Today I woke to an exceptionally beautiful morning overlooking Napier Bay with the sound of the surf on the shingle. Soon after the first glint of gold hit the horizon I received a text from my sister telling me to look at the news. It was all a bit surreal realising that the woman who has ALWAYS been Queen to me, is no longer.
The tributes still flow, and I’m enjoying listening and watching them from my cosy camper here in Wellington. I set off quite early because it was going to be a four hour drive with breaks getting down to the capital city. My brother left my company today on his own journey back north, and so I am truly on my own for now.
First stop was at a settlement originally founded by Norwegians in 1872 – a logging town. Hence its name: Norsewood. I stopped for a coffee and a most delicious savoury scone, which was more like a pizza it had so much topping on it. What a gem this township is: Off the beaten track and scattered but with a sense of history and uniqueness. Check out the few shots:
From Norsewood it was about an hour until the next stop: just beyond Dannevirke (another Nordic settlement) and much bigger in size, there is a sweet town called Greytown. This was my lunch stop – despite the pizza scone an hour ago.
I managed to pull in to a large space on the side of the street, and went in to what looked like a popular cafe. There I ordered an Asian salad and chai latte.
Although I was desperately happy for vegetables, I was disappointed. My prolific range of salads I am used to has somewhat spoiled me for the ones like this that are ‘fake’. I have a gripe about restaurants that serve coleslaw they don’t chop up finely themselves. This was made up out of the bags of thick cut slaw you can get at supermarkets, with the addition of some coriander, noodles, nuts and some kind of pancake underneath (?). Oh well. No dressing to speak of. I came out and found the main street very much more to my taste, being a selection of quaint old shops all selling fairly expensive designer items. They must be used to a thriving tourist trade. Found a delightful sewing shop which had a lot of fabric for sale, and purchased a small section for my sister.
A short drive from Greytown, another quaint delight of a village: Featherstone. This one has a number of bookshops, but I only browsed one, and purchased an old book to take on my journey with me. Selections from the prose works of J.M. Barrie.
Now we come to the exciting bit. By traveling this route, I had chosen to approach Wellington via the Hutt Valley, which itself is at the end of a winding and steep section of road traversing the Remutaka mountain range. I had to stop numerous times to let smaller vehicles dash past. Check out the screen shot of the road.
AT LAST, I was in the Hutt Valley and only 30 mins from my destination: the Top 10 Holiday Park, where I would hole up for the night in preparation for boarding the car ferry to the South Island tomorrow. However, I had yet to negotiate the school rush hour traffic, which was pretty bad, and roadworks, which were worse, before I finally pulled in to my spot. With great relief. I am not moving until early tomorrow morning when I will take to the sea.
And now that I am back on power, I can watch live stream footage of the mourning of the Queen. I’ve eaten my soup and had my toast, and am now breaking from the broadcast to keep you all informed.