Collected Rory + hit the road again. A pleasant drive south, the most notable part being 2 journeys across single-lane bridges. Not that there is anything notable in that, New Zealand has hundreds of the things. Only these 2 were shared with the railways! So not only did one have to cope with driving across a bridge barely wider than the car, but the railway tracks would keep bucking the car, plus there was the nagging feeling that a train might appear at the other end. Ah well.
Arrived at Franz Josef at a good hour, checked out the Visitor Centre, + decided to take the walk to the glacier face. It was a long walk, far longer than we’d anticipated, up a steep track (thus proving once again, if further proof were necessary, our lack of fitness.) And it was disappointing really. We’ve seen a few glaciers, + have come to the conclusion that they’re more splendid in the imagination than in the flesh… or ice. They may be different in the winger, or the Antarctic, or from on top of one, but from the usual tourist perspective, they’re dull + dirty. Still, it’s another item to tick off the list.
One of the most popular catch-phrases out here at the moment seems to be “Been there, done that”, + that sums up accurately the trap one falls into, collecting places. We dropped Rory off at the Youth Hostel once again, then pitched tent at the nearest camp-site. Chatted over dinner with a Canadian called Ivan, then went to the pub with him. Have heard a lot about West Coast pubs – lots of character, never shutting, etc – but unfortunately the pub at Franz Josef is a THC, attached to a hotel, cheap, plastic, + grotty, +, as we discovered shortly thereafter, shuts promptly at 10. Val left a little early, but Rory + a couple of other guys turned up, so we chatted pleasantly, before a beautiful walk home – a bright + cold starry night.
Taking advantage of having charge of a car to do some more sight-seeing, without having to rely on the generosity of other drivers. And another travelling companion, albeit relatively short-lived. The photo of Rory was in our album, unlabelled, so I am glad to be able to put a face to the name. Or at any rate, I certainly hope so. After all this time, there are various people who have disappeared entirely from our memory.
Andy is, I believe, reading this section of the blog – at least, I alerted him to its existence, and he replied. I hope it brings back happy memories. I had hoped to do the same for Rob (Canadian apple-picking), and Dave (Polynesian Samaritan) but for neither of those do I have a current address.