Bus across sheepland forever (Day 4) 24 February 2006

Hello all… I was going to say this was an uneventful day, but the bus ride from Mt. Cook to Queenstown this aftenoon was really rather amazing, in retrospect. It seemed that we crossed the wide high rolling hills (over Lindis pass for miles and miles) of sheep and dairy farms, then vineyards, forever! They truly seemed endless, sometimes barren, sometimes heavily covered with many-colored green shrubs, always very steep, then becoming very rugged. It could have been the hills of Texas, or of southern Idaho. I think now that I would like to see a sheep farm, and plan to check out that possibility. Shops selling the ‘finest merino wool in the world’ are **everywhere** – too bad I rarely wear it, it seems a shame to pass it up. We passed through the glider flight capital of the world – only two weeks ago the international competition was held in Omarama.

By the way, that is pronounced “oh MAR’ a muh”, not “ohma RA’ma”!

I discovered a new favorite fruit – the greengage plum; small (the size of a very large, very round grape), green with a little red blush, and very sweet. Have never seen them in the US.

But the highlight of day has been reaching Queenstown. It looks so much like Bergen, Norway. Though not on the ocean, it is on the 3rd longest lake in NZ, Lake Wakatipu, and the lake has all these pennisulas, so is very intricate, with houses on every shore, and on every peak surrounding the town. The little shops and the narrow harbor even look so similar, so tall and narrow, and it is so very hilly, and the downtown area is so small and compact, with streets rising up hills immediately. Really charming.