The windy city! and there’s me thinking they just call it that because they want to relate to Chicago! None of it! It really is windy!
The trees shake to its rhythm, our cases are pushed along on their tiny wheels, swerving off course or heaving into the back of my legs. Yet everyone else seems to be going about their business: nothing unusual about this kind of wind apparently.
To add to this the rain had been clattering against our seventh floor window while we packed, but by checkout time this has stopped for a while. Good job I bought that raincoat!
So this is it! Back on the road. No, I feel I am cheating here. Although we have two nights in a motel, we are really heading for Aukland where some very kind friends, who we met on holiday in
Egypt nine years ago, have agreed to put us up and show us round.
So we battle the six blocks to the car hire company, pick up the brightest blue car you’ve ever seen and a wedge of maps that would fill a carrier bag, and find highway 1.
That’s it really: follow highway one!
Along the way the road follows the West coast for a short while and we stop to watch the angry swell and the large waves crash up against the flood barrier.
We don’t stop for much else. It is 320 km and takes over 4 hours to get to Turangi.
The motel is very convenient for the supermarket and is reasonably equipped but on entry it is a huge shock for two reasons.
1.the main door is a large patio sliding door and
2. On entry thee is a largish room, uncomfortably full of two single beds, a table with chairs, two armchairs, a couple of bedside tables and a cathode ray television (I’d forgotten how big these are, having seen so many flat screen) at the back of the room is a kitchen.
On first sight I thought this was it. But we also have a double bedroom and bathroom. It’s ok.
It’s a good place to go on a walk alongside the Tongariro river.
The plant life is familiar with bracken, brambles, pittosporum, clover, silver birch trees, ragwort and birds that seem to be chaffinch, blackbirds, zand green finches.
The birdsong is melodious and refined, in comparison to The Australian birds and again it reminds me of England.
The earth is an unusual fine black, peat maybe or volcanic ash? And there is yellow, maybe sandstone?
Our backdrop is mountainous but it’s hard to make out the skyline because of all the low cloud. We cross a suspension bridge which is really wobbly, swinging and bouncing as we go. On the far side pine trees with massive cones have been felled and the branches litter each side of the path.
The route veers away from the river and begins to rise, twisting in z bends to the top of a cliff. From there, Lake Taupo seems like a sea, it’s massive. Then we walk back to the motel.
And why have I described this is such detail? Because I have not brought a camera on this walk!