6.30pm Top 10 holiday park Picton
Cycling is a pain in the bum! That’s my conclusion after a trial run today. I hired a mountain bike for the day from Marlborough Sounds Adventure Co here in Picton (60 bucks) and headed for the hills. The saddle slowly but surely shrank and hardened until it became an axe head. well that’s what it felt like. My poor bum is going to suffer! Replace feet blisters with pelvic bruising for my next quest. Add some severe chaffing. And the worrying thing is I was only on the axe head for about 2 hours!
The weather and the scenery were simply stunning. It’s the turquoise/azure sea with the steep greens hills that does it for the Marlborough Sounds every time. Add the sunshine, an island or two and a slowly cruising white ferry or yacht and its a perfect combination.
Went up the mountain bike trail to Waikawa Bay and then on the road to Karaka Point. Stopped for a break there when I met Chas in his motor home. Chas is a very young looking 68 year old kiwi who has been living in Queensland. He was really interested in what I was doing and wanted to help however he could. He’d love to be doing what I am doing and looked fit enough too, his problem was his knee probably needs an operation on it. We had a really good chat, exchanged phone numbers and photos. Chas has family in NZ and is looking round the top of the South Island to buy a place he can come back to when it gets too hot in Aussie. Convinced him to invest in some trekking poles to help his knees.
Talking of knees, my problem right knee isn’t quite “right” and i felt it getting hot and sore up some of the steeper mountain track bits, it was okay on the roads which were mostly flat.
Id taken a pair of socks to wear if my feet got sore but ended up stuffing them down my shorts for padding instead. Mainly because my arse felt liked a caned public schoolboys I got off and walked the track to “the snout” which is a peninsula jutting out into the Bay. It took a couple of hours to walk there and back but I met Camilla, a Danish student, at the end and we walked back together (luckily I wasn’t wearing my socks in my shorts at this point as this could have been hard to explain without my bike!). She was a nice girl who had grown up a lot while here in NZ once she had left the friend she had travelled over with. This had made her overcome her natural shyness and tendency to let her friend lead on everything. She was a bit older than Amie but doing a similar gap year, she’d done some woofing and was currently working the late shift at a Picton backpackers. She is going to take a degree in physiotherapy back in Denmark where apparently the government ( I.e. taxpayers) pay students to study! We laughed about what I knew about Denmark (capital Copenhagen, big island is Jutland, Vikings, not bad football team, danish bacon and Danish blue cheese was about it!). Mind you when we talked she said there wasn’t that much more to it (no mountains, invented the windmill before the Dutch, has 5 million people, free health service). She loved NZ but was ready to go home at the end of April.
Gingerly got back on the axe head which I’m sure someone had sharpened while I was walking and winced my way down the trail back to town. I had planned to then cycle to Anikiwa (about a 3 hour round trip) but talked myself out of it and had a coffee and session on the internet back at the bike hire place.
Picton is pretty full of Germans, sure there are other nationalities, there’s a sereotypical loud slow speaking yank playing bridge in the lounge as I write, quite a few Aussies, there’s a few French, a few scadanavians but main tourist numbers are German. Nothing wrong with that of course. The Only POM’s I’ve met here were a couple from near Weston Super Mare. They had come over for 7 weeks and were loving it. The lady had had the time of her whole life swimming with up to 200 dolphins off Kaikoura and also was blown away with their overnight stay on board a boat in Doubtful sound. You could see the joy in her eyes as she recounted her experience, nearly got me going seeing how it had so moved her.
Decided to make my own tea, a bit cheaper and healthier.. Made a surprisingly nice aubergine curry with risotto rice. Enjoying a bottle of Pinot Noir afterwards in the warmth of the kitchen. There’s been some really strong gusts outside so better go and check if my tent is still there.
Lionel is coming to pick me up in Picton Tomorrow morning and we may do a walk or a kayak on way through to Nelson (not a cycle… Although I have bought a pair of padded cycle shorts this evening)