Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
41Trip End Sep 07, 2009
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The next morning I had some time to kill in Wellington before the ferry crossing at 2 p.m. so I wandered over to some shops and ended up buying "The Stand" by Stephen King. It was a bit expensive, but not only have I been wanting to read some King for a while, I figured it would be worth it since it is more than 1,100 pages long. It's actually an expanded version of the original novel published in 1990, so it's even a couple hundred pages longer than the original, which was said occasionally to have been too long. I stopped in for a disappointing breakfast of weird-tasting scrambled eggs and hard toast that cost me more than NZ$11 (!) at a bakery/coffee shop place. I'm going to have to start buying my own food when I get a bit more settled. There were also pigeons roaming around inside. They did have some great orange juice, though.
The three-hour ferry crossing was enjoyable, but I was not able to get any pictures since it rained pretty much the entire way, keeping everyone inside and rain on the windows. At one point, though, as we approached the South Island, the sun dropped under the clouds but was behind some mountains and it lit up the bottom of the clouds on one part of the sky in these brilliant orange and red hues. It looked like there was some great fire in the distance (and I guess, technically, there was). After having looked at brochures for Lord of the Rings tours, all I could think of was that it looked like the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor.
By the time we got to Picton, the Intercity buses weren't running, so I had to stay a night there. I'm very glad I did. I stayed at The Villa Backpackers Lodge, which was a 100-year-old villa a couple had bought in the '90s and turned into a hostel. It was amazing: it was a big old house that just reeked of personality. The rooms were like actual bedrooms and the lounge area had a fireplace and several couches and comfy chairs. There was free apple crumble and ice cream at night and breakfast in the morning and there was an Xbox and a hot tub. They also let you use their bikes for free and came and picked me up from the ferry terminal. It was pretty much the perfect hostel, and the next time I take the ferry I'm definitely going to stay a night there again. I saw a sign inside for help wanted for lodging and food, and I was sorely tempted to ask about it, but I decided to push on to Blenheim the next day in hopes of work that actually pays. Maybe I'll be back at The Villa later and can stay longer.