Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Franz Josef- February 14, 2017

What a great morning, we did not leave the hotel until 8:45 am.  Our luggage needs to be outside our room 1 hour before departure whenever we move from one hotel to another. And this morning we were moving once again .  The travels today were westward across the Southern Alps to a little town of Franz Josef.  The sparsely populated area we were driven through was beautiful mountains, some sheep and dairy cattle farms and rivers with glacial silt.  We stopped in Arthur Pass for coffee and bathroom break and then in Hokitika for lunch and a visit to a jade factory.. Continuing on we finally about 4 pm arrived in Franz Josef and the Te Waonui Forest Retreat, our hotel for tonight.  This hotel is the nicest hotel we have been in .  And this is in a little town of about 400 people.  We were greeted with a kiwi drink and a cool wash cloth by a native warrior.  After getting in our rooms and receiving our luggage we again boarded the bus to ride a short  distance to the area of the Franz Josef glacier.  Very often this glacier cannot be seen due to clouds but after some rain and clouds this morning the sun was shining when we got to the path leading to the glacier.  Our tour director, Katie, said that she had not seen the glacier for most of the year and was excited that the glacier was visible.  The glacier was a good distance away but we were able to walk a pathway to get a closer view.  After a day of riding it was good to be out for a walk.  Returning to the hotel we had dinner at the hotel which was a gorgeous meal.  Hot pumpkin soup, a salmon appetizer, then roasted lamb, venison ribs, salad greens, potatoes and for dessert cheeses, pate, fresh and dried fruits and a small tiramisu and wine.  A great way to end the day.
Later note:  the hotel had nice furry decorative pillows on the beds which our tour director said were possum fur.  This fur was very fluffy and soft not at all like what the coarse bristly covering on the animal that we know as opossums.  I later came across a fur store that had pictures of these New Zealand possums which are rather cute furry little creatures related to the koala.  These animals are not well liked in New Zealand as they are not native and have been hard on the native birds as kiwis.