Wednesday, February 17
Wednesday unfolded as predicted: rain. Heavy, steady rain. Our first thought was that we were glad with respect to our choice to push out the kayak/hike adventure by a couple of days. The next thought, however, was about what we were going to do with our day. No one was interested in more wet bike riding (or hiking).
It was clearly a city-visiting sort of day. The closest city? Nelson, the 50,000-strong urban focal point of the Tasman Bay area.
We individually did some research, and came up with a few good ideas: brewery-visiting (from Andy), a visit to the maker of the "one ring" (from Caroline), and some of Nelson's architectural points of interest (from Pu).
Lori and Andrea elected to stay behind; the remaining six of us piled into one van and drove the thirty minute drive south to the Nelson area. Our first visit was to McCashins Brewery, where we got to sample the finest that Stoke Beers had to offer.
Next, we headed to the downtown core of Nelson, where we parked our van and donned our rainjackets and umbrellas. We explored the area around the nearly hundred-year-old Christchurch Cathedral, then visited the Jens Hansen jewellery, maker of the "one ring" for the Lord of the Rings movies. Caroline bought a nice Fellowship of the Ring pendant, and we got to hold one of the super-sized ring props that was actually used in the filming of the movies.
We explored more of the downtown core of Nelson, grateful for the many cantilevered roofs that allowed us to walk around out of the rain. We stopped for lunch at a downtown pub (where yet more local beer sampling took place), before returning to the van for the ride back to Motueka.
The wind and the rain picked up in intensity as we drove back north to Motueka, and by the time we pulled in to the Top 10 Holiday Park, it was coming down sideways in vicious sheets. A big chunk of a large tree not far from our cabin came down with a crash as we watched. We were increasingly glad - really, really glad - that we had postponed our kayaking by two days. I felt bad for whatever trippers were out in the park right now, battling the inclement weather. Definitely an indoors evening.
With all of the bluster outside, we checked the forecast once again to reassure ourselves. The next day still looked good, and the following days looked even better. Bring it on!