Last week our Alaska friends Mark and Maria paid us a visit. Here we are, group giggles! We spent the week showing them some of our favorite spots in Canterbury. Weather cooperated perfectly, so we really got see a lot.
First day we walked out to Godley Head where the old WWII bunkers still remain. This narrow view would have been the window through which recruits spent dreary hours anxiously scanning the approach to the Lyttleton harbor. It was a glorious day to be out walking, but I imagine that in blowing spitting rain these camouflaged hidey holes weren’t so pleasant.
Surveying the world.
Milo checks out the barren bunker interior, with the Banks Peninsula beyond.
Mark spent a bit of time soaking up the relaxed and friendly atmosphere in NZ. I think he’s saying saying “Wowzers, l LIKE this.”
Another day we headed up to Arthur’s Pass. These purple flowers seemed to be around the edge of a dried lake, a beautiful mountain valley accessible and irresistible to us tourists!
Castle Hill. Any why not yell?
Here’s Milo in his King Seat.
Just up the road from Castle Hill is a bit of the same limestone rock, this time carved into a cave by the resident stream. Here’s the caving crew–the boys. Us women took the kids and sat sedately by the entrance stream, doling out strawberries and scooping kids out of the water.
We figured out that Mark and Jeremiah have the same personality type. Perhaps that is why crawling through a dark, cold, wet cave sounded so appealing to them. Mark loved it.
Jeremiah loved it too, but he was also glad to emerge into the sun and thaw out his fingers.
Further up in the pass we stopped to putter along a nature trail, admiring the flora.
Yet another day we headed out to Akaroa, stopping at Birdlings Flat on the way.
The waves were surprisingly tame for this beach, but every so often one would still creep up to catch our feet.
One afternoon we took a ride up to Pegasus Bay Winery. Wine is nice and all, but the REAL reason for the trip was to feed their pet eels. If you bring along your kids, you can get fish scraps from the restaurant kitchen. Then you meander down the manicured garden lawn to the edge of a shady pond bisected by a picturesque Japanese-style bridge. You pause by the edge of the water, then the EELS start to appear. In DROVES. Silent, slimy, black, bold…the ultimate creepy creature. I was holding Naomi and had to take care that an eel didn’t sample her toe. Not surprisingly (in retrospect), Molly was the only one truly interested in the eels. Dear Reader, if you ever make it down to NZ, I’ll make sure and take you there….oh, and we’ll bring along the kids too.
Not sure what Naomi was demanding here, up in the garden safely out of reach from the eels, but her expression is so characteristic of her go-get-it personality.
Mark and Maria have moved on to tour some more of NZ by train before their return to Alaska. Here’s wishing you safe travels, delightful interactions with people, and food as delicious as a pb&j picnic lunch!