Wine and Whales

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 7, Still in Abel Tasman at our favorite hotel the Resurgence. Every meal is a mix of people from different countries and the food is healthy and good. After our hiking ordeal yesterday of John's intestinal distress, we opted for a cruise on the Tasman Sea. It was fantastic with sightings of seals, a penguin and over 20 playful dolphins. The dolphins were the best as they tried to out race our boat and trilled us with their jumps and turns. There were even several groups of moms with calves. John and I got to kayak and I got to hike in the forest again (John had had enough yesterday). We even got to hand feed the fish leftover bread from our lunch. I think ;this was our best day yet!

February 8, We sadly said goodbye to the innkeepers at our hotel and journey towards Blenheim. After a 2- hour ride of hillsides with timber trees for export we arrive at Blenheim, a quaint but slightly depressed town. Our lodging is at the Hotel D’Urville which used to be an old vault in 1929 and still has the vault doors. They must have known we are American as they put us in a slightly nauseating red, white and blue room. Jean bought a lacey dress for the evening and reservation were made at Herzhog Restaurant and Winery. This is New Zealand’s premier restaurant and as Jean had high expectations, John felt we were in the wrong place and was ready to make a bee line out as quickly as possible . Jean tried to capture the moment and ordered a 3 course meal with wine pairing while John tried to order the quickest and cheapest meal available. Throughout the possibly romantic dining experience John looked at the prices loudly saying “OMG“, uttered a few profanities when our table separated by accident and laughed loudly every time the grandfather clock, right next to our table, bonged,  The waitress looked almost offended when John asked for the check after finishing his last mouthful and we almost bolted from the restaurant. Needless to say I imagine we will be dining at Pizza Hut tomorrow night!

February 9, We spent the afternoon in the famous region of Marlborough. Sampling their famous wines. We went to many wineries including Cloudy Bay which is famous for their Sauvignon Blanc. Each winery has a spittoon in case you don’t like the wine or wish to “swish and flush” before trying another. We ended our day by stopping at the Chocolate Factory which makes homemade chocolates. This was Jean’s personal favorite of today’s stops.
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