10pm Hogwartz Dunedin
Poor Dunedin! It always seems to rain and be colder here. Its been one of those days when indoors is the most appealing option. As a result I have deferred my Otago rail trail until tomorrow. I know, I’m getting soft in my old age! It didn’t make a lot of sense to leave this afternoon as by the time train would have got in it would be 4.30pm and I’d only be able to get to Middlemarch before it got dark to pitch a tent in the wet. I can now get a train in the morning all the way to Middlemarch and be there by midday (why they don’t go all the way to Middlemarch every trip I do not know). It also gave me time to look round the city a bit more and I dodged showers at the Botanical gardens which were impressive ( the gardens not the showers although they were impressive too) despite it probably not being the best time to visit. Some huge specimen trees there, in expansive hilly grounds and lots of featured vegetative areas from around the world ( they even give out free duck food so that seagulls don’t invade after the usual bread)
I was most disappointed not to see a single scarf on any one, never mind a uni student in the city of scarfies! It was cold enough for sure and beanies were a regular adornment so what is going on!
The uni looked in full swing, students, lecturers, workmen etc all milling around on what I guess is the last day before the Easter break. The bars and some restaurants were full (others completely empty except for miserable looking staff).
I’d had a productive morning trying get in touch with people to help me then arrange my trip home. I spoke to Mark and we are looking to meet up around Twizel on the 23rd when they get back from a tramp, I spoke to Lionel and he is flexible about when I get to and from Nelson, and also to Mike and we will get to see each other on the Saturday morning before I fly out. Christine is unfortunately not around Welly on the 25th so its looking more like a flight from Nelson to Auckland on Friday 25th. Tickets are not cheap but there’s not that much in it if went on ferry then flew from Welly.
It seems a number of things are coming to an end as well as my big adventure. The summer in Otago and my lucky run of dry weather for one, and also David and my “father and son” partnership after 2 weeks on the road together (I use the term on the road “together” loosely).
My patriarchal job is done and I have passed all my wisdom and insightful advice to the boy. Didn’t take long.
1. You will come to rely on a daily flat white, just accept this
2. Try to get to the top of a hill before you take a rest (this metaphorically applies to life in general and not just cycling).
3. Never lose your desire to travel but don’t use it to put off bigger decisions about your future.
4. Always take a pee when you can but definitely not into the wind (this metaphorically applies to life in general too)
I have “tasked” David to read Rhudyard Kipling’s “IF” and to let me know when he fully understands it.
We said goodbye at the coach station as he now heads off for Christchurch. It is funny how I am concerned for him and his choices in a kind of parental way. He is facing some key decisions about his future which we talked through. He is looking to go back to US and undertake a college degree, maybe in sports education, but he is not certain and will need to work things through in his own way. I hope we can keep in touch.
We met Alyson again at the train station and got to know her a bit better. Alyson is one amazing lady. She is a neuro scientist who tragically lost her son when he was only 18 to a heart condition. She got through this and has put herself forward into some of the most hard areas in the world to try and make a difference. She has worked on HIV in Africa ( former Swaziland and Malawi), with “street workers” in Mongolia, most recently in Afghanistan. This shook her up a bit and she has been using the cycle ride in New Zealand to get herself straight before going back to states to lecture and plan her next trip to Chile! http://www.thelittlebikethatcould.com
So, on my ownsome again, and strange to be staying in same room here at Hogwartz, I did have a “chat” with the Canadian girl and German lad who are woofing here about all sorts of stuff, she was into Harry Potter so quite impressed with my in depth knowledge of the books and films especially seeing as I am an old git.
Other “random” notes
Finally found NZ sport Hall of Fame, it’s actually in the Railway station (upstairs), but we only had 20 minutes in there before it closed. I enjoyed looking round what was a very informative and well put together display but could have done with longer.
Library in Dunedin is great, stays open till 8pm and loads of PCs plus free WiFi
Dunedin made me feel like I was back in UK, maybe it was the weather, architecture and the shops