I landed in Bangkok and my family joined me within a day. We explored first the city with its numerous and amazing temples, floating market and food stands in the street. Then we left for Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and finally Chiang Mai. All these cities are easily accessible by bike and with the heat it was very pleasant to feel a fresh breeze on your face while discovering ruins of magnificent temples. The culture is very interesting and so is the food. Being with my family and eating cheese / drinking wine they brought from France was the best gift I could have for Christmas.
After 10 days it was already time to fly back to Christchurch and arrived just in time for New Year’s Eve. Adam, a couchsurfing host, picked me up at the airport and we met another Swiss couchsurfer to party at Adam’s friend. What a nice feeling it was to go to a party where you basically know nobody but still enjoy it very much. Kiwis are eager to share their culture and specialities (wine that night especially). Adam wanted me to admit that NZ had decent cheese (so far I had only tried “cheese” from the supermarket that had no taste at all) by making me eat some farmer cheese. I had to reckon it was not too bad, especially the blue cheese.
My first achievement in 2015 was to grab a bus at 7am despite an aching head, the jetlag and a huge lack of sleep. Heading north of the southern island to join again… Alexia and Chloé ! We had planned to do a kayak trek in the amazing national park of Abel Tasman. But first we discovered the Nelson area with its beautiful and quiet mountains. I managed to do some hikes (the girls were laughing each time I was talking about hiking but at last we hit the mountains quite often).
Then we reached the Abel Tasman national park and managed to put all our stuff in the kayak, paddling on the clear sea and approach the fur seals which who were lazily sunbathing on desert islands. Quite difficult to spot in the rocks but no worries you could tell they were there only by the smell and the barking. The waves were sometimes stronger and I was feeling nauseaus – the girls found it very funny and were expecting with the GoPro some puking while on the kayak. It would not happen. The beaches could be like paradise, with white sand and clear water, if they were no sandflies chewing our ankles. With the kayak we had access to desert creek and we felt like Robinson Crusoe !
The next step was Blenheim and its famous vineyards. With the van we went from one estate to another, tasting different wines and sharing impressions. It was only mid day but the wines already stroke ! Some lunch was highly appreciated. We kept on tasting and the van suddenly ride on the right side of the road – which is the wrong side in NZ. Well, nobody realized the mistake until a truck came straight in front of us and horned heavily. Chloe, who was driving, waited a bit and finally turned the wheels abruptly to reach the safer way, left lane. All the inside of the van was upside down after that bumpy ride but no cup was broken (it must be fate as there were only 3 for 3 people). It was perhaps the time to stop the tasting ! The following days we kept on heading south on the eastern coast and seeing fur seals families, the beautiful Kaikoura peninsula from the ground and theoretically from up (well, we would have if an amazing sea of clouds had not prevent us from seeing it), Christchurch and the Bank’s peninsula under the rain (but we have already been warned that the weather was similar to the Brittany one. Rain was expected despite every Britton would say).
Then it was time to split with the girls : I was leaving for Tekapo (west) as they kept on going south.