The end of a great trip

1/6/2017
The end of a great trip

This morning I took my bicycle to a bike shop. I bent my derailer and apparently have been causing the slow demise to my shifters myself. Somehow I hadn’t caught on that my bottle cage and front gears were competing for the same space. The shifters were in the lead to begin with but the bottle cage won the long game. Overall pretty easy fixes. The problem was that I am out of time. I could possibly have put myself into super gear and powered to Christchurch. But it felt right to stop. And truly the cosmos was backing that decision. As if on cue, heavy rains started in Dunedin shortly after finishing up at the bike shop. I booked another night at On Top Backpackers, stowed my things in the storage closet, and spent the day on foot seeing the city.

It was a relaxing day. I walked around the Dunedin Chinese Garden. I seriously want a traditional Chinese garden inspired space someday. Then I wandered around the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, which is completely free and well worth the look around. It ranged from the early indigenous cultures through the arrival of European peoples, and then New Zealand modern history through the 1900’s with a special exhibit on the famous Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, or Dunedin Longitudinal Study, where 1037 people born in 1972-73 were studied at certain age intervals. The study continues. These people are brought back to Dunedin periodically to be assessed in a number of categories from health, lifestyles, behaviours, and attitudes. Really neat to see.

I wandered around the city and relaxed the rest of the day. After loitering too long at a pizza pub for supper (to use their free internet!), I went to the movies! I can’t remember when I went to the movies last. I saw La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. So good! I already love musicals, they are not a dying pleasure in my life, but I think even the non-musical addict can enjoy this film. It definitely brings me back to my childhood dream of being a triple threat: singer, dancer, actress. Back at the hostel I was ready for an early night in to catch my early bus the next morning. While enjoying a tea before bed, I had the great fortune to chat with Peter Gazzard. He is from South Africa and is currently a couple years into cycling around the world! Check him out on Facebook (Gazzie on Tour) and if you are feeling generous, consider donating to his cause (http://www.givengain.com/a/pedallingpete/). He is cycling to support the Qhubeka initiative in raising money to provide bicycles for the needy children in South Africa. A very interesting and kind man.

Early the next morning I went to the Taieri Gorge Railway. This is where I caught the bus to Oamaru. The rains hadn’t let up yet. In fact they continued all the way to Oamaru. My plan had been to spend the day venturing around Oamaru before catching an evening bus the rest of the way to Christchurch. Due to the heavy rain, I did not wander around too much.

The bus that evening took me into Christchurch. I stayed with an AirBnb and had a really nice sleep. It was a hard sleep, just a good sleep, and long. I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept that well in a long time. The day was rainy but I spent most of it inside catching up on posts and emails. I retrieved my baggage from the CDC, took apart my bike, and packed up for the long flights back.

This trip is finally over. Glad I had the opportunity to explore a place so different as Antarctica. And I am thankful I was able to spend time riding my bike around New Zealand.


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