Easter at the Mount

So, this past weekend was Easter weekend.  Four days off of work for E and most of the country even, so a great time to get away.  We were invited to go down to Mt Manganui with his friends Derek and Victoria to stay at Derek’s parents’ holiday house.

Let me tell you, it was a really fantastic time and I am so glad that we went.  I’ll try to be brief while still giving you the gushing review that you’ve come to expect from me.

Good Friday

After spending the morning packing, E and I drove down to Botany to pick up Derek and Victoria.  We loaded up the car and took off!  The ride was memorable not only for the gorgeous scenery outside of mountains in the distance, Cows, and vineyards, but for the stimulating conversations about visible spectrum radar and whether it would be possible to make a boat move purely with radar power.

After about an hour we came to what was affectionately referred to in our car as “The Gorge”.  The dire warnings from the backseat had ne fearing for my life, this roller coaster that we were about to be on, with a single strip of road winding through a gorge enough to put the highland roads of Scotland to shame. Happily enough, there wasn’t much to it.  There were high walls and a rather nice looking river running through it.  We’ll have to go back at some point and walk through the old mining settlement that is there along the banks.  But I did get a nice picture of a bridge for my mom!

Soon after we were arriving in Tauranga, and then a few turns and we were at the Mount!  Well, almost. We got into the house and settled our stuff in, and then we went out for a nice walk.  We started at the park across the street which had some rather stately looking trees growing.

And then it was a walk along the seaward beach with it’s constant surf and pounding waves, a walk down just at the foot of the Mount, and then we were landward at the quieter water, more of a bay than ocean.  And then it was back to the house for a night of some board games.  Until it was dinner time, and then we went out for some Turkish food that was delightful.  The night ended with us watching Terminator 2 (my first Terminator movie! how exciting!  I can cross that off my list!) and then heading to bed for the next day.

Saturday

Saturday morning started out cloudy and rainy and dreary.  Just like we were expecting it to be. But that was alright, the weekend was made for relaxation.  We stayed inside most of the day, watching television and playing board games.  But we did get a chance to go out for a walk that afternoon, E and I.  We were sent out for bread and milk and we ended up going for another loop around the isthmus.  The pictures that I got of the trees and the architecture are just as amazing as the other evidence of the kiwi spirit that I’ve seen.

First, there’s the fact that there’s both palm trees and Pine trees together.

Then, there’s the absolutely gorgeous architecture.  It seems so ‘Beach town’ at first, but then you realize that a lot of the buildings in this country look like this in some way.  Terraced while being built, lots of windows, absolutely fascinating to look at.  Sometimes I’m reminded of the designs that I used to draw up in high school.

And then, there was just the plain amazing things that you find.  I know that there are amazing pictures in the states, and people who do astounding things that just take your breath away.  But the Kiwis have this ability to just make me smile in the oddest ways.  And with the best stuff.

Yes, the tractor is hooked up to the boat in order to get it to the marina and the water.  It was highly enjoyable.  Of course the next best part of New Zealand, other than the people is the scenery.  And the plants.  Like this Hibiscus.  So Beautiful.

Victoria made us dinner that night and we played some more board games and then headed to bed early, determined to get up and try to beat the rain to the Mount.

Sunday

Happy Easter!  A morning of pouring rain, down pouring rain, and chocolate cross buns.  Which are like hot cross buns but instead of the nasty technicolor citron that is used in the states, it’s made with chocolate chips.  They looked and smelled delicious.  I, however, had a piece of matzah and some cream cheese.

The morning started out slow, but then the rain went away and we decided that we were going to try and conquer the Mount.  I was going to try and conquer it.  Now, by climbing the Mount I really mean going up the rather nice and gentle path that was carved around the side of it.  It’s considered the Easy Way (which as I’ve come to find means ‘slightly suicidal for out of shape american girls’), and I know that I’m much fitter than I was when I went up the Kitekite trail, sure I can do this.


I’m pretty sure that I wanted to die about 200meters in.  Luckily there were stairs and plenty of terracing (from when the Mount used to be an ancient pa (pay), a maori hill fort essentially) for me to rest on.  Victoria, being the athletic lady that she is, took off up a different path than us to run up the mountain.  Why? because she’s just that crazy.  Derek decided to stay with E and myself while I tried to get up the mount.

Let me tell you this, I am fairly certain that had the path been flat and not steep, I would have been fine.  I know this.  But the incline on the path was murder on my knees.  The arthritis is gotten to the point that keeping my knees in the half-bent position necessary for walking up a path like that is murder.

I did, however, make it about 1/3 of the way up the Mount, stopping just below the lighthouse (which is a light housed in a box behind a fence) before I absolutely could not keep going. But, I made it 1/3 of the way up the Mount. that’s a full 1/3 more than I would have done last year at this point.  When I would have looked at the Mount, then at E and told him he was out of his mind and hell no.

Progress!

Derek continued on to the top, since he had the water bottle and Victoria was certain to want a drink. E and I continued back towards the bottom, me with the typical and expected disappointment in myself for failing at what I set out to do, but he of course with the encouragement that I needed and the love that kept me going.

Yes, you can gag if you want to, but I’m not going to listen to you.

The path down was, of course, a bit easier, but the view was amazing.  I knew that we were on a small strip of land, but actually looking down on it and seeing just how thin was impressive.  Four blocks, if that, separated one part of the bay from another.

We headed back to the house, I took a shower to wash off the dirt, sweat, and disappointment in myself.  Derek and Victoria returned shortly thereafter, and right behind them came the rain.

So we played some more board games, and then the rain stopped.  Back to the beach!  Derek and Victoria played volleyball and frisbee and E joined them occasionally.  I walked along the water, getting soaked by the waves and picking up seashells.  Dinner out at a Thai restaurant and then back to the house, another board game and then bed.  We got up early on Monday morning and drove back to Auckland.

It was a fantastic weekend with friends and E, relaxing and energizing.  I look forward to going back at some point in the future and conquering the mountain completely.

oh, as a side note that will be fully updated tomorrow, I am at 130kg.  wooosh

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