This past weekend we went to Nelson, a city on the north coast of the South Island. It's about a six hour drive from Christchurch, but with the three other girls I own the car with, we had plenty of conversation to entertain. We stayed in a really cute hostel that transformed and old victorian-style home into a 20-something-year-old traveler paradise. It had a giant outdoor space with a pool, hamocks, pingpong tables, and lawn chairs all for the great price of $30/night. It's really too bad that the US doesn't have more hostels that are safe and clean like the ones in NZ and many other parts of the world. Every time we stay in hostels we end up meeting really interesting people on all different sorts of journeys from all over the world.
Nelson itself was a really great city right on the beach. For some reason I can't quite figure out, it is unfortunately one of my least favorite places in New Zealand I have been so far. There is something about it that didn't feel quite as friendly and welcoming as all the other places we have been. Regardless, we had a blast. We spent Saturday morning at the farmers market where I purchased my first sheep and alpaca wool sweater. We then went to Stoke Brewery for a tour (and a tasting, of course). We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach. It is still too cold to swim, but the sun kept us warm on the sand.
This is my last week of class and to say that time has flown by is a major understatement. I feel like I just arrived, yet know I have done and seen so much! I have seen almost all of the South Island with exception to the north west coast, which is on our agenda for next week. November is when we plan to conquer the North Island. Finals are not until the last two weeks of October, but after that I will no longer have "home" in New Zealand. We will be on our own living out of our car and bouncing around hostels for three weeks until Dad and Charlie visit in late November. The day they leave NZ is the same day that I leave for SE Asia. There is still a lot of planning to do for that adventure, but we will have plenty of time in November to figure out those details.