On one of my last weekends in New Zealand Chad drove me, Marion, Marie and Francois through the fog to Te Mata Peak in Havelock North, about 20 minutes from ‘home.’ The clouds were incredible, huge volumes in the sky combined with a low fog rolling in off the water that slowly consumed small hills and poured through the numerous passes.
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On the weekend of August 12th I drove up to Wairoa with David Trubridge and his wife Linda to help plant trees near
their bach. The weather was perfect for planting; cool and over cast. We planted around 40 native trees.
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Today I rode out to Cape Kidnappers, a point about 20 miles south of Napier, New Zealand. I didn’t quite make the point as you can see in the map of my ride. The tide was rising and I would have had to sneak between waves to make it around to the next bit of beach and thought it probably wasn’t worth it. There were tide charts posted, but their most recent month May, which didn’t do me much good. I waved over one of the dirt bikers as they were passing me to see what the tide was doing and discovered that low tide occured a hour ago, so I had one more hour before the tide would hinder my retreat. I made my way off the beach at 1:55. On my return home I stopped at a lovely cafe that had views of the ocean and nice outdoor seating in the sun. The weather was perfect, it had been a little cloudy on my ride out, but cleared up for lunch and my ride home.
Continue reading “Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand”
Last weekend I got up early and took an 8am bus to Wellington (I was sooo close to missing it, and would have, had it not been for Chad’s mother who miraculously showed up at the wrong bus stop where I was located and transported me to the correct bus stop with seconds to spare). It was a marvelous trip. The weather was constantly changing and very windy so I didn’t get my camera out as much as I probably should have, but I got a few of the landscape. It was a great change of pace to have hills around and definitely uplifted my spirits. Napier is terribly flat, which begins to feel a little boring after all the pictures I’d seen of New Zealand prior to arrival.
So after my hectic start I arrived in Wellington and wandered in the direction of my hostel. I got a little off track when someone gave me faulty instructions, but due to this I happened to see a well presented Bakery and wandered in for lunch. It was most excellent.
The hostel was only a block away, so I got sorted and then went back out for a wander. It was raining, but I brought my camera anyway and set off for the closest interesting street. It was a strip of bars/cafes, some of which looked pretty nice. I took a right and meandered a short while before noticing a sign for Mt. Victoria look out. This sounded
perfect, so I set off in search of the next sign. I followed them to Charles Plimmer Park, where I left the road and walked up some mountain bike/hiker trails to the top. It wasn’t very far, but it was nice to walk up hill, and came with entertainment–a few downhill bikers zooming down a parallel track (I looked into rentals, but didn’t have time). It was very very windy on top.
I took a different route which spit me out onto a steep hilly side street which led me to the waterfront. I then spotted a cafe with sheltered outdoor seating and sat down for a snack. It was very pleasant. It was still raining and turning dark so I retreated to the hostel for the evening.
Sunday morning I got up early again and went back to the bakery. They had written the breakfast menu on the wall, which I noticed on Saturday, and I couldn’t help but return for French toast with bacon, banana, and maple syrup. It was perfect. I then went to the Te Papa Museum, but arrived before they were open, so I ventured to the cable car up to the botanical gardens. After getting lost returning to the city on footpaths I found my way back to the Te Papa for a quick tour, ducked into the City Gallery, and finished my stay in Wellington at a restaurant along the waterfront in the sun.
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Napier, my home away from home! Below are pictures of the house in which I’m renting a room, the beach a short
walk away, and views from a couple of bike rides.
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While in Sydney I asked the free tour guide where to go and one of the many places she recommended was Manly Beach. The best way to get there is by ferry so I hopped on over and found a nice little town next to the famous surf beach. The weather started out perfectly and I set off down the beach. I didn’t really know where to go so I set off and ended up in Shelly Beach Park. I barely dented the park and chose to stay along the water and walk along the nice large rocks. A storm then snuck up behind me and I was forced to retreated back to town.
I really wanted to find a cafe over looking the water instead of one of the many tourist traps I passed on my walk in along the main strip to the beach. I almost took a picture of what will soon be exactly what I wanted, but there was a guy in the way of the shot and I didn’t foresee the fact that I wouldn’t be able to take a picture later due to rain. The cafe wasn’t going to be open for another week. It had a simple classic exterior with faded blue paint and a clean minimal interior decorated with painted surfboards. I thus had to ask some fleeing locals for a ‘good local cafe’ and was quickly directed to one nearby. It was a cosy little place and I ordered some tasty fettucini alfredo before heading back to the ferry.
Continue reading “Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia”
After Cape Town I journeyed on to Sydney for four days. It’s a pretty cool city with friendly people and unique shops. The free walking tour was great and allowed me to get my
bearings quickly upon arrival. Some of my favorite shops that I visited are in the photo’s below. Also, check out a better picture of the SR542. Such an awesome bike.
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I was in Cape Town from May 23rd to June 18th in the summer of 2011 with a group of four other UPenn masters students. We were given this travel opportunity by UPenn and the IPD program’s NFS grant. We kept a group blog during our stay which can be found here on tumblr.
Cape Town is an incredibly beautiful city located between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, but it also possesses a huge wealth gap which is rather uncomfortable. On the plus side there is a young and thriving design community trying to put Cape Town on the map, which will hopefully create some jobs and inspire
those in the townships to create new craft products.
I was originally going to research water purification which I had been studying in thesis, however, the water problems in Cape Town are more scarcity than quality (although we were told that many Cape Townians had water purifiers in their homes akin to those in the US). I thus began thinking about water collection, and the side effects of wet and dry seasons. I also began working with Eric to continue the research begun by Lea and Evan of craft, design, and entrepreneurship in Cape Town.
Continue reading “Cape Town, South Africa”