from north to south

yesterday I left the North Island… I forgot to mention that on my last day in Wellington I met another German, Susanna. she’s traveling by herself too and she’s coming to the South Island on Friday… we exchanged emails to see if maybe we do part of the trip together…

I came to Picton on the ferry… it’s a VERY expensive way of traveling south, but once you’re there and you see the sounds, and you get the feeling that you are arriving to the South Island… it’s totally worth it!

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I met Cameron on the ferry, he’s from Christchurch. I had such a lovely time with him…. he’s funny and smart, and he told me that if I come to Chch he will show me around (if he’s there, cause he travels a lot).

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so, I arrived in Picton and went to the Tumbstone Backpackers… when Ali and I were on the Internet looking for hostels in Picton, we came across that name (and saw all the good reviews people left), and I couldn’t figure out why someone would call their hostel as if it were a Halloween party. when I arrived to the place though, I could see exactly why they did it…. it is right next to a cemetery… and to make the joke even more obvious, the entrance door is shaped like a coffin.

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I went to the supermarket to buy some food, and back at the German-packed hostel I met (besides “ze Germans”) Jon, from upstate New York.

Jon is here under the working holiday visa; he likes to hike so he invited me to do the Queen Charlotte Track with him for four days… the only problem is: I do not have tramping gear to stay several nights in the outdoors – this being sleeping bag, tent… not even a fork! – so I had to decline after several minutes of consideration, but we decided to do a little bit of local tramping in Picton the next day… and then who knows, maybe we’ll meet again to do some traveling together.

so next morning we went to the supermarket to buy stuff four our fancy pick nick on the mountain and headed to the Queen Charlotte View Track… one thing that truly amazes me of New Zealand is how every touristic thing – tracks, lookouts, rest areas, etc – is signposted giving you directions, information, times… it’s wonderful to get a general idea of what you are doing and where you are going!… so we started the track, and this new friend of mine had some of the most interesting conversations ever! I think we covered all topics… such nice company he was! I really wished I could’ve had all my camping gear to go with him on the 3-4 day track!

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after our beautiful day together, it was time to go back to the hostel and figure out how to get to Nelson not too late… I will be staying in Nelson with Mark’s sister, Donna, so I had to get they “early” so they could pick me up. I sent Donna a message to tell her that I might be hitch hiking, and she called me back telling me that her husband, Colin, was still working near Picton so he could pick me up! apparently, luck is with me on this trip!

it was around four in the afternoon, and Colin would pick me up a little after six… so I was in the hostel with Jon, and when he went to take a shower I met one of the most beautiful couples EVER!
Meet Geoffrey and his beautiful wife who’s name I cannot remember:

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they are from York, and their children live in Australia and New Zealand, so every two years they travel down under to visit them. “they tried to get rid of us by moving to the farthest countries they could find.. but they didn’t count on us coming to visit them every two years!”
they are a beautiful happy couple, over 70 years old each (or more), they met on a trip through the UK when they were young, and one night on the dance floor he asked her to dance, she accepted, and that was it! though the way they tell it is obviously much, MUCH better… I’m just summarizing… Geoffrey has a very nice way of waking up every morning, he told me “if when you wake up, you move your elbows sideways, and you don’t feel wood… then it’s surely a good day because it means you are not in a wooden box… you are alive!”. I fell in love with them, they are radiant, and joyful, and they just love each other so much! when Jon came back and met them (I’m pretty sure he fell in love with them too haha), he asked them “if you could travel back in time to tell your 20 year-old selves any advise, what would this be?” and they simply said: BE YOURSELF AND TALK WITH EVERYBODY!
I had to leave them, and was pretty sad I had to do so, but I’m taking with me their beautiful faces, and their beautiful words.

and… to Nelson (Richmond actually)…

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