Wednesday, 10 December 2008

From Alexandra to Queenstown

The road from Alexandra runs alongside the river Clyde - this one a beautiful deep turquoise with a dramatic dam where I stopped for some photo's. There were lots of vineyards all along the route to Queenstown and whilst I stopped and admired I tasted not a drop - had the distinct feeling that if I'd started I'd still be there now!

Which reminds me - I was offered a job picking grapes at Gladstones in the Wairarapa. That's where Michael and I had lunch and a bottle of "12,000 miles Sauvingnon Blanc" - named for the distance that the producers travelled from Scotland to make it.

The terrain was getting more rugged now - Glencoe rather than Campsie Fells - but very beautiful and very easy to drive - there's a lot to be said for glacial valleys. For the last stage of the journey to Queenstown the road ran parallel to Lake Wakatipu - fantastic. I was travel weary by the time I got to Queenstown but it was worth it. The town sits on a bay in the lake and is framed by hills and mountains. The breeze was picking up but it was still hot and I wanted to make the most of the rest of the day - it was about 6. There's a hotel overlooking the lake and I got myself a discount for a lake view room (and a recommendation to go elsewhere for a better value/quality breakfast which is why I haven't named it but UNISON folk will be familiar with the one across the road from the London office).

Queenstown is commercial in that there are a lot of shops, restaurants and tour offices but I enjoyed wandering around and some of the shops were wonderful - wonderful prices too! I nearly bought a hat trimmed with shocking pink possum fur - I think it might even have suited me but I'm so used to looking ridiculous in hats that I doubted my own judgement! Anyway it would definitely have clashed with the lilac and lime shoes!!

By the time I'd completed my walk round the bay and trawl of the shops I had gathered 2 recommendations for the same restaurant and an appetite. So I took myself of to Wai (Maori for water) for dinner. It was a great meal. As one of the staff said to me - "we charge you an arm and a leg but we do it with quality and a smile". I think that was the scouser but it could have been the lad from Ayr and it was quite true.

The combination of a hot days driving, good food and good wine meant that my plan to update the blog after dinner came to nothing - I slept instead. And woke up to an all too typical Scottish summer morning. It was raining and the mist was rolling down the hills.

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