Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 11, 2008 - Raglan

This morning, after one last stop at the library to load up on a reading material, we headed south. Or I should say Sten did. I was asleep within 50km of Whangarei, and didn't wake up again until we were south of Auckland.

Our first stop on the road trip was India.

Then we swung through Italy, where Sten contemplated the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.

Then Japan

and onto jolly old England

Finally, in Southern California I declared that I needed a rest.

Actually, we were wandering through the Paradise Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens, a collection of gardens representing the most significant garden design traditions from around the world. It is like Epcot Center for those of us who like to get our hands dirty. Sten and I particularly liked this formal herb garden.

Dusk found us in Raglan, home of one of the best left hand surf breaks in the world, made famous by the movie Endless Summer. Half mile rides are not uncommon. It is the home of New Zealand's first surf school. We came to town to see if there was any swell, and if so, for me to take a few lessons while Sten surfed. In addition to the surf school for tourists, Raglan is also the home of a surfing academy, a boarding school for kids from around the world that incorporates surfing into the curriculum. Lucky kids. The town has a laid back vibe, and we immediately felt right at home.

We found a room at the Harborview Hotel. Now, when you think of hotels in the States, you think of modern lodging. In New Zealand, a motor inn is more like a US hotel. And a New Zealand hotel is more like a dormitory. Our room above the town's main pub had one overhead light, but no bedside lamps for reading; it had a sink, but no toilet or shower. But it only cost 70NZD per night, so we weren't fussed.

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