Monday, July 13, 2009

Hanmer Springs, New Zealand

What a wonderful three days we’ve spent in this alpine paradise: the youngest and her best friend riding every day (and dragging me along for one of them). Riding Arabs no less and cantering and galloping are a horse rider’s dream. We met Haggis, the Scottish Highland Bull – all shaggy and horned and heavy with drippy nose and attitude. Not sure if his type was around in the 11th Century. Will have to check that out because he deserves a story. There was a Willow the horse as well but she was much better tempered than our dear Banquo’s steed. As I rode through the hills, the weather came in and it was interesting that a Scottish couple were with us. The man declared the weather was ‘jast loike hoom.’

The eldest and our French exchange student just chillaxing (gotta love that word) and enjoying NZ fudge. 'Ve doo not haf thees on France' says our dear Ninon. Shot! (I've always detested Belgum chocolate anyway!). She tells us she's going to do a NZ bungi. I say: as your mother, I would say no! She says, my mother would say: ef I vas en yer place I vould.' What's a host mother to do but say yes. As well, I tell her: you are MAD but hey, Bungi is a New Zealand thing so she must!

It’s been cold here in Hanmer Springs which is not surprising considering it’s the middle of winter. There is snow on the hills and around the grounds but thankfully we’ve enjoyed the hot springs.

Going on holiday is made or marred by the place you stay and the quality of your sleep. In Christchurch, we stayed at a lovely motel which, unfortunately, was on the corner of a major intersection and Christchurch has a problem with ‘boy racers’. I had to use ear plugs it was so bad. I hate ear plugs.

But, here in Hanmer, we got to stay at the lovely Bella Vista Hanmer Springs Why this place was great: the proprietors are great people (and they .have the most gorgeous chocolate lab pup); they do extra stuff like fold our washing (the teens were a bit embarrassed by this but I was thankful). Great showers (omg so powerful) and great place. Highly recommended for stressed travellers and families and writers trying to write another 5,000 words!

I have been delighting in Alison Wong’s As the Earth Turns Silver. Love it. Love it and grieve. In Year 9 Social Studies, students learn about ‘Tau Iwi’ – Later Immigrants. They learn about why people came to NZ but also about our appalling treatment of the Chinese. Alison's book is a great book. Buy it. I shall be recommending it to high schools because it’s up there with The Handmaids Tale.

Greymouth and Denniston is next on the itinerary (I love Jenny Pattrick’s The Denniston Rose).

Back soon.


zipperty-doo-dah said...

You've got me all excited, I'm going to Hamner Springs at the end of the month with my Mum and my siblings. I've been battling with winter ills but having read your blog it's put me in the mood for a weekend there!
Hope the rest of the trip is restful and productive! That sounds like an oxymoron....
Belynda x

zipperty-doo-dah said...

I do know how to spell Hanmer, despite the previous comment, I must have gone into automatic pilot as I was typing!