Monday 16 January 2012

Wanaka, New Zealand - The Holy Grail

What do I think about all day when I’m pedalling along? I often ask myself this but struggle to find the answer. I did manage to focus my mind long enough the other day to consider what is the one thing most appreciated on the road … the gold at the end of the rainbow … the Holy Grail of cycle touring? I thought it might be a big pile of fresh, folded laundry still warm from the dryer; or perhaps the much-longed-for but rarely experienced tailwind; or maybe it’s finding unlimited free WIFI. But in the end I decided the Holy Grail of cycle touring is … the fluffy towel! There is no joy in using my travel towel which is like a large piece of fuzzy felt but the joy of rubbing and wrapping yourself up in a proper fluffy towel is without limit. So I say thank you to all the people on this trip who have loaned me a fluffy towel – this blog is dedicated to you.

There have been no fluffy towels in the last ten days of cycling but there has been some spectacular riding to make up for it. I left Queenstown on the beautiful, old steamer the TSS Earnslaw as a pianist played period tunes in the saloon. This ferry crossing took me to the south shore of Lake Wakatipu and a cracking, two-day route through the mountains on a remote gravel road to Te Anau where I sat out three days of torrential rain! A few days of hard cycling from there and a massive climb over New Zealand’s highest sealed road, the 1076m Crown Saddle, have now brought me north to Wanaka, a lakeside outdoorsy kind of place tucked in beautiful mountain scenery and my gateway to the west coast or … as they call it here … the “wet” coast. Fluffy towels at the ready, please!

More photos and words on Flickr - click on the link on the right.


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