14 march Motueka (NEW ZEALAND)

Alarm clock at six, and soon to the port to deliver the cars... It's the dawn and we are ready for boarding.

Three hours from Wellington to Picton through the breathtaking fjords... exciting when, at some point, a bunch of dolphins started playing performing jumps and spins for the fun and admiration of all of us...

In Picton we take the new two cars that will take us around the southern island.
We soon depart to Motueka, but along the way to Nelson, we pause to watch a game of rugby.... Rubgy in New Zealand! Cool!
Another hostel, another supplies shopping, another meeting to plan the next hours and shifts... We are close to the Abel Tasman National Park, tomorrow, we organized another trekking though the legs and buttocks still hurt...

Spending a Saturday evening in an anonymous small town in New Zealand, in a pub listening to three rockers playing Blink182, Radiohead... Together with the local boys who were dancing and drinking beer... An any village an any day... Simply amazing!

 

 

15 march Motueka (NEW ZEALAND)

In the morning, on board a speedboat we fly, wave upon wave, until Awaroa while on the way so many penguins and seals relaxed in the sun reminded us that we are in the far south of the globe...
"Be careful when in water", our sea-driver suggests us when he leaves us 50 meters from the shoreline and in water, shoes and backpack in hand we gain the beach... Our new trek starts but this time the background is completely different, also our equipment!

 

We enter immediately into a thicket. 45min walk later a beautiful and unspoilt beach is in front of our eyes: Onetahuti Beach... A long strip of golden sand before a crystal clear sea... I am speechless!
We enjoy the view but a few later we go on, we have 15 km to face... Overcome the beach we enter a dense forest along the sea, little path that climbed the mountain... an hour later and I am again alone... My group is far behind... I am alone with nature, the silence broken by the rustling of the bushes, for a thousand different birds... millions of thoughts began to crowd my mind, I think about the things done, things I want to do, in particular I would like to realize my big wish: a real trip with my parents...
I feel like Andy McNab during his trainings or Mike Horn in the Amazon forest... I feel especially alive... Two hours and 41 minutes later I reach in solitary Bark Bay... I wait for long but no news of my friends... And if they had taken the shortcut? Impossible, there is high tide, they could not... I sit down, eat my sandwich and I decide to go... I stop 500 meters ahead on the beach, if I had lost them I would not have been able to return to the base... Why didn't Ipay attention when we talked about the meeting point?
Fortunately I find them all relaxed in the sun! we departure all together but no news of Paolino... He will reach us!

 


We cross stunning scenery along the coast, pass a bridge, climb, descend...
Four hours and three minutes later, here we are: Torrent Bay. I miss the time to relax a little that comes our speedboat to pick us up... Paolino is still missing!
We are a little worried, our Caronte too, but fortunately, after a thousand coordinations with other boats we discover that he is coming aboard of another boat... A few later: here he is! This is also done!

 

16 march Franz Josef (NEW ZEALAND)

Transfer day today. We left Motueka and 450 km south to the glaciers!

We drove with no hurry this time, many stops to photograph landscapes, lakes, capes, mountains... How many villages we passed through, seen children who were coming out of the house to go to school, pride in their little uniforms, the postman on a bike that launched the newspapers at the houses' doors...

Some of us have also taken advantage to fly over the glacier on board two small helicopters!
Now we are in Franz Josef, the village discovered by an Austrian climber and christened with the name of his king. It's the departing point for the ascent of the two glaciers, the namesake and the Fox!
Our hostel is the best that we have been so far. Ample space for us, kitchen, TV room, reading room, washing machines, spa... People like us anywhere to record their impressions and feelings on their diaries of travel, there is even a German with a long beard who, diary in hand, is updating his blog about travel online... Whether you breathe the atmosphere here... The nice thing is that there are people from all over the world, for example, now everyone in the kitchen is preparing dinner in their own way: the Scandinavian with a cup of hot soup, the Germans with an omelet and sausage; Americans: sandwiches, we Italians: spaghetti Barilla "garlic and oil" ... The Japanese ... No! Even them with spaghetti! But we should explain them that they need to boil the water first and then immerse the pasta and not, as they are doing now, all together at once!

 

17 march Franz Josef (NEW ZEALAND)

Another great experience! Today we climbed the Franz Josef Glacier!
After equipped properly with wool socks, goretex boots, raincoat and crampons for the ice, we walk across the bed of a dry river and suddenly here is the glacier, in all its grandeur and majesty! It's white and blue and you feel so small in front of it! To move forward we need a guide, and we even have two: a Chilean from Andes for the first part of the climbing and an English one for the second!

We are 13: seven Italians, four Estonians and two British. We stop at the base and wear crampons, in single file, we start climbing. We must move our feet well in the ice, sometimes clinging to the rope that the guide-track open sets in some areas. Other times, to facilitate us, with pickaxe, she digs small steps...

The glacier wraps and surrounds us, we are small blue dots in a white sea...
The emotions are very different, but certainly very different from those that gave me the Tongariro. There was the challenge with the mountains, with nature, here nor the conquest of a peak, but it was cool!

In the hostel in the evening, Bruno nap in his armchair with his book of the Russian writer on his knees, Alessia reads her novel, Mimmo sends sms, Bruna controls the dryer, Alessandra and Pina smoke their beloved cigarette, Rossana reorders her purchases, Paolino takes a shower and I think about what we are going to do the following days...

 

 

 

18 march Queenstown (NEW ZEALAND)

 

Left the Franz Josef, because of the rain we can not stop at Fox Glacier (the most famous glacier) and we they take advantage to see the lake Mathusen: I seemed to admire a picture!

 

Queenstown is a very touristic city but a different tourism, not made up of backpackers and travelers, but from people on holiday...
It's characterized by its picturesque lake, with mountains full of trees that reflect in its waters, creating wonderful effects...

 

 

Dinner at "Captain", a typical restaurant where we tasted the delicious specialties of New Zealand: "Green mussels". Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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