Saturday, May 02, 2015

Esplanade in Autumn

I've been home for two weeks, and have to confess I have been quite 'lazy' after my exertions in Umbria! Today I had a short walk in the Esplanade here in Palmy to acquaint myself with the fullness of autumn, after my brief foray into the northern spring!

Here are a few photos.
 Walking along the Fitzherbert Ave boundary on the footpath is quite a riot of autumn colour at present.
 The colours of maple leaves lie discarded on the footpath...

 As in any season at the Esplanade, there are surprising plants lurking in the undergrowth.

 I'd not ever noticed this very healthy pair of chooks wandering in the Esplanade before, but they seemed quite at home amongst the ducks at the duck pond.

 I love the Conservatory, with its tropical colours and shapes... and the fish seemed to swimming in ample profusion under this wee fountain today.

 The playground is quite 'muddy' as they are renewing and adding various pieces of equipment, but the trees change colour regardless...
 ...and it was warm enough for lunchtime picnics.

 The glory of autumn- makes the transition into winter seem not quite so severe.

On the trails of St Francis

I have been 'away' briefly, walking for ten days along trails of St Francis, in Umbria, Italy and blogged about it over here! It was a magnificent walk, with lots of spectacular views (largely because of the many hill climbs and descents involved!

I have also put up a Flickr album of photos from my time away here: Umbria 2015.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


I had a short afternoon wander in the Esplanade today- my last before I leave on Thursday for Rome and Assisi. Here is a fuschia in the autumn light.

For anyone interested in that trip, I will be blogging if I find wifi at Festina Lente- Hurry Slowly- always my motto when walking! It will be a little strange to jump from home to have a brief interlude in early spring.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Windmills pre-cyclone

The windmills from the lookout on the Manawatu Gorge walkway viewing point- my lunchtime spot.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Esplanade Wander

This morning I was 'packing' for my upcoming walking trip in Umbria- washing the clothes I might take, buying a few new items... And though the lawns need doing this afternoon, it is too warm at present, so I had a brief walk in the Esplanade. It's a 'rejuvenating' place that always has new bits of beauty lurking.

 I started at the playground end, near the bridge. The old bridge has a part 'left behind' in commemoration, and today it stood out clearly against the sky.

 The weather here is beautiful today- warm and fairly calm, but all sorts of clouds are starting to build up, and we know Cyclone Pam is causing a great deal of havoc in Vanuatu to the north of us.

 Despite a couple of days of recent rain, the river level is still very low, with many beds of shingle where usually you see only water.

 The clouds look ominous above the terrace out Massey way.

 It was warm and pleasant, but the sight of these clouds behind the palms made me think of the people in the Pacific suffering this cyclone.

 On a warm day I enjoyed the 'cooling' effect of walking in the native bush, near these pungas.

 Every season has its flowers in the Esplanade, even in the dead of winter if you look...

Some of the dahlias in the 'butterfly' garden are starting to have an end-of-season look about them, but the monarchs are still feeding there.

 Outside the conservatory, there is almost a feeling that you might be in Mexico...

 Inside the Peter Black Conservatory, all kinds of flowers are in bloom at present. Here are just two.

 The gardeners at the Esplanade do such a fantastic job. I love the colourful beds they plant that speak so loudly of summer.

And new playground equipment is appearing. This climbing frame makes me think of pirates, so I am sure it must be making the children imagine similar things.

Tomorrow it's the Manawatu Gorge again. This is the third to last weekend before I leave. Now, off to do those lawns I have procrastinated about...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Exploring in Wellington Pt2

Back from a drive around some bays, I took a wander down Lyall Bay again, plus a little further south along the road, and just as the sun was losing its hold on the bay, I walked back. I won't elaborate- but here are some Lyall Bay photos...

Exploring in Wellington Pt1

This weekend I came to Wellington for a special event, and am so pleased I stayed an extra night to breathe in some sea air. As it happened Wellington was really full on Friday night, with the NZ-England cricket game, and national swimming champs. So instead of staying in a more central part of town I had to venture out. Turns out that was a real blessing. I am in the Airport Motel in Lyall Bay. The room is quite small, but oh what a view over Lyall Bay. Heaven is...

Last night's event was also sea-front, at The Pines in Houghton Bay. Here's a family photo - rarely is such a thing included in this blog- but I love the silhouettes!

This morning I woke much earlier than planned so took a walk to Kilbirnie, somewhere I hadn't wandered before. Here are a few photos from along the way.

I finished with a walk back along Lyall Bay. Next it was time for a drive around some bays, and I headed down via Moa Point. Some showers were to intervene for a while.
 Here is the Interislander heading for the South Island. I was stunned by how many times I saw ferries today but I guess locals get used to it.

The rain ended though, and some sailors took to the water.

I stopped for the first time ever at the famous cafe at Scorching Bay, and indulged in a hot chocolate.

One of the 'ships' on a mural at Scorching Bay.

And to finish this part of the blog post, here is the Bluebridge Ferry heading out of the harbour.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

OTGK Circuit

It's just under seven weeks now before I leave for Italy and my walk in Umbria, on some of the (hilly) trails of St Francis, and yesterday it was time for some 'distance' walking. So it was back to my circuit on Old West- Turitea- Greens - Kahuterawa Rds. (Last time I did it you can read about here.)

I started earlyish in case it got hotter than predicted, and had the reward of some beautiful patterns of sunlight on the clouds.

When I walked the Camino, there came times when I felt like I was taking too many photos of 'signs'- as they seemed so interesting. But back home, out of the walking context, I wished I had taken more 'signs' photos. Here is one on today's route- and I wonder what 'signs' I will bring back from Italy. I won't be shy about taking too many!

Here is another sky/early sunlight photo from along Old West Rd- a beautiful time of day to be out walking. It looks fairly 'dry', but we actually were rescued from even drier conditions by very heavy rain in the last two weeks.

I saw some 'striders' set out ahead of me along Turitea Rd. I never caught up to them and soon enough they were out of sight completely!

Trees against the sky always catch my eye...

Our little rural bridges are such a lifeline for people down these roads. 

It's getting hillier as I come near the end of Turitea Rd- and these sheep are definitely suspicious of me...

Another tree/cloud/light combo. The clouds and the light interplayed the whole day in unpredictable ways. One of the treasures of being in an island nation.

The dryness of the hills is evident- though much greener no doubt after recent rain.

The climb after the water treatment station on Turitea Rd was accompanied by Higgins' action today- they are adding new gravel to the road surface.

And all the familiar joys where there- fern fronds against the sky.

Summer was clearly a time for spider nests- saw many.

And the lichen still looked wonderful on these fence posts near the top of the Turitea Rd climb.

I did the 'Camino thing' and took my shoes and socks off for a breather when I had a rest/refreshment stop after 10km. The wind was whistling through at this point- always interesting which angles of the Green's Rd walk catch the wind. But I quite liked the feeling of the cold breeze on my bare feet.

Here is a view looking down Green's Rd.

Lots of thistles were in flower today- and bumble bees never seemed to be far away from them.

At the high point on Green's Rd I always love the view down to the plains below. The summer colours seemed especially vibrant today.

A feather caught on the roadside verge...

More tree/clouds action, this time on Kahuterawa Rd as I near the end of the day's walk. 

And a final sign. After some huge grass fires on rural properties recently, there is a total fire ban in place...

And for the nerds like me, I have recorded the altitudes of the walk using Strava. It fascinated me that the App was able to keep recording GPS coordinates even in the places where I lost internet connection. And Strava was very light on data usage. Feels like a lot of climbing on the last segment of Turitea Rd, and along Green's Rd- but actually I reach a higher altitude (400m) on the Gorge track- where most of the rest of my training is likely to be...