Tour de Canterbury

We again slept well! Yeah! I know that it makes me sound like an old person having to recount the excitement of sleeping well, but it is a good thing…..and yes I am old. Damn, how did that happen?

The house has a myriad of coffee making devices. The espresso machine looked complicated and after poring over the 523 page instruction manual, Susanne opted for the French press. I did the same for the first cup. But with a dose of caffeine on board, I decided to tackle to the NASA designed espresso machine. It was not easy, but I did manage to get out a pretty nice latte without a single 4-letter word passing over my lips. Yeah!

For PhDs in Engineering Only!

We were scheduled to do a bike ride on Friday, but after checking the weather and re-evaluating Susanne’s excitement about riding in the rain, I called up the bike rental dudes to see if we could reschedule for today. I talked to Helen at the shop and she said she would call me back in a half hour. I enjoyed my coffee while waiting. She called me back and said it was a go. Super!

I really enjoying traveling to other countries. It is always a great way to expand your view of the world and see some of the subtle differences between cultures. Now granted, New Zealand is about as benign a place to travel and you can come up with, but there are still weird things that stand out and make you wonder. For example, the implements used to wash dishes. In the US, we tend to use sponges — here they use these weird brush thingies.



What I don’t understand about these things is how you actually use them to clean the dishes. Yes, I get it — it’s a brush. But how do you get the soap on it? And the bristles are so coarse how do you actually wipe all the surfaces you are trying to clean? Baffling that this would be perceived as the optimal device for cleaning. The Aussies are equally weird. Probably why I love both countries.


We headed over to the bike shop and got set up for our ride. It was going to be 27 km portion of the A2O (Alps to Ocean) trail that runs from Mt. Cook to Oamaru about 182 km. It is mostly easy single track. Some day I want to come and ride the whole thing.

Ivan, our driver, dropped us off at the top of a hill that has the Mt. Cook Salmon Farm and a good view. We chatted, waved goodbye and headed out. It felt great to be back on a bike as it has been almost 8 months since I was able to ride. Now the should and knee are doing well and I was excited to be back in the saddle.

twizel bike day
Susanne rippin’ it down from the fish farm

The views are and were amazing. It was a bit brisk and super windy, but it in our favor. We cruised along, at first along the road and then onto the single track. It was a very pleasant ride and the color of the lake was really popping.

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Wowzaa! Love that color

The clouds were moving in and Mt. Cook got hidden. So glad we did the hike yesterday! After the lake the trail dropped into some grasslands and some peaceful views. I was having a great time and Susanne was doing great. Nothing like a 40 knot tailwind to make you feel like you are ready for the Tour.

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twizel bike day-8
8 long months of rehab. One happy camper to be back on the bike!
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So cool they build these trails. I love this country

After about an hour and half we made our way back to Twizel. The wind was just absolutely howling, so we were glad that it was at our back. We dropped the bikes off and headed back to house to clean up and chill for a bit. We decided we would go try the highest rated restaurant in Twizel for lunch –Poppie’s Cafe. This is obviously not a title that is easily won as there are at least 6 restaurants in this town.

Lunch was pretty good. I will say the Aussies have better french fries than Kiwis. What I do love is the focus on organic and healthy food here. It really is nice. After lunch we went to the store to get some food for dinner supplies and then down to the salmon farm to get the main course. They have King Salmon and it is cheap. It was about $9 US per pound. Wow. Let’s hope it is good.

The day before we had seen a lavender farm and ice cream shop on the way back from Mt. Cook. It was closed and we were bummed. So today, we headed back out there to check it out. Evidently it is the largest organic lavender farm in the Southern Hemisphere, or so says their promotional video online. I have no idea of winning that distinction is as difficult as winning the highest rated restaurant in Twizel is, but they made it sound good. Plus, they had ice cream.


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The lavender farm

Ok, the above picture is a sham. It is a picture of a picture they had. The lavender wasn’t really in bloom and they had harvested most of it already. But it could have looked like this.

We bought a few things and had some ice cream. I had blueberry-lavender and Susanne had berry-lavender. They were really good. I think mine was a bit better.

twizel bike day-10


So, now we will chill, have a nice dinner and watch the impending storm blow in. I do not think we are going to get our star gazing while we are here. Rats. Hopefully it won’t rain too much tomorrow.


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