Monday, April 27, 2015

Coastal Pacific Train: Blenheim to Christchurch

What a ride! And our driver gets to enjoy it too. The Blenheim station is sweet. If you like, you can sit right along the track enjoying a coffee and tidbits from the cafe.

Inside, a hardworking staff and delicious selection of food and drink.

Uh oh, someone loves the Marlborough wine country so much she's looking at real estate (with a flat white)...

Here's the route...

Comfortable train, lots of windows, and headsets with occasional narration.

This photo tells a story. The night before leaving St Leonard's Vineyard Cottages I'd made a fat salami sandwich with slabs of creamy bleu cheese and a schmear of the homemade blackberry jam from the little pot in our cottage. Along with some nice sliced raw veggies.

On the train, we're ready for lunch and I open my pack, overstuffed with a raincoat and other non-necessities. And then it occurs: I'd checked us out while Art loaded the Rover, and on my last visit inside I hadn't opened the fridge. Resulting in Bad Ham Sammies with barely any filling from the cafe car.

Be honest: do you see any filling?

Filled up with white bread, we sat back and oh so enjoyed this ride, the east coast of the South Island unfurling as we trundled down it in a narrow-gauge carriage, Chile 6000 miles to the east.

All that bread has to be good for something...

A bit sedated, the views just got better.

Seals (we did see some frolicking) or surfers?

The other side of the train offered equally compelling views.

But to be honest, the shoreline had us.

Astonishingly, for anyone who lives in the US, there's a car up front with open-air, stand-up viewing. I mean!
View from the open car, fresh air frenzy

I will close with a small tale in an effort to equalize my enthusiasm for NZ's friendly, generous people. The taxi driver who ferried us six minutes from the station to our motel in Christchurch was a bona fide putz. He pulled into the motel, literally threw our luggage out onto the driveway, and as we scurried to collect it almost ran us over on his way out. True story. And now we have a little balance.

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