Well, Tim said I needed to contribute in some way to this blog of our trip but I think he’s been doing a great job without my input. But he asked nicely, so here goes.
Picture in your mind the most beautiful setting you can imagine. Start with a lush meadow and rolling thick tufted hills. Sprinkle it with white wooly sheep and fluffy little lambs. Behind it, raise up majestic mountains and cover them with green grass or bright golden flowers right up to the peaks that are iced with snow and haloed with fluffy clouds. Paint a vivid blue sky behind them. Maybe trickle in a crystal stream that bubbles and bounces all the way from the mountain tops, over the green hills and down the meadow to a pebble beach that meets a clear turquoise blue ocean, frothy with waves and bouncing seals diving for fish. Can you see it in your mind? I’m telling you that no matter how creative you are and how vivid your imagination, you will fall short of the reality that is the south island of New Zealand. It is that beautiful. It really is. It really is as amazing as it looked in “The Lord of the Rings” but because that movie is fantasy, it is easy to imagine that the sets were the product of a matte artist’s hand or an image generated by a computer. It’s not. It’s real. This is the best kept secret of the whole world. Tim and I have had cramps in our cheeks from Oooohing and Aaahing and smiling at how gorgeous it all is. And just when we relax and start to accept the beauty of it, a baby lamb will bounce across a field to its mother or we’ll pass a country clapboard house with a porch fringed in purple wisteria blossoms and our cheeks will ache again. It’s wonderful. You can look at our pictures but unless they make you cry, they don’t even come close.
And for a guy who has only ever ridden, driven or lived in a right-hand-side of the street country, Tim is doing an amazing job of navigating the left-hand driving of New Zealand. He can enter and exit parking lots and even U-turn mid-street and he does it like a native. I get to just sit back and take in the scenery.