Personal travel experiences supported by pictures that other people took.
Took the ferry through this beautiful landscape of the Marlborough Sounds! I remembered playing soccer with a pink plastic ball with some friends and realized how it was possible that we didn't lose that ball to the sea.
Love hiking through my backyard hills. In 2004 I still saw black trees from a big fire in 2000. Now the area is a protected habitat where native flora is slowly regrowing. Climbed up all the way to Mt. Vernon despite winds that were clearly stronger than me. Also: shoutout to Mr. Reeds, my art teacher. I used to paint these hills in Diebenkorn style.
I remember discovering this abandoned flax mill on a weekend bike ride back in 2004. Eerie fun back then :)
This looong beach was one of my favorite final destinations for bike trips. It's a dark-pebble beach with caves and cliffs to climb around on at the side of it. It's a bit of a tease because you have to bike its full length to get to that pretty spot near the hills, but worth it.
Back in the days I was invited to a LAN party (remember those?!) and I biked all the way out to Wairau valley. It was much further than I had thought! The boys there played some first-person-shooter which I tried out but neither was good nor interested in, so I ended up playing Pipe Dreams on someone's old laptop and had a swell time by myself :) Today I tried to find that person's place but couldn't, and instead ended up surprised how quickly outside of Blenheim the feeling changes to 'remote farming area'. I think it's fitting that there are no IG pics for this place!
Stopped over at the river bank and sat, listened, and recorded. Backdrop mountains create a serene scenery
A friend of mine used to work here in the wineries and their backyard was an amazing playground. We played among the wild riverbanks of Awatere, with eddies sucking us underwater and spitting us out a little downstream, and with building big fires from neophyte plants at night time that turned into castles to be raided. The wineries are private, though, so I didn't manage to access the riverbanks this time around.
Crossing over the hills behind Blenheim into the Awatere valley is a beautiful drive with great views of the dry hills. Especially recommended during evening hours when everything turns golden :)
Revisiting the college campus of MBC was a good memory dive. It looks still the same as 15 years ago and I floated through the field and around the (closed) buildings, checking out the places where I studied my 6 fancy subjects: English, Maori, Biology, Classics, Outdoor Education, and Art.
From MBC I walked onwards into the town center and spent some time revisiting places such as a pub we used to get potato wedges in, a clothing store called Hallenstein's and the (still exisiting!) photo shop where I used to get my digital pics burned on CDs...
This place is part of the reason why Blenheim lies so far off the coast: Everything used to be wetlands around. The lagoons are a brown-read flat landscape with stunning hills on either side. 15 years ago I was on a long walk in the middle of the lagoons when a thunderstorm was approaching... I remember having a small crisis and thinking about where to lie down in case the storm hits me so I wouldn't be the highest point by far.
The SS Waverley stranded here a while ago and when the tide is low it's possible to climb on. Got some interesting views on the distant hills through the rusty boat holes.
Took a bus early in the morning that brought me along the Kaikoura coast. The changes from the big earthquake are very visible and still being repaired. Interesting to notice the different color of 'new' rocks that have been pushed out of the sea. Pity about the loss of that magical seal puppy colony with waterfall and rainbow and all - but seals are still all around the vast coastline.
It's rainy outside so I decided to defer from exploring the city and instead I'm hanging out on a couch and wrapping up this trip. A few trips back I decided I should always take some time off while still on the trip to reflect and wrap up - because after getting home normal life and outstanding tasks get to me quickly.