Back to our continuing coverage of the south island road trip! — As mentioned in the last post our next stop was Dunedin (again a YHA hostel).
Nothing interesting happened that evening, but the next day we went on not only one, but two tours through local factories. First we did the Speight’s brewery tour and learned all about how beer is made (I also realized I haven’t done a brewery tour in Germany so far Oo). At the end we could try all their different beers… they even do a Pilsner… it didn’t taste like a Pilsner though :P
I’m relatively sure I took pictures during the tour… but I can’t find them -.- So I’ll use Elysia’s and Alison’s photos to give you an idea of the brewery:
The second tour was the Cadbury chocolate factory were we got a lot of chocolate (yay)… and yeah, we also learned something about the production of chocolate :P They have same pretty weird chocolate products… for example kind of a pink marshmallow (shaped as a fish) covered in chocolate… not my cup of tea :P
Before we left Dunedin we stopped at the railway station, which is supposed to be the most photographed building of New Zealand. I don’t know why, it is not that special… but while I was taking photos myself, I got it! So here is the Dunedin-railway-station-conspiracy: Initially the station wasn’t the most photographed building, it was just a building. Nevertheless someone made up that story… visitors heard it and took photos… told other visitors about it… and so on…. and at some point (it may have already happened or will happen in the future) the initially made up story became/will become actually true! And I was part of this evil plan -.-
The first two pictures nicely show the effect of the polarization filter I bought for my camera right before the trip :) The effect can be seen at the car windows in the bottom left area and at the sky. Basically the filter allows me to get rid of or enhance reflections (on plane surfaces) and to reduce the brightness of the sky resulting in more visible details and better saturation of the rest of the photo. Long story short: I love this thing (and it was only about $10) and it is really helpful for landscape photography.
Our next stay was Invercargill, the only place we stayed two nights in a row. Invercargill even was a venue for the Rugby World cup (as I found out later), but only as a replacement for the Christchurch stadium which couldn’t be used due to the earthquake. Anyway… in Invercargill we stayed at Sparky’s backpackers, the first one on our trip which wasn’t a YHA. It was privately owned by a guy (Sparky) who lives in the place himself as well. It was definitely the most colourful and unique backpackers I’ve seen so far. The place was decorated all over with all kind of stuff and some doors where connected to items hanging from the ceiling with a string, so that stuff would move around if you open a door.
I couldn’t put a needle in the visitors map, because Germany was already full :P
And even German “ketchup” was around…
Aaaand… Sparky knows icanhascheezburger :)
Oh yeah, and Sparky’s has a motto: “Sparky’s backpackers, where everyone gets chocolate cake”
And this is how it’s made… you need:
The first batch of cookies has to be crumbled. They go in a plastic box together with the milk and the other cookies are then pushed into the resulting mush. The whole thing goes into the microwave for 10 minutes or so (depending on the amount) and when it’s all done it looks like this:
It tastes surprisingly good, especially combined with ice cream :) And of course we were lined up on benches to observe while Sparky was doing the cake and given instruments to play background music. Also Sparky was wearing a helmet as a safety measure, that’s how you do chocolate cake! :P
Next time: driving down the Catlins coast, sea lions, a lighthouse and Queenstown.
PS: finally some sunshine today, after days of rain :)
I have to tell you about one thing I forget to mention before: getting “ID’d”.
It is kind of annoying me… either because I’m allowed to drink beer in Germany for over eight(!) years now… or because the only legal proof of age I got around here is my passport.
Nearly every pub/bar/whatever got a sign saying something like this: “We are required to request identification from everyone who looks under the age of 25, and the only forms of identification accepted are a valid New Zealand or overseas passport, a valid New Zealand driver license, or a valid 18+ card”
A couple of times they accepted my German ID card, but one time I was really close to not getting any alcohol at all :P For the pub night on Thursday I brought my passport, because otherwise I would not even get in. But I hate carrying my passport with me… it is bulky, does not fit in my wallet and it would be a pain in the ass loosing it!
So basically my only long-term option is getting one of those 18+ cards (or starting to look 25 or older). I already applied for a 18+ card, which involved filling out a form, getting an appropriate ID picture (apparently the ones I brought from Germany are to small), getting a “proof of address” and getting the signature of a Justice of Peace. But since I won’t get the 18+ card for another two or three weeks, I probably have to bring my passport a couple of more times. Sucks.
I got a new roommate yesterday, a dude. This one is from the United States, Connecticut actually (that’s where the character Elliot in the show Scrubs is from).
We also were at a pub yesterday (and the day before yesterday) where we watched a rugby game and tried local beer… yeah… i don’t really like it :P If you are used to drink great German beer, it’s difficult to get exited about the stuff they got here. Well, at least it is a lot better than beer from the States, according to the American/Canadian people around here. So I had a lot of Cider, because I can’t really get those in Germany… and it’s about the same price as beer around here.
Well… and about rugby… I’m not sure what to think about rugby yet ^^ I guess it gets more exciting if you actually know the rules :P But the people around here get as excited about rugby as we get about football (European football!), so there has to be something behind it ;)
Good night Germany.