emails from New Zealand: #3 January 2008

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Hey all!
Just a quick email from Queenstown on the south island. I am here with my group. We spent the last two nights at Braemar Sheep Station in a shearer’s quarters. The accommodations were quite basic, but the view by far made up for it. The house is located on a lake with an enormous mountain range behind it, including Aoraki/Mt Cook, NZ’s highest mountain.

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Braemar Station: basic accommodations, million dollar view!

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The Active New Zealand guides did all the cooking and did an excellent job. Our dessert on the first night: Kiwi style pavlova. Meringue cakes, whipped cream and fresh kiwi. Delish!

We spent yesterday hiking in Mt. Cook National Park. It was pouring rain so we didn’t have great views of the mountains, but we hiked to two glaciers, Hooker and Tasman.

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In Aoraki/Mt Cook National park: one of the many suspension bridges we would cross during our two week adventure

It was Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral yesterday. He was New Zealand’s greatest hero who, along with Tenzing Norgay, first summited Mt. Everest. The funeral was broadcast at the Hermitage Hotel. We arrived after and I was able to sign the guest book for the family. There is a mountaineering museum there with much of it dedicated to Hillary. There were a lot of old mountaineers there who had climbed with Hillary and it was great to hear them reminisce about old times. I was very happy to be part of it and to honor Sir Edmund by hiking in the hills where he first began mountain climbing.

This morning we awoke to clear blue skies and the view was AMAZING! I took some panoramic pictures with my new camera. I hope they come out okay.

We are on the road today and will be biking and kayaking in the Milford Sound area tomorrow. The group I’m with is close to my age and we are having a lot of fun together. It’s been wonderful so far. I look forward to seeing the rest of the South Island.

Hope you are all well!

*** In January of 2008, I ventured by myself halfway around the world to New Zealand. This was before blogs and smartphones. When I could, I would go to an internet café, purchase an internet use time card and type frantically hoping to finish my email before time ran out. Other than fixing some obvious spelling mistakes, the following is as written in 2008. As tempted as I am to edit and embellish, I want to maintain the moment as it was then. I have added pictures, some of mine, some of my travel mates. I apologize that I can’t give credit since I’ve long since forgotten which was whose, but I am thankful I have them to relive this wonderful adventure. ***

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