There are some days during a trip that stand out above all others, as a highlight, a memorable occasion. Our day in Napier was one of those days. It was the day we met fellow blogger Jill and her husband John.
They are intrepid travellers and Jill’s blog has been on my list of must reads since she recently started taking us on journeys around her world in New Zealand and beyond. She has a way with words that describe her travels so well they make me get itchy feet and want, no yearn, to visit the locations and adventures she shares. In fact her descriptions are so good she has been asked to write a guest post on “Travel Gumbo” Take a look, you will be entranced with the country of Laos that Jill and John recently visited.
So when I asked Jill what she could recommend for us to see in her home town of Napier for the few hours the cruise ship docked there. I received a very special reply from Jill.
“How would you like a chauffeur named John and a map reader called Jill?”
Wow, would I ever. I immediately replied and that set in motion a very special day.
I have been to Napier several times (take a look here for the last time we visited)
The Oosterdam docked in Napier on Good Friday. A perfect Autumn day, warm and sunny and when we met it was like greeting long time friends. That sort of instant rapport. We never stopped chatting.
They took us on a half hour drive into the countryside around Napier to Te Mata Peak.
I could feel her exhilaration at making it to the top.
We had this magic place almost to ourselves with only a few other runners and walkers and another couple of cars. But time to move on. As John carefully backed out he is stopped and told to wait as 3 tourist buses are on the way up. We wait for one, then they let us go before the other 2 come up.
I thank Jill and John and the wonderful connecting world of WordPress. Those 3 buses are bringing fellow passengers from the Oosterdam. Imagine 3 x approximately 40 on each bus milling around…
Back down we look back to the formidable Te Mata Peak towering 399 metres above us.
The scenery changes to lush green and the sheep are scattered across the paddocks.
On the way back to Napier Jill and John still have a couple of surprise to show us.
Te Awanga Beach, hopefully for a coffee, but being Good Friday it was shut. No worries Jack is still talking, maybe telling about the one that got away!!!
One last place was up to Bluff Hill Lookout where we gazed down on the Oosterdam seeming to take up the whole harbour, dwarfing the tiny tugboat waiting to guide us out.
As we walked toward the shuttle bus that would take us back to the Oosterdam these characters approached us asking if we would take their photo on their cell phones. Of course we took their photo on our cameras too.
Just what were they doing we asked. Just having fun and making people smile they said…
What a great ending, the whole day has been about connecting and smiling. The few hours we spent together with Jill and John is a tribute to the strength of the WordPress community in sharing and connecting world-wide and is one of the aspects of this media that is so appealing.
A very big THANK YOU Jill and John for your generosity and giving us an unforgettable tour of your beautiful part of New Zealand.
Jill posted about our visit shortly after the event. It is written in Jill’s inimitable style, take a look here.
As we arrived back a 4 piece Dixie jazz band greeted us and a row of vintage cars with their owners dressed in the style of the era gathered to wish us “Bon Voyage”
It was a very appropriate and emotional farewell to Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. I had a lump in my throat as they played “Now is the hour” and waved goodbye as the cruise liner slowly pulled away from the port.
I took a rather shaky video of the moment. There is rather a lot of back ground noise as the tour director on board welcomed us back and started to tell us what we had in store for the evenings entertainment.