Yesterday I packed up my stuff, played some piano (they had a piano there!), taught Martin a song to play on the piano as he insisted I must teach him one song before I left, and went to catch the bus to Motueka. I did sit in the sun in Picton for a while and noticed how beautiful the harbour actually is when it's not rainy and windy and cold. The area is so stunning. Anyway, I went off to Motueka. After a stop in Nelson the bus finally wound its way north towards Motueka, a town 18 km from the Abel Tasman National Park. Now, 32 years ago my mum worked at an orchard by Motueka for several months, saving up money for the next part of her trip, so staying in Motueka had some sentimental value to me. The road to Motueka from Nelson is stunning. Everyone told me that the south island is much more scenic than the north island and usually I'm not one who agrees with the norm very easily but now I have to agree. The south island is stunning. Absolutely beautiful. There are orchards with lovely red apples and fully grown kiwis on the trees, vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see, rolling hills of yellow and green grass, white sheep dotting the fields, evergreen forests reaching up to the peaks of the hills and over into more hidden valleys. Ooh it was stunning. There is an expression that says you can drink in the scenery, well, I was doing that. I just couldn't stop staring at all the beautiful landscapes that shaped themselves and changed before my eyes. The place is so diverse. I love it. When I got to Motueka I got some info about the national park and then went to my hostel, The Laughing Kiwi, where I settled into my lovely 6-bed dorm (bottom bunk! Yes!). It was already getting towards dinnertime so I went and got some food, made dinner and went to bed.
Today I had a lie in, the first lie in I've had for ages. I stayed in bed until about 11 and then calmly went and figured out that the orchard mum used to work at still exists but its 18 km away and without a car and no buses running there, it would be too hard to hard to get there unfortunately. Ah well. Instead I booked my Abel Tasman watertaxi ticket, wandered down to the beach (well, sand flat). I walked along it and read my book, suddenly realising that most of the films were filmed on the south island and I can suddenly imagine why. I am halfway through The Fellowship of the Ring and notice how the descriptions of the land could be traced to New Zealand. Back at the hostel I ate dinner and then played good old Monopoly with 7 others. I didn't do too badly, finishing in 2nd place with only the light blue and pink streets, haha. When I got up to go to bed, a German cyclist whom I had made bankrupt in the game stared at me and said suddenly "you look like the little sister of Scarlett Johansson. I don't know if she has a sister but if she did, you'd be it". Now, that was a compliment (at least, I don't know much about Scarlett Johansson but I'm guessing it's a compliment) I never expected to get. I've heard a lot of nice things but this one I could not really place, haha. I thanked the guy and am now off to bed, wondering whether Scarlett Johansson also wears UCU sweatpants and yellow baggy jumpers every now and then.