Sunday, October 12, 2014

Training has started....

In 25 weeks time, I will be heading onto the walking trails near Assisi for ten days, and the time has come to start upping my amount of physical exercise. The weather this weekend has been very kind for such endeavours.

Yesterday (Saturday) I did another variation on the city walkways, starting from the bridge again. I headed up Turitea Walkway as far as Springdale Grove- then across to join the Summerhill Drive trails coming downhill. Knowing the route so well now, I knew how to cut across a field to rejoin the route just below this seat.

My friend Strava kindly told me I had walked 5.3km.  (I have fallen in love with Strava.)

Today was another glorious day, and calm, so I decided a bike ride along the Manawatu River track would be in order. Strava told me this was 16km.

Once I reached the Esplanade, I enjoyed seeing all the little ducklings again.

And now I am home enjoying some final relaxation before school starts again tomorrow...


Well, the holidays are coming to an end- and I had a relaxing and enjoyable break. Things started off with a steam train trip from Feilding to Taihape- very well run, and a chance to indulge in some nostalgia. My father had been a guard on the railways, and I remember the steam train running past our place in Waitara when I was a child, before the switch to diesel.

Week 1 involved catching up on paperwork, and tidying up the school desk, shelves and cupboards that had become waaayyyy too messy. Then Thursday of that week I was off to Wellington for WOW, which was truly amazing. The staging for each segment of the competition was wonderful- the technical side of it was very impressive. Such creativity and expertise.

Even doing marking etc I wasn't alone at home. This tui kept visiting the kowhai tree and singing its heart out.

On Saturday I was invited to the wedding of a Bhutanese couple who came to NZ from a refugee camp in Nepal, and there were lots of siblings and cousins there from amongst the children at school. Beautiful event.

Two of my nieces came to stay for Week 2, and that gave me an excuse for all sorts of childhood expeditions, like a ride on the train in the Esplanade.

I couldn't interest the girls in staying up late to see the eclipse of the moon- but I watched, until things clouded over once the moon had turned red.

 And there was time to have friends around for a fancy afternoon tea in my 'new' kitchen.

And now it is time to turn my thinking back to my class of children at school....

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Wellington for WOW

I've come to Wellington for the Wearable Art Awards and had a few hours to wander the streets this arvo. Weather forecast was pretty bad but the sun was even shining when I arrived. So far the gales and rain have held off but I got some 'grey' photos. Quite a contrast from my recent weekend visit here when the weather was just brilliant.

The hotel is very close to the waterfront and the Arena where WOW will be held, so I headed straight down there, and was greeted by this pair of aliens. (Wellington is always full of surprises.)

...More sculpture I hadn't seen before...

I saw the police launch come in and tie up at the wharf.

It's interesting how in the dull light you notice things you don't see in the sunshine. There were a whole lot of plaques I had never read before.

People were out walking by the harbour even in the grey, some making joyful music.

And this friend stands waiting patiently in all weathers.

Back in town I saw this statue to Katherine Mansfield.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mt Vic on a glorious day

Who could've guessed what a glorious day Sunday would be. First off I returned to the harbour for the market, and besides some healthy veges, I bought a banana cake to take round to my sister's place. (And very yum it was!)
 My man by Te Papa was looking over a dead calm harbour. Exquisite.

 And hopefully the BlueBridge passengers were pleasantly surprised by the calm all the way to Picton...

It was my plan to drive to the top of Mt Victoria, then drive past some of the bays. It was to be an exploring kind of morning. In the event, in the calm, sunny conditions I was seduced by the views from Mt Vic, and spent quite a bit of time up there.

 This gun wasn't a war memorial: it was dragged up here by some soldiers so people could hear it and know the time. This was in the early days of the settlement, when watches were a rarity.

 Up the top of Mt Vic I got the best understanding I've ever had of how the suburbs all fit together. Over this way is the Basin Reserve and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

 There were lots of plaques up top describing legends and history- and these facts about the fault lines through here I would prefer not to remember when I am in Wellington!

 From on high, I could see the Oriental Bay fountain- in dead calm seas...

 And you could see planes landing and leaving the airport.

 Once I headed downhill again, not entirely sure where I was headed, I arrived at Lyall Bay, where I had a short walk along the shore.

 And just past Lyall Bay, I watched this plane coming into land.

My final 'bay' stop was Island Bay. Now I know why it's called "Island"!

From there I headed back inland to reach Wilton, where we devoured some of that banana cake. And when I left Wellington, it was still calm and sunny.  I'll come again, and try and pick another "Wellington on a good day..."

Saturday in Wellington

 Instead of rushing back home I decided to spend more time in Wellington. Saturday morning was for 'shopping', though in the end all I bought were some new walking shoes for Italy next year, and some hiker's wool. It was a beautiful sunny start to the day, and you can see the sunshine on the Cuba St fountain. Some people hate this, and some love it, and I happen to fall into the 'love it' camp- could watch it for ages!
 Basically the weather was too nice to waste the day in shops. I headed for the Saturday 'underground market'- near Frank Kitts Park- then spent time watching the rowing regatta on the harbour.

Next on the agenda was a decent walk. I headed uphill from my motel, on the road towards the Mt Vic lookout. It struck me that anyone training for the Camino who lived in Wellington would only need to climb Mt Vic each weekend to ensure their fitness! I reached St Gerard's Monastery, then decided I'd tackle the rest of the climb next morning by car! So I headed downhill on a steep zigzag path for Oriental Bay. I know this isn't the best of photos, but on the way down I hear/spied a tui doing what must have been serious mating calling. I had never seen the feathers all puffed up like this before, but spring is in the air, and I think that explains things...

 I loved this fountain in Oriental Bay. By now it had clouded over, but the clouds seemed to quickly come and go, so my jersey was off and on...

 I love the way you can walk for ages around the bays in Wellington. Here are a couple of birds I spied en route.

I had a bit of a rest back in the motel, before heading back downtown for the Lux lights again.

 I walked in via Te Papa, as I was curious to see what this fine fellow looked like by the evening light. He didn't disappoint...
And my favourite of all the Lux lights was again the one with the shapes projected on a screen of water.

"Lux"- Wellington Lights

When I saw photos on Twitter last weekend of the Lux Wellington Lights festival, I decided to head down that way for a looksie, by way of a mid-term break of sorts. Turned out the weather was kind- and I had a  great weekend.

I stayed in a motel where I have stayed before, on Majoribanks St, an interesting hilly street that leads from Courtenay Place, straight up to Mt Victoria. There are many old wooden houses and shops still left in this part of the city.

I decided to start walking the Lux route from the laneway end, and I found this fascinating as I had never set foot down this part of Wellington before. I very much enjoyed the mixture of architecture, and hidden secret corners waiting to be stumbled upon. Here are decorations where someone presumably lives...

There were crowds of people out enjoying the lights, including many families with children. There was an installation with moving lights that proved to be very interactive.

I loved this installation, and especially how it was set amongst the buildings surrounding it.

Once I reached the water, it was reflections that took my eye. The yacht club buildings looked beautiful reflected...

as did this pedestrian footbridge.

Right at  the end, past the TSB Arena, they had two shows with projections onto a screen of sprayed water. The first show had a Kapa Haka group in action, looking as if they were dancing on the surface of the water.
And the second show had ever-moving and developing shapes:

I wandered home to my motel, safe amongst the crowds. I passed this lighting near Te Papa- possibly lit this way always- but I liked it...

 I enjoyed my evening, wandering amongst lights and people. So glad I came down...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Where I am heading...

Next April I am heading to Italy for a ten day walk from Assisi, on some trails associated with St Francis. The northernmost point that I'll walk to will be Gubbio. A Camino friend is currently walking south on the 'whole' St Francis trail that I'll just be walking a small part of, and the other day she posted some photos from Gubbio on her blog. (See the second half of her post.) I was very excited to see her photos- and have pinched one here for my blog...

Photo- taken by Janet, the happy wanderer
 Today I shouted myself a 'birthday present'- and got myself a new day-pack for the walk, with attachments to hold walking poles. (My old day-pack that had such things was stolen in a burglary two years ago- used to cart stuff away in -sigh.) I only need such a day-pack of course since I am getting my larger pack transported this time! It turned out that a very good local outdoor shop- one that carries good walking shoes large enough for my big feet- is closing down next week. They had 50% off most stock, and I got myself a day-pack I was very happy with, quite cheaply.

I have been using the Strava App when I go out walking, and used it when I walked downtown this morning. It was a pleasant discovery to find that even though I caught the bus home, I had still walked 4.7km to get downtown and then walk around a few shops. It might have been mostly flat, but I will still claim the kilometres- for a total of 19km on four short walks so far this week.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Two walkabouts

From parts of the city,  you can see last week's snow lying on the high parts of the Ruahines, but without wind it's been quite lovely weather here this weekend. So, I have been on two walkabouts (6.4km and 5.3km- thanks Strava!).

I've been reading a friend's blog, and she is on the northern end of the long version of the St Francis walk I'll be doing a little of next April. Her blog posts are full of beautiful, inspiring photos, but they also tell the tale of quite difficult walking. I am hopeful that my 'southern end' of the walk, nearer Assisi, won't be quite so strenuous, but meanwhile I feel it is time to begin upping my fitness as daylight lengthens, and spring starts to appear.

Both this weekend's walks started near the Manawatu River. On Saturday I parked near the bridge, then headed over into the Massey grounds, before spending some time in the Aboretum- one of the most unexpectedly peaceful little oases in the city.

Here's my route:

It is of course election season here, and the approach to the bridge is as full of election hoardings as ever:

I loved the shadow patterns as I crossed over the bridge...

I'm trying to 'invent' different variations on the city walkways so I keep my interest level high. Diverting off the Bledisloe walway through the Massey campus led to the discovery of a fern walk that I will explore another day soon. The sign for it alone was very inviting, and I caught sight of big pongas in the gully below.

Once I came back downhill, I sought out the Massey Aboretum. There is often hardly anyone walking here, and it is always a place with unexpected surprises and tranquility.

I kept coming across little signs that spring is imminent, like these fern fronds by the Turitea Stream.

As I arrived back on the Bledisloe Track I enjoyed seeing so much sunshine under these trees, in a place that I have often seen looking wintry and cold, and it was good to pass other walkers here enjoying it.

Today was my second walk, and after dancing around in the water for Aqua Zumba at the Lido, I headed around to the end of Dittmer Drive. I knew that a section of this walk had been widened and improved since I was last here.

I hadn't walked far before coming across a colleague coming back the other way- always nice to see her. A lot of the new section of track is quite open and exposed- would be hot walking on a warmer day. I loved the sight of these cabbage trees.

And not far from there, I saw another exciting sign of spring about to be sprung- a kowhai tree coming into bloom- a very NewZild sign of springtime...

And with those pleasant spring thoughts, it is time to bring the weekend to a close, and get ready for the new work week ahead...