The day started with a good detour. We veered off at Kuwara bridge to watch some brave bungy jumpers free fall at one of the most epic jump spots in the world. Turns out that wasn’t the most entertaining part of the stop! Anne accidentally locked our keys in the car . We watched jumpers as we waited for AA to show up and help us out. As we walked out to the car park to meet the service man, we noticed a handful of people around the car helping out. A few locals and fellow travelers were so nice to guide the service man as he attempted to jimmy the locks – a process that took a good 45mins! I was so heart-warmed by their willingness to take time out of their travels to help strangers. An older gentleman and I got to talking while his daughter was helping with the car. He was from the north island and was driving his daughter about the south island while she visited. He must have been in his late 80’s or early 90’s. He told me all about his two daughters and what their travel plans were… he was so proud. I’m still thinking about this man a few days later – and now I know why. He reminds me of my grandma – such similar qualities of strength (not giving up on adventures because of old age), kindness (striking up a conversation with anyone), and pride (cherishing the blessing of family and love each day). Amazing are the lasting emotions surfaced from a brief encounter with a kind soul.
On to the wine…
New Zealand is known globally for their powerful Pinots and citrusy Sauv Blanc’s…which were lovely, but surprisingly not my favorites of the day. The Pinot Gris from Gibbston Valley and the Rose from Waitiri Creek were off the charts flavorful and had me wishing I could carry a few bottles home. We planned on stopping at most the nostalgic cellar doors recommended, but as usual, plans change…. for the better! At our second vineyard, we met 3 fellas from San Fran who had just completed the Iron Man on the North Island, and had headed south for some wine rehab – we became instant friends (I mean how can we not when all you think about after working out is drinking wine?!? Kindred spirits, to say the least). We ended up spending the entire afternoon on the grass patio at Waitiri Creek sipping rose and swapping stories about vino, sports, kids, work, marriage, love and other drugs. With the sun shining down and glasses forever being topped up, none of us wanted the afternoon to end. Request to all wineries, everywhere: please stay open past 5pm. After cheers’ing farewell, we set off for an early dinner with a view and evening stroll about town with ice cream in hand.
Days don’t get much better than that, they really don’t.