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Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Date with Dolphins


Volcanic rock formations in Akaroa harbor


I woke up to find it was a bit too early, and after lazing for a while got dressed to explore the streets of the city. Previous night I tried to connect in to the Wifi network and as I did not succeed, I walked down to the lobby of the hotel to find no one other than a cute Korean girl. She was also struggling to make her own Internet card work. We settled in the sofa and soon were able to successfully log onto the network.

Cold winds and the fresh air filled my lungs as I walked on the deserted streets admiring the old building of Canterbury Museum and continued further on to a long stretch of road along the Hagley Park! Tall trees and bushes are spread over miles of the park area right in the midst of the city. No wonder, Christchurch is called as the ‘Garden City’!

After returning to the room we got ready for going by bus to Akaroa, which is a tourist destination about 84 km away from Christchurch! Akaroa stands for ’long harbor’ in Maori language. The bus arrived in time and the friendly driver John ushered us into the bus! We were the only passengers traveling so after settling down the driver continued to chat with me as he showed us around the city and the country side. He told me that Richard Hadlee ,the  New Zealand cricket team fast bowler of yesteryears was his school mate!

New Zealand is endowed with so much of beauty all around that one can close the eyes and click the camera to find a picture postcard setting in any direction. The bus stopped for a while at Little River which has a quaint old railway station and has a train too from the era of 1800! We halted for around fifteen minutes and went around the few shops in this little village town. The air was filled with aroma of tea trees and maple trees. Manuka and Native bush honey is produced here! After a brief stopover we continued the journey through the unending snow clad mountain ranges, to stop at a Cheese Factory. We went around the cheese making plant and sampled some of the most delicious varieties of cheese being produced here. En route we came across hundreds of cows and sheep dotting the modern farms. The bus started upward climb to offer the magnificent panoramic view of the lagoon of Akaroa in one direction and Kaikoura in the opposite direction. One can see the sea in either direction from the cliff top! We reached Akaroa in 2 hours. Soon after getting down, reconfirmed our booking for the nature cruise  in the harbor, and collected the boarding passes for a ride two hours later. The town has just 3000 inhabitants and a wide open expanse of turquoise blue sea, beautiful houses overlooking it, sea gulls, sparrows circling the sky and trees lined on lovely boulevards. The New Zealand government has created a number of free hot spots everywhere to encourage the growth of internet. So it is easy to connect with world through smart phones or laptops/ tablets at any place! We sat down to admire the beauty of the place and fed the sparrows and sea gulls with snacks that we had! They flocked all around us and happily gave us company with constant shrill of acknowledgement as they quarreled amongst themselves to catch the food from mid air! The ferry departed from the terminal precisely at 1245h and the crew offered us a welcome drink as we boarded the small boat. There were just two more families besides us. A total of seven passengers! The boat tore through the blue waters and headed out in the bay cutting through the icy winds! We came inside the cabin unable to bear the chilly winds.


Welcome sight of Hector Dolphins
We were shown around the multihued rock formations created by volcanic eruptions hundreds of years ago. There are very few places in the world with such biodiversity making the area fit for survival of some of the most unique creatures like ‘Hector Dolphins’( smallest in the world measuring  just about 3feet !) There are just a few thousand of these left. The skipper of the boat narrated the story of French settlers, the Maori tribes and their unique customs as the boat moved along. After half an hour the boat slowed down as the small dog which was also in the boat excitedly started to bark! It seems the dogs can smell the presence of Hector Dolphins and lo and behold, they came in small swarms and danced in the air and enthralled us with leaps in air!! It was like a group of excited school children giggling aloud as they played!  Swimming with the dolphins is very popular during the summer months.

 We next moved to see a colony of seals which were very tiny and were scampering over the rocks! Small seals and blue penguins inhabit the land masses along sea shore that hide in the holes created by hot gases from the lava thousands of years ago.
 We were rewarded in more than one ways including a treat of home baked chocolate cookies offered by our hosts as we sailed back into the harbor! The Akaroa harbor has Salmon fish farm too! The boat trip lasted a little more than two hours through one of the most pristine and un spoilt waters! 
A short wait in the nearby library and the bus arrived to take us back to Christchurch. On arriving back in the city we were greeted with rains! How lucky, that it did not rain during the day!

PS- This is the second post on the recent trip to New Zealand to share some exciting moments with all the lovely readers. One more post on some more moments of exhilaration would follow before bringing down the curtain.


                                             Seagulls as companions to eat in Akaroa harbor

116 comments:

  1. That was a lovely trip with you Rahul. Only when we find such posts do we realise that the world is indeed full of such wonderful places which we might never be able to see! Thanks for the tour :)

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    1. A life time is not enough to see the bounties the god has generously bestowed upon us, Zephyr! Thanks a lot and wish you see and enjoy many places on your wish list:)

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  2. giant turtles, volcanoes and now Hector Dolphins.......it is a beautiful place I am told . Thank you for giving us a glimpse of the beautiful land.

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    1. Thanks Alka, and my reward is a comment from someone who writes so well to have liked the post:)

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  3. Delightful! :-) Ah,maybe some day. New Zealand always sounds fascinating - I've read a few books set there...and naturally want to see it.

    Thanks for sharing your tour!

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    1. I wish your dream is fulfilled soon Vidya:)Thank You!

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  4. oh..what a lovely description..I was transported to the beautiful place in my imagination. Thanks for the tour :-)

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    1. Very kind of you Uma for that nice comment! Thanks a lot:)

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  5. Hi,

    Dolphins are such cuties:)
    What an experience..!

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    1. Welcome Ghazala, to my blog and am honored to have that kind comment from you! It was a memorable experience for sure!

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  6. what a lovely post! sounds like a place i really want to see someday :)

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    1. A big thanks Ash! Hope you visit the place sometime soon:)

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  7. Replies
    1. I am happy you enjoyed reading, Izdiher:)

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  8. Ah! What a wonderful date! So glad to have visited a part of New Zealand through your beautiful words and lovely experiences, thank you :)

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    1. A memorable date Arti, it was! Thanks for your nice and supporting comments! Am enjoying your blog on Japan...

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  9. Thanks Rahul for giving us this arm-chair tour--the country looks very beautiful,imagine living in a town having only 3000 inhabitants-what bliss!

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    1. I am very happy that I could hold your attention Indu! The place is a sheer bliss:)

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  10. Dolphins are a sight to watch. They are said to be Man's best friend. When I was in Kerala, I was lucky enough to see Dolphins, many a times. Nice pictures and videos sir. Wonderful ;-)

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    1. Ashwini, am so happy that you found time to read through my old posts. This is my reward for writing in the true sense. Dolphins are indeed very adorable:)

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  11. You do New Zealand proud with your lovely stories, Rahul. Thank you.

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    1. I bow to you KayEm for being so kind to say so! Coming from someone who has been there all the while is indeed a great feeling!

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  12. You put the account interesting to read, and make me felt being along with you there! It seems like a fantastic place to explore.

    I liked the video!

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    1. Thanks a lot Jeevan for that lovely comment!

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  13. I wonder whether the place was so beautiful or you have written it beautifully. I guess a mix of both as if I go, I will tell in simple words, I went, saw this, saw that.
    You make the trip gorgeous in your words. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Saru, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and you are so generous with words that it leaves me elated ! A sincere thanks again. I still remember that you wanted to see the longer video of whale watch, but due to size I could not upload. Will send you the link once I can upload :)

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  14. Very beautiful article on a beautiful place!

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    1. A big thanks, Kusum and someone who has seen so much of the world means a lot to me:)

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  15. New Zealand is indeed a beautiful country, you are lucky you could visit it.For some of us, we would just end up reading about it.
    It is so well written, giving the feeling as if we ourselves are there experiencing all the things described.

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    1. Rama, I consider readers like you to be my mascots of luck who like what I dole out:) I wish you see the places on your wish list:)

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  16. Hi Rahul

    Very nice description. It was like I was with you and your family on that boat. Seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat is definitely an amazing experience, especially unique ones like penguins and seals. Lovely post!

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    1. Jaishree I am honored to have a reader like you and am grateful for such nice words! Those creatures were absolutely adorable and wish I could describe them even better!

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  17. Lovely post with wonderful natation. Thank you for the beautiful virtual tour!

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  18. I am so jealous of you :). I love these wonderful destinations that you visit. How lucky are you! Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences with us.

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    1. Thank you Rachna for being there for these nice comments:) Lucky I am to see the place and luckier to have a reader/writer like you!

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  19. The last video of the seagull birds is also wonderful... I wonder how the water is so blue (in the first photo). You could have put up a few more pics from that place with water and rocks...

    Destination Infinity

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    1. A sincere thanks DI for having liked the post!

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  20. JEALOUS OF YOU :D awesome destination, but please keep touring :D we all will know whom to contact when we want more information on any particular destination ;)

    Nice posts, lucky you all to be among beautiful nature!

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    1. Please do'nt be jealous Ramya:)You will see more places than me! I promise to give you information whenever you seek:)A big thanks!!

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  21. Amazing narration .. I was literally with you all the time .. Thanks a lot for sharing such a nice post. It's very helpful as well ..

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    1. Welcome to my blog and thanks a lot for your kind comment!

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  22. I had the chance to meet wildlife dolphins in LA, they are amazing creatures!

    Don't Call Me Fashion Blogger
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    1. Very true, Francesca! Such cute creatures , dolphins are:)

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  23. What a great recollection from such an unforgettable place. I hope one day to visit New Zealand or Australia, but with my reluctance to fly on long haul trips, I wonder if it will ever happen.;)
    I like your clips, very good quality.,)
    Thank you for your continuous visits and really kind comments at my place,
    xoxo

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    1. NZ is a lovely destination to see some great nature's bounties!Thanks a lot Zuzana for your comment!

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  24. This reminds me when i was in Oz, we went to see the dolphin shows and even in singapore.. such beautiful intelligent creatures ..

    thanks for sharing the joys Rahul sir, Next year i plan to go to new zealand tooo pakka

    Bikram's

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    1. Memories like these get etched, Bikram no matter where you happen to see them! Best wishes for your trip to NZ and hope you make it!

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  25. I am certainly enjoying your trip along with you and your family :-) Your narration is gripping Rahul!

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    1. A sincere thanks for those words Padmaja! I too enjoy narration of these escapades to readers like yourself!

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  26. Such a wonderful and a detailed account rahulji. You wirte travel episodes so beautifully, that it makes the readers feel that they were there too.

    Dolphins just 3 feet long, how cute are they :-) and the color of the water from the photo itself somehow gives the chilly icy feeling.

    One of my friends from NZ, told us abou the internet connectivty. Nice to have net while one is travelling too!

    Rahulji, once this series ends, please do start some of your older trips. reading your travel episodes is a pleasure(something very similar to reading Kusum's scrapbook)

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    1. A big thanks Jenny for that very nice compliment!I have a lot of tales to share of my older trips and would be more than happy to write for readers like you:)This is my reward!!

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  27. Nice post and I love the photo. I haven't seen dolphins in the wild yet. Maybe someday. NZ is a beautiful place.

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    1. You are not too far from NZ so you can see anytime:)

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  28. lovely post...seems u had a great time!

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    1. Thanks Ashok! A great time certainly!

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  29. I have seen dolphins in Singapore and some in Australia - I have only visited Auckland in New Zealand as my brother is living there :) Hopefully, I shall visit Christchurch soon - it seems to be one fabulous place!

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    1. Divyya there are many places where one can see dolphins in NZ so you must see on next trip:) Hector Dolphins are only in Akaroa! Thanks for your comment

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  30. Can you set me on a date with the dolphins too? :P

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    1. Sure Juhi, will set a date with you too! Thanks :0

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  31. What a delightful post this is, sir!! :)


    I'm new to the blogging world.. Come along and tell me your views about my blog :)
    Also, Would you like to follow each other? Let me know :)

    ~Boomerang Plus: http://boomerang-plus.blogspot.in/

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    1. Thanks a lot, and welcome to my blog! You have an interesting blog:)

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  32. I'm in love with dolphins, they are so beautiful, sweet and intelligent!


    Alessia

    THE CHILI COOL


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    1. Thanks a lot Alessia !Every one loves dolphins:)

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  33. Loved your description of the natural beauty of New Zealand, you have made it come to life in this post. I think I would also love to explore Akaroa, it sounds heavenly! And what an amazing variety of sea creatures, seeing the dolphins up-close must been a truly memorable experience. Your photos are lovely, especially of the volcanic rock.

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    1. Sam, a big thanks for having enjoyed the read. The place is a must see if you happen to visit NZ in near future for all the prevailing calm and beauty:)

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  34. Thanks for giving us a view of new Zealand. Will try to soon read the earlier one on it too

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    1. Thank You Jerly! I tried to give you a feel of the lovely place!

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  35. Umm..not fair..you went on such a beautiful trip and we don't get to see the pics? haha...just kidding. That was a nice trip.. good that I postponed to read this in leisure as I wanted to savour the beauty of the places..:)

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    1. Thanks a lot for reading this at a leisure time! I wish I could have added more pics for your visual delight:)

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  36. My son had visited this place, a few years back. We are yet to visit! Now, after reading your post, we are planning to go there early!

    Loved the pictures and video. Thank you. More pictures please!

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    1. Am sure Sandhya, your son would have narrated similar stories:) Thanks a lot for your nice comment and wish had added more pics:)Hope you too see the place sometime soon!

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  37. After reading your blog, vising New zealand is definitely on my wishlist!! Very well described!!

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    1. I assure you will have lots of fun visiting the lovely country NZ, Radhika! Thanks a lot for your kind comment!

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  38. I can see the beauty of New Zealand through your narration...And cute videos of Dolphins and birds.....Thanks for sharing your experience :)

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    1. Thanks Valli that you enjoyed reading :)

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  39. Wow! Sounds exciting... Wonderful write-up on your experience! Thanks for sharing

    Hugs
    Shilpa

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    1. Exciting it was Shilpa. A big thanks!

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  40. that was a fun read!! absolutely loved it!! Richard Hadlee's schoolmate? that's cool.

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  41. Thanks a lot Debajyoti ! Am happy you liked!

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    1. Welcome to my blog Shalu! Thanks a lot for liking:)

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  43. loved both the videos!! Thanks for sharing !
    These dolphins are absolute lively creatures :)

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    1. Thank you Ramya, that you liked the post and the videos:)

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  44. Super post! Dolphins are the most adorable of sea creatures. It must have been a fantastic experience to see them up and close in nature.

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    1. Welcome to my blog Richa, and it was a delight to see your blog and read travel tales! It was a lovely experience to see dolphins in their natural habitat!

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  45. What a marvellous adventure!

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  46. re: Thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog earlier :)

    New post is up: Inspirations is Handy

    ~Boomerang Plus

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  47. Looks like you had a wonderful time, Rahul. Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures.

    P.S. I am not jealous, but Super Jealous ;)

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    1. It was indeed a great time Rachna:) Without your nice remark the travel tale remains incomplete:) A huge thanks for being there minus jealousy:)

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  48. Have a wonderful weekend Rahul!

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  49. Beautifully narrated. Wi fi refusing to connect in NZ - strange. I loved the post.

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    1. Thanks a lot PN! The problem was with the setting in smart phone:)

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  50. You soaked me relentlessly deep in New Zealand!

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    1. A huge thanks USP for that remark! Hope you are not tired of it:)

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  51. Wonderful post and a wonderful trip sir :) My to-do list of visiting countries is ever increasing :D

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    1. Thanks a lot Binu for your kind words! Yes too much beauty in the world to see!

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  52. Have a good weekend, Rahul!

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    1. Thanks Eden, have a lovely weekend too:)

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  53. Well, what I think.. it must be good friction in these mountains for climbing?:-) I would love to visit after what you written.., but it is so far away..

    Hope you have a blessed weekend:-)

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  54. Thanks a lot Tanya!Have a nice week:)

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  55. Sounds magical... I would love to go to New Zealand :-D

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    1. Thanks a lot Agnes! Yes NZ is a treat to visit!

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  56. nice seems very interesting...
    :)

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    1. Interesting for sure, Harman! A must visit place:)

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