Friday, August 27, 2010

To Dunedin and back

My week took an unusual turn as I found myself volunteering to take Erinmarie and Dannica Phillips to Dunedin for their dental and orthodontic appointments - little Dinnay was sick and so Petru was in a spot, not wanting to take her for the three-hour drive in that state. Thus, after my bible-in-school lesson on Thursday, I packed and set off with the girls. The drive was lovely - I was further south in the world than I've ever been once we got through Oamaru! Dunedin was a surprise to me. Of the 118 000 residents, 22% are between the ages of 15 and 24...and I'm sure most of them were out and about when we arrived. There were cars and people everywhere; I was driving Petru's van in a strange city - feeling *slightly* out of my depth! We got Erinmarie to her appointment with only about 10 minutes to spare (mild panic), and then Dannica and I started a scenic tour. Our first stop was the Otago Museum which is just huge and maze-like and extremely interesting. One could take hours wandering through the various exhibit rooms and still not be done. We also amused ourselves with the 'whispering dishes' outside which really worked! Sore feet and two hours later we went to check on Erinmarie...she was still in the chair so we left her and drove to the Botanical Gardens (free parking available at Coundown across the road; I bought a bottle to Bovril to justify my parking there as a legitimate customer). We hadn't even walked through a quarter of the gardens when Erin texted to say she was done, so we left hastily. After that the really fun part of the journey happened...finding our way to the motel across town through a disorganized labyrinth of streets, during rush hour, with the sun in our eyes; the busy roads did not allow any pulling-over to examine maps so we had to just drive in the general direction until we could find a place to stop to gather ourselves and look at the map again (pulling into a single-laned dead-end hectically steep road and having to turn around must have been my ultimate lowlight). It was with huge relief that we eventually pulled into the motel grounds for the night! Spent a great evening together with the girls doing homework on my bed. Friday we were up reasonably early and got the room packed up before having our breakfast. We had a good long look at the map before venturing through the city again towards the now-familiar streets housing the huge Dental Faculty of the University of Otago. Although Erin's appointment was only at midday, we parked outside the building anyway and then walked around a few blocks. Wandered around this magnificent old church (Anglican I think) and I found out just how scared of heights I am when we reached the top of the winding steeple staircase. I was very sad to see a beautiful Baptist Church building being used as a bar; next door to it the Sunday School block is housing a travel agent. When our parking time ran out we left and drove to KFC (yay, free parking) for an early lunch, followed by McDonalds ice-creams. And then back to Frederick Street where Erin just had a short wait for her appointment, and Dannica sat reading for an hour until her consultation while I went to explore more of the surrounds. They were both done by 1.30 and we were ready to head home, glad to be out of the city! Stopped off at Koekohi Beach to see the famous Moeraki Boulders - one ideally wants to photograph these strange rocks at sunrise or sunset, but they are spectacular and unusual at any time of day. There is a gift shop and restaurant surround the boulders complete with a deer paddock. Didn't tarry too long, and were finally back in good old Timaru at 5 pm, thankful to the Lord for safe travels. Nick had a clean house and cottage pie ready and waiting - what a blessing!

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