Author: lily

Greymouth to Franz Joseph Glacier to Wanaka

Christchurch to Greymouth was one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever been on. We stayed at the Gables self contained apartment. We cooked Chilli Con Carne. Greymouth is a lot bigger than I remembered from our trip 20 years ago. In the morning we drove 40km north to Pancake rocks and were surprised by the number of tourists there. There are heaps of rocks shaped like a stack of thin pancakes. Then we headed south to Hokitika to have look at the gorge. The water in the gorge was a bright aqua color and the lush greenery was spectacular. We stayed in Franz Joseph Glacier town in a self contained unit the next night .The weather turned nasty getting cold with slanted rain but fortunately cleared by the morning. We next headed to the Franz Joseph Glacier in the morning and there was a 1 hour return trip to where we could see the glacier from . A glacier is a frozen river that moves slowly and melts slowly . We next headed to the Fox glacier which was also spectacular. We drove 260 km from Franz Josef glacier to Wanaka and it took a while cause the road is winding and there are a lot of single lane bridges over wide rivers. It was also a spectacular drive with the Alps visible in front of us and to either side a lot of the time and huge mountains covered in rainforest. There were farms of deer; beef ;cattle; sheep and dairy farms in the flat areas. We didn’t see much sea ; mainly rainforest. We were so fascinated by the incredibly beautiful scenery. Wanaka is stunning too. We are staying 3 nights here in a 2 bedroom apartment. We can see snow covered mountains from our lounge. We are going to have a big explore in the next couple days. Rick is taking the 7 hour bus back to Christchurch tomorrow!

Munich

We started the day in Wien with a run before a huge breakfast at the hotel we stayed in.We arrived in Munich after a 4 hour train trip from Wien. It was a scenic ride with lots of fields, mountain ranges, tunnels and pretty villages. In Munich we stayed a couple streets from the railway station at the ‘Arthotel’ which had art on all the room doors and sculptures in the passageways and reception areas. After checking in we walked first past the railway station. There was screaming sirens and the sudden arrival of multiple police vans with a squad of 50 plus in  tactical uniform.  Seems someone had abandoned their bag ! Part of the station was evacuated and 9 trains delayed . We continued on to the Munich tourist traps . First to Marienplatz where there is the usual but in amongst Bavarian buildings and multiple shops . Further on vistited the Hofgarten and the Englischer Garten including watching the surfers on the standing wave. (One of pics below gives a new definition of ‘the line up’. In the morning Emirates rang to say , as they were overbooked on our flight they   could upgrade us to business class to Dubai on a flight   6 hours later with a shorter transit in Dubai.  This  suited me(Lily)  fine as  I hadn’t really done any shopping. and they were having 40% end of summer sales in lots of shops! We walked around the town for about 5 hours before I did any shopping and stopped in a couple cafes for drinks. Here you can buy beer anywhere in cafe’s and people walk around the city’s streets drinking beer from bottles! It was low 30’s oC so thirsty weather but I stuck with coffee today! We walked past the enormous Oktoberfest grounds that were being built in a very large green area. We went up the Bavaria statue – a mini statue of liberty.  After shopping we reversed our route from the previous day.

We took the train to the airport and they wouldn’t let us in the business lounge cause we only upgraded not paying which we were disappointed with because we had big plans of having luxurious showers etc!

Wien

We traveled by train from Prague to Wien (Vienna) which is very confusing with all the different spelling of towns. Their railway stations are like our airports! We’ve had reserved seats all along as you would on a fight and it only cost a few Euros extra but every train trip there has been incidents where one person who had a reservation has to ask another to vacate their seat as they have it booked! We are staying in a new hotel called Schani near Wien railway station and it’s small but comfortable. It was about 20oC today so we decided to walk to the Danube which was about 15km the convoluted trip we took around the Keiser Wasser! On the way back we took  a Danube 3 hour boat trip which was interesting as it went through the Little Danube Canal and a couple of locks and past a wier! I started off with a water then a cuppa tea then orderd a white wine then another wine . Anyway I ended up drinking  half a bottle of wine and was unsteady on my feet but we then had to walk about 7 km back to our room so some of it was used to fuel the walk! Rick fortunately can still navigate after a few beers. Vienna is very stately with lots of monuments to past wars and again Baroque architecture! On the way to the Danube we went past the Belvedere Palace and gardens and through the Botanical Gardens. There were a lot of River Cruise Boasts moored along the Danube that we see on advertisements on TV. We’ve eaten in an Austrian  restaurant twice and most things are crumbed and you get a lot of potatoes!

Copenhagen

We arrived in Copenhagen after a one hour flight from Bergen on Nowergeian Airlines which has a lots of leg room probably become of all the tall Norwegian people! We took the train to the Christianshava area where we are in a air bnb which consists of a mattress on the floor and shared bathroom. But on the up side it’s a more real experience than the posh Grand Terminus Hotel and the buffet breakfasts ! Mike who lives in the room met us and gave us the tip to go for dinner to the food court on one of the canals which we did and had Korean for dinner. We took a canal tour around Copenhagen to try to understand some of the geography of the place but I found it very confusing. Lots of man made canals and islands and many bridges! The next day we both went for a run at about 6am as we have no curtains and sunrise is at 5am so we were awake. Rick had an appointment at 10am at the Australian Embassy ‘re his lost passport which was an hours walking from our room! The thing I’m gonna remember about Copenhagen is the bikes. With all our walking about the place we’ve seen thousands of bikes. It all seems to work. Bikes have a separate path to cars and pedestrians are on another path. Incredible! In Australia we just don’t seem to be able to work that out. The bikes people ride are just ordinary cheap bikes. On the way back from the embassy we walked through the Kastellet and saw a lot of the tourist attractions we saw from the Canal tour like The Little Mermaid Statute which was surrounded by many tourists with cameras, the Royal palace area. We had lunch at Nyhavn Canal where there are lots of alfresco areas to eat. We ate in Danish place and they are really into open sandwich style with lots of mayonnaise, fish, and cheese! We’ve been into pastry bakeries twice and I think the secret is extra butter but tasted great. After lunch first we walked through the free land of Christiania , where cannabis is sold out in the open and then went to the opera house to see if anything was showing then we climbed to the top of Our Saviour’s Church which goes up 400 steps ,which was rather crowded but worth it for the views of all the canals and the very impressive  buildings which could be hundreds of years old from the top of the spiral staircase. We then  went into Christiansborg Palace which is not occupied by Royalty at present but is incredibly grand! the City Gardens and then back to Nyhavn for dinner; we both had fish and beer. There was still daylight so I thought we should go for walk to the Botanical gardens but they were closed at five so we’ll come back tomorrow when we go pick up Ricks passport at 3pm. On the way back we visited the national gallery and following that walked through the Botanical gardens .We had a nice dinner again at a little cafe round the corner in Christanshavn ! We booked our train ticket to Berlin at the station which took a bit of doing with a huge line of people waiting.