Saturday, 30 January 2010

30/1/10 - Sat outside a coffee shop near the Christchurch Art Gallery

I'll start with the walk back from Sumner, I cunningly turned the walk into a circular route by coming back on the other side of the road. This was mainly because I thought I was being funny and was amusing myself but it ended up being a great decision because I noticed so much more looking at the villages I was passing instead of out to the estuary and the sea.

I discovered that many of the houses in the hills had no road access and some of them even had their own monorails. I loved these houses and dreamt of owning one but when I considered the practicalities it wasn't as idyllic as it seemed. What if you twist an ankle? You become housebound or stuck out of your house, I still admired the people who lived in the houses and the builders who must have had a tough task building them.

The highlight of the walk was when I spotted a path with a sign saying Mulgan's Track, something that I had missed on the way to Sumner. It was a path up through the near near vertical hill side that served as the only access to 7 or 8 beautiful hillside houses. The view from the top was awesome and I had a little moment with myself before setting off back down the hill.

The whole walk to Sumner and back began at 11 and finished at 6 so by my calculations that's about 20 miles. I was exhausted when I returned to the hostel so I tried to get an hours sleep, not helped by interruptions from my 2 new room-mates (both nobs), one English, one German who looked at me like I'd crawled through sewage when I told them about my walk.

I got up and had a pint in a shit sports bar then watched Jackass in the hostel lounge before going to bed at 11 for a much needed proper night of sleep.

Today I was up at 7 and raring to go, I took a trip to the supermarket to buy some cereal for breakfast and bread for lunch. I met a friendly Canadian who was drinking someone else's wine, we chatted away as I ate my Sugar puffs (I thought I was buying Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes but I like both anyway) (Why did I write that, that's not interesting, sorry) (the apology has made things worse, I should have left it or deleted all this drivel, oh well). We both agreed that a girl who came in to the kitchen stressed was a moron because there should be no reason for stress when you're travelling in New Zealand.

The Canadian finished off the bottle of wine and when his friend came in I learned that he was working today and would be driving there. Later, whilst shaving I learned that he also has no licence in any country but I liked him so I'll allow it.

On the dangerous driver's recommendation, and also because I had planned to go there anyway, I headed for the botanic gardens and Hagley park where I got lost (bliss) watched some cricket and read some signs about trees that were so uninteresting I should have removed them and replaced them with new ones like 'This one gets pretty big' or 'Probably one of these in lord of the rings'.

From the park once I had found my bearings again I went to the Christchurch Art Gallery - Number 6 in 30 things not to miss in New Zealand according to my Rough Guide. The building was impressive and inside was similar to many other art galleries I've visited: the pictures were either boring or I didn't understand them. It was crap but I felt a bit more cultured.

I like travelling.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Christchurch Exploration

29/1/10 - Sat outside a bar in Sumner with a pint of Tui, not quite a lager but tasty nonetheless.

I'm in love, partly with the French girl I met last night but mostly with New Zealand and travelling in general.

Last night was a great night, the only thing missing was some dancing like a mentaler. I was first invited out by two German guys who were staying in the same room as me - Mike and Chris were their names and the first thing they did was to say they were going out later and did I want to join them which straight off makes them pretty good blokes in my book. I was feeling quite nackered after the flight so I said I'd see how I feel later.

After popping to the shop I made myself some pasta and got chatting to a lovely French girl called Astrid and we ended up going out for the evening together. Our first stop was a park to watch some of the World Buskers Festival which, by jolly coincidence is taking place in Christchurch this week. The act was a sort of trapeze, circus, acrobatics number which was nothing spectacular but watching it for free on a summer night with a beautiful stranger can't be bad. Once the swinging, twirling and jumping had finished we avoided donating any money and found a bar where we happily chatted the evening away before heading back to the hostel around 11 to say our goodbyes and exchange names for facebook, then off to bed for some much needed sleep.

Or at least that was the plan until Chris came in to the room and said they were just heading out and again asked if I wanted to join them. I'm not great at saying no to a night out and so I did join them and made lots of one night friendships with: An 18 year old German girl who had been living in a car whilst travelling; a brummy called Dave who was dangerously horny and two English girls who were staying in the same room as me and the Germans who were a bit annoying.

Today I have walked 3 and a half hours, partly in the wrong direction, from Christchurch to Sumner, a small seaside town with a beach and some picturesque rocks with caves in right on the waterfront. The walk was cracking, or at least the second half was, following the river estuary out to the sea past cliffs and caves and some pretty houses. I like travelling.

The Journey

Thursday 28/1/10 - On the plane from Sydney to Christchurch.

So far everything has gone very smoothly, touch wood. It's a long way to New Zealand but the in flight entertainment was excellent, I watched a couple of sit-coms, a bit of Michael McIntyre before he started to irritate me and 4 and a half films (Funny People **, District 9 ****, Julie & Julia ***, Up *** and most of Public Enemies before falling asleep).

On the Singapore to Sydney leg I overheard the woman sat next to me saying she lived near Auckland and I confess that my first thought was that I should befriend her on the off chance that she might offer me a place to stay for a night. I played it cool for the first 5 hours of flight because she had her headphones on and with only a couple of hours to go I started to worry that I might not get my opportunity to persuade this woman that she should start a B&B for me, but then a stroke of luck - she began vomiting with alarming frequency. Fantastic, I had my 'in' because I had to let her out every time she went to dispose of her sick bag and my 'it's no fuss, throw up as many times as you like' face is second to none.

When she turned a healthier shade of green, we got chatting and she was lovely. Her, her husband and several children (I think she mentioned at least 4) had moved to New Zealand from Kent. She had just spent a month with her sister becauase her neice was in Great Ormond Street with a brain... thing, can't remember what it was called but it was the size of a tennis ball and bad for you, if the girl had been older than 3 months then she's be dead but little ones have flexible skulls so hopefully she will recover fully.

Once we had landed Kathy (the friendly green woman) said I was welcome to stay with her family if I wanted (about bloody time) on their dairy farm 2 hours from Auckland and I may well take her up on her offer. I think I quite like travelling.

Memorable blushing moment 1: Looking for an up escalator or stairs back up to the toilets from the departure lounge at Sydney airport, failing to find one and generally walking forwards and backwards in an awkward drunken looking manner watched by a judgemental woman before conceding defeat and getting my phone out to avoid eye contact with judgemental woman.
Memorable blushing moment 2: About 2 minutes after blushing moment 1 I remembered I'd walked past a lift and lifts go up. Now I have a purpose judgemental woman. I strode in to the lift and the doors closed behind me, 'Floor B please' I thought as I pressed button B... nothing happened, I pressed it again and still nothing. Let's try C then... nothing. B & C together... nothing. Bugger. I resigned myself to holding my wee in and pressed A, the doors opened to reveal me to the judgemental lady who stared at me like one might stare at an individual who should not be allowed on a plane without being accompanied by their mental health practitioner. I got my phone out and walked past her with my head down.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


I'm here, I made it. Someone let my Mum know!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


I bought 2 pints of milk this morning and the milk lasts longer than my stay in England. Yay, it's so close I can almost smell the traveller's B.O. under my arm pits.

I'm enjoying how everyone at work says they're really pleased for me that I'm going then smiles through gritted teeth. I know that no-one wants to hear too much about any great experiences I have because you're not sharing them so I'll try to keep most of my posts about the morons and eccentric mentalers I'll inevitibly meet as well as any scary and crazy situations I get myself into.

Visited my Grandma last week and she said that if I was writing about my travels I should stick to facts about where I am and what I'm doing and not write about my thoughts about them because no-one will care what I think! Thanks Grandma.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Bus Pass Booked

I've booked my bus pass and got a bargain with a 60% discount - $349 which is less than £200. If you want to know the route I'm taking click on this. Also booked my first 3 nights accomodation in Christchurch costing £11 a night