Queenstown fever

Hello!

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It is only when I first reached Queenstown that I realized what a small town it was!! By the size of its reputation I thought it would be the biggest city of the south island, but oh no, 10 000 people live there only! It has the feel of a mountain village, exactly like I imagine it in my head.

Long story short, Queenstown is amazing. Party place, it is called the city that never sleeps. World capital of bungy jumping, you have all the crazy activities on offer. And that is not it. Queenstown can be summed up in one word:

FERGBURGER!! That is all everybody can talk really when you mention Queenstown. Just the biggest burgers you’ve ever seen in the entire universe. Special mention to Patagonia too, for their amazing chocolate, churros and ice creams.

We first stayed at the Butterfly Lodge, a lovely, lovely little hostel. Basically a house with a few more bedrooms than normal, you can enjoy a good movie in the lounge with the house cat loved up on your laps. They have a collection of TAPES, yes tapes, you know those things we used to have to watch movies… It’s like spending the week end at your grandma, except the beds are a lot comfier! We later picked another hostel, just because we are lazy girls and the Butterfly Lodge is on top of a cliff. Only people who have been in NZ will know what I mean.

So we also stayed at Bungi Backpackers. There are a few hostels, not many though, in NZ that I have not liked at all and this is one of them. So yes, it was so very cheap, and yes there was free soup for dinner BUT the roooooooms!! OMG! We had the room that was outside, so we had to walk outside to get in the main building to have access to the bathroom (which was not bad I have to admit). We were sharing a room with a lot of people and even if it was freezing outside I slept with the window open for I’ve never smelt anything so horrendous in my life! The room was full of sick people and we later realized one of the guys was growing pot under his bed, which probably explained the smell.

We spend three days in Queenstown the first time, we had too much food, too much fun and so much beauty thrown to our faces everything seemed plain afterwards.

Have a great week end!

Cheers!

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A life well lived is the most exquisite work of art

Hello!

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God it’s cold! Cold and wet. The worst! Today, we are leaving the Westlands to get to the Fjordlands… I was going to talk to you about Queenstown, as it is in the chronology of the trip, but I can’t get to it yet. I think it deserves a couple of posts for being such an amazing little city! We’ll see about that later.

One of the things we really wanted to do while in Queenstown was to see the Milford sounds, more commonly called THE Milford. We were so lucky the first time, the day we picked was a wonderful sunny winter day, with the first snow in the mountains. When I took my mom, we weren’t that lucky… The road was cut by some kinda storm, the Milford was therefore out of reach.

We had booked a Jucy day trip, they came to pick us up at 7:30 AM. All bundled up with as many layers of clothes as possible we bravely made it out in the cold so early! The bus stopped a few times so we could take some photos and have fun with the snow. It is a far drive for just one day but what a sight! Breathtaking really! I remember at some point we went under a tunnel, and I thought ‘ this is the shittiest tunnel in the history of tunnels’. It was like they had dug a tunnel into a mountain and left it at that. No concrete on the walls, and just a few dim lights. Weird!! The road became so narrow and winding after we had passed Te Anau I don’t know how the bus drivers did it!

We also had a stop at Mirror Lake, all Lonely Planet users will remember it as being the front page of the book! As for the Milford, I could only describe it as coming straight from Avatar! Remember that scene where they are flying the weird beasts with the rocks flying in the sky? Well somehow that’s what the Milford seemed to me. We took a cruise, and raced with the dolphins, had a tiny crush for an english cute guy that surely was a rugby player, we froze our ass outside but did not mind for a second. I am happy I’ve seen the Milford, to me, it is one of the things to see before you die!

I also appreciated that the captain of the boat took us as close as possible to the waterfalls. So close you’re drenched and fieel the vibrations of the water falling coming all the way from your feet to your heart.

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Cheers!

M.

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No reason to stay is a good reason to go

Hello!

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I always knew working full time on a 9 to 5 job would be the death of me. One month and a half only and I can already feel it. The uuuurge to break this stupid routine, I mean why do I have to stay quietly sitting on my seat, getting this endless paperwork in order? Money it seems. I thought I would never settle for a job I hated just for money. And so little money on top of it. How did I got so far from what I dreamt of? It seems all I ever wanted, all I ever worked for has vanished in this one little month.

The time of travelling is not only over, it seems like it never happened. What’s left of it nowadays can be sum up to this: an endless rambling about NZ and Oz and a few photos. So here you have it, the rambling and the photos:

Let me tell you about a very very special place in New Zealand, a little town by a lake, surrounded by moutains and crazy skies, with funny trees growing inside the lake: Wanaka. Seeing the photos, I got reminded of how Wanaka first appeared to me, a haven of beauty and peace. It was the place we had heard of from day one by every single traveller that we met. We decided to have a go at it because we felt like we had to, but we totally expected to be disappointed as we had heard so much about it. The truth is you can’t describe Wanaka and saying ‘you MUST go there’ will not even start to give it any justice. If you have the chance, take my word for it, spend a day or two there. Just to admire the view. Remember that one day, it will all be gone, no more lakes and no more mountains, just your memories and the leftover feelings.

We stayed at Wanaka Backpacka. The best view on the lake for sure, walking distance from the bus stop and the city, cosy lounge rooms and private bathrooms in the dorms, muffins and internet, what more to say? We rented a bike for the afternoon and went for a bike ride around the lake.

I went twice to Wanaka and both times the weather was horrid. Nonetheless, the sun appeared here and there, just enough to get the most amazing photos and memories. I hope you enjoy it, I sure did.

Cheers

M.

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A day in Biarritz

Hello!

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I had the chance when I drove my brother down to Bidart to spend some time in Biarritz, a very well known, very pleasant town in the Pays Basque. It is a surfing place, it displays a lot of fancy shops, has a fantastic Casino with the view on La Grande Plage, and a gorgeous landscape.

By the time we found a spot to park we had lost enough time to have to run down to the center, have a look around, go back to the car and find another parking spot to be on time for the Sunday rugby game. Biarritz was defeated by Toulon, it came as no surprise, but still, we had a lovely time.

As we drove back to Bidart, we had the most amazing sunset I’ve seen in France, I took the time to park the car and enjoy the view for a few minutes, thing that I never used to do before. Funny how it took me to travel to the other side of the world and back to realize what was right in front of me. Marcel Proust once said ‘discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes’ and I could not agree more. Finally, I can see what is around me and find some comfort in it when the times of longing get to me.

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Dreams come a size too big so we can grow into them

Hello!

France-NZ is on tonight, no matter my unboundable love for NZ, I will follow my French rugby team till the end! First time we meet since that notorious World Cup final, we don’t stand a chance but who knows, miracles have happened in the past!

I have been quiet for a couple of weeks, not for a lack of will, but a lack of time. Who would have thought working full time could be so exhausting? I’m happy though to come back to my NZ trip story, on that rainy Saturday.

Last time I left you in Franz Josef and today we reach Fox Glacier, about 30 minutes from Franz Josef. Exactly like Franz Josef I’ve seen that glacier twice, with reasonably good weather both times! I would advise you to do both glaciers, they are very different and you can get really close to Fox. Lake Matheson is also a must see of the Glaciers region, it’s about 6k from Fox. They have shuttles to get you there, however that day we waited and waited for it to come, it never came so we ended up walking there… We were so tired by the time we arrived, and knowing we had to do the same way back to the village, we actually only reached sight of the lake before turning back… They say on a clear day you can see Mount Cook in the back, the reflection on the lake being THE attraction, however, both times we were far from being able to see anything reflecting on the lake.

We stayed at the Ivory Towers Backpackers, a really really nice place, and we regretted we only had one night booked… I remember the theater room downstairs, of course we watched a Lord of the Rings, the reading room with a fireplace, and the kitchen with a lot of tables with table cloth just like a restaurant. I actually doubt having said that that they had table cloth but for some reason in my memory they did! Whatever, it is a very nice place and I would advice anyone to go there.

These are the photos from our visit in May:

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Photos from our visit in December:

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