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Big World; Small Adventures
12th Mar 2006 - 13th Mar 2006
Arty Farty Napier

After a slightly sad farewell to Pam and Johnnie the following day, I was back in my car with Tom and heading for the Art Deco capital of the world - Napier. THis place was flattened in 1931 by a devastating earthquake but luckily for architectural history it was therefore rebuilt almost entirely inthe 1930's Art Deco style. It rained most of the way there but once we arrived it cleared and we found ourselves a bar to settle into. Having spent so much time relaxing I now felt ready to party a little but that was to prove a little more difficult than we thought since despite there being so many bars, they were all empty. The whole place appeared to be strangely like a ghost town. Both Tom and I also seemed to lose all sense of direction and memory at this point and spent half the night trying to find the car, bar, backpackers etc. We did eventually settle down for some drinks and exchange travel stories over Guiness and red wine in an Irish Bar that seemed to have the most action.

For accommodation we contemplated staying in the local prison that had recently been transformed into a backpackers but after a quick tour of the cells, wardens offices and fitness area we decided the novelty of staying in a cell would probably wear off pretty quickly and since prisons aren't exactly designed with space, comfort and sound proofing in mind we decided against it. Instead we found an Art Deco backpackers.

Being in the middle of Hawkes Bay, NZ's largest wine growing area, the following morning we booked ourselves on a tour of the Church Road winery to see how they made the stuff. A lovely chap gave us a tour of the facilities,, cellars and told us about the process used to turn grapes into wine and we then got to taste a selection of the results. V nice :o) We had to stay for lunch of course because by that point neither of us would have been capable of driving back and we were v pleased we did for the food was wonderful - proper posh nosh. And of course we had to each buy a momento from the day so I bought a lovely little dessert wine and Tom bought the aptly named 'Tom' bordeau wine - hey Tom check this out, it has it's own web page It's a special bordeaux wine made to honour the pioneer NZ red wine maker and founder of the Church Rd Winery - Tom McDonald. Only 9720 bottles of the 1998 were made and I won't tell you how much it cost but for a long-term traveller like Tom he could probabvly have lived off that for months! But it was his namesake and his birthday was on Fri (St Patrick's Day) so he had an excuse, sort of.

Back in Napier we took the do-it-yourself walking tour of all the art deco buildings and were suitably impressed by the style and character of the place. We saw loads of great examples of art deco architecture, inside and out, and it felt a little like walking around a film set. It was actually a really pretty and nice town to see and a worthwhile stop. The weather was very good also and we now had high hopes for the event that was looming ever closer - the Tongariro Crossing.

Right, sorry I now have to go and catch my flight. More later. C Y'all!

Next: The Big Day - to hell and back!
Previous: Journey down South

Diary Photos

Almost stayed here

Art Deco Interior

More cool Art Deco architecture

Cool Art Deco Architecture

Napier Cathedral

Napier Cathedral Window

Art Deco interior

Our cool lodgings in Napier

Art Deco building

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