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    Saturday, December 01, 2007

    Akaroa A Taste of Old France in New Zealand

    .Now enroute to Akaroa and through some of the most beautiful countryside you will even see.
    Our trusty Lonely Planet suggested that a stop for breakfast at Emma’s in Oamaru.
    But Oamaru is a slow town to start up. At 7.50 most places were closed.
    Disappointed but still hungry we spotted a bakery a few doors down.
    You must go there
    74 Thames Street

    I had a sensational bacon and egg roll
    Dale had a freshly made vego sandwich Beetroot, egg on
    Molenberg Bread
    Food to go!

    Awamoku your next property?

    More Churches
    Dams A lot of these small towns have wonderful signs

    Now here is an interesting town. Built in 1968 purely to house the power plant construction workers.
    Much vilified – rows of little boxes just like these…all planned to be pulled down at the end of the project. But the residents objected and they pulled together and the town lives on and seems to be a thriving community. They are rebuilding he town square
    We have found on this road trip that unlike New York City you can get excellent coffee anywhere in New Zealand for example we had excellent coffee at Shawtys in Twizel… highly recommended for travelers.
    As we drove through this amazing Mackenzie country the old Who song came to mind “You can see for Miles and Miles” and you can. It is awe inspiring
    Classic mountain ranges, salmon farms, and the bluest lakes you could ever see.
    I love these mad watering systems they look like aliens Can you imagine what these mountains look like when there really is snow on them? And the jewel in the South Island Crown - Aoraki Mt Cook. The highest mountain in Australasia Have you ever seen anything so gorgeous

    The Church of the Good Shepherd to the left and to the right a monument of a Sheep Dog which is in memory of the hardy mustering dogs “without the help of which the grazing of this mountainous country would be impossible.”
    It was swarming with tourists but I managed to get a quick shot without them and then fled the convoy of buses.

    So as Shakespeare didn’t say. “Lead on MacDuff”

    Fairlie “The Gateway to the Mackenzie Country” for lunch. We are now exiting Mackenzie Country through Fairlie
    But once again prompted by the Lonely Planet we ate at The Old Library Café

    Whitebait Yea!!!
    A stack
    Potato pancake,
    a bulging whitebait fritter,
    cold smoked salmon and all topped with another potato pancake
    With a citron vinaigrette
    An outstanding lunch $30 each but well worth it
    Just in case you didn’t know Fairlie is situated?

    After Geraldine take highway 72 and through Ashburton Forks – Rakaia - onto beautiful Akaroa.

    This is all a lot to take in - in one day probably in one reading as well!!!

    This the view from the Hilltop Café who promised Great coffee and did deliver.
    So down the hill and into this charming little town

    A French whaling Captain Jean Langlois negotiated the purchase of this area and “raced” back to France but while he was away gathering settlers, the old British panicked and sent their own warship and claimed the area under the Treaty of Waitangi…so when the French…returned bad luck...they missed out. But they did settle anyway, thank God as they developed the place with French Style. Which accounts for Akaroa being the charming little village that greeted us. And as it turned out all the settlers got on famously.
    Now to digress just a little…Graham Heinz is descended from Jean Langlois. Jean’s daughter Lucretia married Heinzie’s Great Great Grandad Isaac Cooksley. So that was exciting news. What a pedigree
    But back to the town on the advice from John Wallace we hunted down L’Hotel

    Situated on the corner of Beach and Church Rds a perfect place to stay
    Then deal was good $170 per night and that included dinner. A starter and a main course each. The menu was inviting and so was Gordon the Host, so we stayed
    Good view

    Had a little Nana nap it had been a long journey
    Bottle of No 8 and a game of Scrabble

    Down to dinner
    We ordered our food but it seemed they forgot about us, we polished off a bottle of wine and still hadn’t been fed. But we met nice people Linda and Neil from the North Shore.

    The food finally arrived. I took photos too late so I won’t show you…there is nothing less appetizing than half eaten whole flounder…but it shaped up fairly well
    Anyhow we were becoming pretty cheerful as the wine flowed
    The music was from part of our era and we were all starting to sing along.
    Then the discovery of the year.
    The song which probably will become our anthem in a decade or so.

    Cole Porter’s Where or When

    It seems we stood and talked like this before
    We looked at each other in the same way then
    But I can't remember where or when
    The clothes you're wearing are the clothes you wore
    The smile you are smiling you were smiling then
    But I can't remember where or when

    Some things that happen for the first time
    Seem to be happening again
    And so it seems that we have met before
    And laughed before
    and loved before

    But who knows where or when

    Perfect don’t know why we hadn’t thought of the significance before.
    Hope it doesn’t come back to bite me on the bum in the future!!!

    If it does I won't remember
    It was time for bed.
    We woke up to this lovely sight

    Off for a wander and breakfast
    Dale has now embraced this eating with drinking culture of mine. It will show eventually as it already has on me. But he can worry about that later.

    Bully Hayes and excellent choice for breakfast.
    We walked the breakfast off
    Everywhere you go it’s a photo opportunity
    Looking back into town

    Some images of beautiful Akaroa

    The Maori

    The French

    The Freemasons Lodge

    And more of these superb colonial buildings

    I did manage to get pictures of our dinner the second night
    Starter we shared Bruschetta

    I had an excellent steak and mushrooms
    And Dale had Parmesan encrusted fish
    We were so full and had to walk it off
    The pier is lovely

    So goodbye Akaroa and off early in the morning for Kaikoura and final South Island destination Blenheim.

    I would award this establishment
    Divine view, good bed, Shower so so, couldn’t close the door is you wanted to keep your hair dry but made up for that with proximity to restaurants and good food.


    Neal & Linda said...

    Hi Gillian & Dale
    We had a great evening with you at Akaroa and thoroughly enjoyed your company. We are enjoying browsing through your blog Gillian, which is very amusing and informative. Love the recipes as well.
    Take care with the rest of your journey and look forward to hearing from you some time.
    Neal & Linda

    So Simple said...

    Hi Neal and Linda

    I have just picked up your comment
    If you look back at this please send me your email address.
    Maybe we can catch up next year.