Friday, January 27, 2012

We'll Be Coming Round The Mountain ....

Today was supposed to start off with our first strenuous walk for 9 months - in fact since the last time we were in New Zealand. Since then I have been trying to get rid of a foot injury, and hope I have now done so.

The walk had to be cancelled because a couple of cold fronts swept up from the direction of Antarctica and severely lowered temperatures for 24 hours, not to mention being accompanied by heavy rain. As you will see from the accompanying pictures, the good weather seems to have returned (late afternoon) and we hope to be on the launching pad tomorrow morning.

We are in Akaroa, the first place we ever came to in New Zealand and one of Gay's favourite places on earth - a place which has been transformed in our absence because all the cruise ships which used to visit Lyttleton, the port for Christchurch, now come in to Akaroa. Lyttleton was severely destroyed by last year's earthquakes.

Akaroa was an attempt at a French colony in New Zealand. Unfortunately, the four ships of colonists arrived a few days after 6th February 1840, the date on which the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British representatives of Queen Victoria and the Maori chiefs, making New Zealand a British colony. The French decided to stay, which is why many of the streets and businesses in the town have French names. Akaroa has a population of a few hundred. The two cruise ships you see here have a population of over 4,000 passengers between them, which is why Akaroa is transformed. There are more people here than we have ever seen, except on national holidays, when the inhabitants of Christchurch tend to stream in this direction.

The third picture shows you where we shall be walking tomorrow. Up, behind, and down from that mountain. It takes about 3 hours and some of it is very, very steep. This will be a severe test of my foot, not to mention my fitness. The most I have walked in the past 9 months has been 6 kms, and on much flatter ground.

No comments: