Today pretty much marks the end of the trip for this is the point at which we start heading back to Auckland. From here it’s pretty much straight back to Auckland with a few overnight stops in between. It’s that point where you’ve almost seen all there is to see, and start feeling a tad homesick. Well… not so much homesick, but moreso that you just want to bunker down in one place for more than 2 nights! The constant upping and moving and driving day in day out all gets a bit exhausting, and as fun a nomadic lifestyle in, it does wear you down.
It was approximately an 8 hour drive from Franz Josef to Picton and we had originally planned to stop at Westport. 8 hours is a fair stretch. The sucky thing about this is that if we stop off at Westport, it means that we still have a 4 hour drive ahead of us tomorrow to make the 2pm ferry from Picton to Wellington. That would suck even more, and so we just ended up driving the whole way from Franz Josef to Picton nonstop.
Kinda goes without saying that by the time we arrived in Picton we were completely buggered and my ass was probably more sore than that of a catholic alter boy’s from sitting in the car so long…. It was a pretty good drive, with winding roads and nice twisting turns. But at this point my mind was so focused on just getting home that I couldn’t be stuffed taking any more photos along the way.
On that note, I have to say we’ve been completely spoilt by the pristine and out of this world lakes between Tekapo and Queenstown. The lakes from here on were just normal lakes. Just a month ago I would have gone “oh wow!”, but now…. nothing. Just a shrug of the shoulders! And so we drove, and drove, and drove. Sheep, cows, lake…. sheep, cows, lake…. so on and so forth….
Can’t remember what time we arrived in Picton but the drive ended up being about 6.5 hours or something like that… I think. We just checked into the motel, rested a bit, then hunted around for a dinner venue.
Dinner was pretty bog standard small town fare. It’s a gut filler, that’s basically it. The locals in there were pretty chatty with a couple dining there and the waitress just chatting to us all about our trip. We basically picked away at the average meal and retired back to our room for the next day. Since we were already in Picton, we rescheduled our ferry from the 2pm to the 7am so we didn’t have to bum around the tiny little town.
The ferry trip to Wellington was well…. pretty much the same as the one from Wellington to Picton, minus the smelly livestock. It was an older boat. Erica ended up sleeping in the lounge for most of the trip whilst I made some good headway in sorting through my mountain of pics from the past few days. I had the obligatory nasty ferry breakfast of which Erica wisely passed on, and it was time to disembark before we knew it. Thank god….
We checked into the Copthorne Hotel when we arrived in Welly which sounded pretty good at the time. The room was nice, but the internet charges were akin to getting fucked in the ass with a 12 inch cock (girthwise). $35 for a full days internet access which sounded fine, but the caveat was that it was only up to 50mb of traffic it would be 10c per meg after that! Fuck you very much Mr Copthorne! I hit the quota in about 30mins! I had to disable images so as not to blow the cap too far!
Every other hotel was basically a flat rate. None of this 50mb bullshit. Ahhh well…… we ordered in some room service wedges as we were too lazy to venture out, and then we fell asleep. Erica woke up and wanted to go visit the Museum but I was too tired, and so she went alone. She reported back later that it actually wasn’t too bad at all.
By now I was seriously craving some good pasta, and after doing some research online decided on this joint called La Casa Pasta. Oh, before I forget, what is up with these bus things that are powered from above? It’s just bizarre! I mean, fair enough trains and trams are powered by their connection to the lines above, but buses??? It was just a bizarre concept! Wouldn’t it just be easier to have I dunno…. regular busses??? Wouldn’t it be all to easy for one of the drivers to accidentally lose control and I dunno, tear the whole thing down?
Anyway, questions questions. La Casa Pasta on the surface looked like an Italian Restaurant and sounded like an Italian Restaurant. You know the saying about how “if walks like a duck and quacks like a duck”? Well it sure as hell didn’t apply here. All signs pointed to it being an Italian place and from the name one would be forgiven for making the assumption that they had in the very least a decent pasta menu. Bzzzzz…. wrong!
The first thing that struck me as a bad sign was that the chef felt obliged for whatever reason to put his name on the front page of the menu. I mean, even fucking Tetsuya Wakuda or Neil Perry don’t do that. So I say to you, Mr Chef K.L Tong, splashing your name on the front menu page of what most would assume is an Italian restaurant doesn’t exactly inspire customer confidence as to the authenticity of your food.
Now normally I wouldn’t give two shits about this, but the reason I did was because I was craving good pasta like nothing else, especially after the horrible Linguini I had back in Franz Josef. So opening the menu to a place called La Casa Pasta, seeing only 4 different pasta dishes, and other dishes of questionable heritage such as Spiced Chicken Wings and something with curry, all hope of some decent Italian started to wane….
Anyway, the chicken wings tasted very thai, but to their credit were pretty good. The bolognese itself also wasn’t too bad, though not a touch on Erica’s home cooked wonder. But the Fettucini monstrosity was just terrible. And just when we thought that was as bad as it could get, out came the apple crumble. This was something that had obviously been reheated in the microwave and was as soggy as old man balls after an hour in the hot tub. Just terrible…. after this meal I REALLY REALLY couldn’t wait to get back home!!!
As you could probably tell from my obvious lack of enthusiasm (and photos) from this post, I just couldn’t wait to get home! But all’s not too bad, we still had a couple of activities left to look forward to in the coming days and so hopefully all those things would pan out as planned.