Busy Wednesday

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Seems like the closer it’s getting to the end of our vacation, the faster the time is going!

It’s Wednesday morning. My lovely wife is asleep next to me and my lovely daughter is totally happy snoozing away in her own bed in her own room just across the hall here at the Canyons Lodge.

Ava is great about that…rarely does she ever complain about the bed she sleeps in while we’re on the road. In fact, the most important factor to her is whether the next hotel room will have a bath or not! She’s not a fan of showers, and she loves splashing around in the tub for a long time. Fortunately for her, our lodge room has a massive bathroom with a tub that stands in the very middle of the room, facing the amazing valley below. I’m sure it was designed this way for more romantic purposes (or a future Cialis commercial) but Ava doesn’t really care. A couple of toys, a little bubble bath, and she’s one happy girl.

Later in the day now. Despite cloudy skies and a bit of rain here and there, we decided to head out of town into the Gibbston Valley and a bit beyond to the towns of Cromwell and Bannockburn, all know for their many wineries.

We hoped to have lunch at Mt Difficulty (an awesome name for a winery!) but they were booked solid for the day. So we just did the wine tasting. But…they were nice enough to call the other winery known for it’s tasty food: Craddick, and secured a reservation–literally the last table of the day–for us.

Craddick’s food was really great: New Zealand green mussels and clams, a vine-smoked duck with quinoa, and smoked beef in an Asian style sauce with Asian veggies…a total change of pace from the lamb-heavy, salmon-heavy menus every other restaurant around here seems to have. Kelly enjoyed a couple of glasses of Craddick’s wines. I stuck with cappuccino for the winding 50km drive back to Queenstown.

We had a little bit of extra time before our lunch at Craddick, so we visited the nearby town of Cromwell. Kelly checked out the old town, while I took off with Ava and took care of exciting chores like getting gas for the car.

We also had a chance to sip a few wines at Felton winery, where they offered two Pinot noirs and two reislings…all very good.

The whole area here is crazy…huge mountains, winding roads, sheer cliffs, rivers cutting through it all, and somehow on these ledges, they plant grapevines. It’s insane…but the wine is great!

So we’re back at the lodge right now, chilling out a bit. Ava’s singing in the tub and I am sipping on a 42 Below martini. Kelly’s loading in a few pix of our crazy helicopter ride on her computer, so that’s coming soon.

It’s raining, so we’ve decided to stay in the lodge tonight and just chill. We’ve secured the menu from a Japanese restaurant in town, so we’re going to get some take-out and bring it here for a cozy night at the lodge.

The forecast for the next two days is similar…perhaps some sun, but chances of showers. Kelly and Ava will do a little shopping tomorrow morning while I go whitewater rafting on the Shotover River. I’ll meet them back here after lunch.

By the way, with the way the weather has changed, we are extremely lucky we took the helicopter ride to Milford Sound yesterday. The only rides in and out of the Sound with this rainy weather is by bus…and it’s 6 or 7 hours each way. If you look at a map, you’ll see that Milford Sound is really not far as the crow (or helicopter) flies, but the roads go way around, and that’s why it takes so long.

There’s another couple in our lodge…they arrived yesterday…and they’re doing that crazy all-day bus ride today. No thanks!

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