Sunday, March 6, 2011

At leisure in Nelson

After our day in Abel Tasman Park, we decided to cancel the following day's trip in favor of a relaxed day in Nelson. No getting up to catch a 7:30 bus! Instead, we slept late (something we can never manage at home) and took our time finding breakfast. We wandered outside at around 10:30 to find a bright, sunny day filled with possibilities.

We walked around the corner from our hotel and headed down historic South Street. Cottages originally built for tradesmen around 1861 are now preserved and used as B&Bs, though a few are still private. This is the oldest preserved street in New Zealand.


We poked around in this pottery shop and ended up buying a few presents. Several local potters were featured, ranging from brightly colored, playful designs to more earthy ones. Plus, they ship, so it was sooo easy to buy.

Next up was a fiber shop - EAP was done first so she went outside. Not sure where to find her? Look for a seat and there she'll be with a book.

A ramble through a bookshop, then lunch outside at a Middle Eastern place. We stopped on a whim at a yarn shop, and I only wish I had pictures of the owners. Luckily, a knitter has blogged about it here.

Cruella's had just moved downtown a few weeks before, and we would never have found it in its old location. The owners are huge extroverts and have a great knack for draping you in their hand-knit sweaters, many of which can be worn in several different ways. The experience was the thing, but we all ended up buying something. EAP bought several lots of yarn with promises to knit sweaters for Sarah and me as well as herself. Ellen bought a beautiful sweater for herself and probably some other things which I've now forgotten. It was a delightful hour, and I'm not even a shopper!

Here we are afterwards, having just enjoyed an ice cream at Cocoa's. EAP, of course, had the famous Hokey Pokey ice cream, which she so dutifully sampled everywhere we went.
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After this orgy of shopping, we took a leisurely stroll along the Maitai River, which winds though the city and the leafy neighborhoods nearby. Soon enough we came upon a swimming hole, that kiwi tradition, with kids swimming and splashing.

This was mid-afternoon, so I guess they came here after school. Tom and Huck, look out!

Ellen dipped her toes into the cold, clear water.

This green water with a stony bottom was typical of NZ rivers (when they weren't braided or glacial).
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The next morning found us at the Nelson Airport, where Ellen left for Auckland and we headed to Rotorua. If you want to have an easy airport experience, head to New Zealand. Domestic flights feature no security screenings and you check your own luggage. What a joy!

Sad farewell to our beloved traveling companion... We had such a wonderful time together and hated to say goodbye.
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