Vidyamala travels in the antipodes 2017 - instalment one - january
The Wairarapa: Lisa owns the Gladstone Inn which is a country pub on the banks of the Ruamahanga River. It is a gorgeous spot and Sona and I spent time there together, and then I came back for a few days on my own once he'd gone on the Men's GFR retreat at Sudarshanaloka. Here is the pub, the river, and Lisa's delightful dog Bess who as you can see is trying to decide what to do about the fact that she has a ball in her mouth and Sona is offering another one - the dilemmas of being a dog! Lisa and I had a really wonderful moonlit skinny dip one evening that is one of those experiences that gets seared into memory. Pretty awesome, or as they say over here: "sweet as..."
Taupo: Last week I spent a few days at Lake Taupo with Pippa and her partner David - David owns a 'bach' there (NZ for holiday home). The weather has been "F******g S**t" as they say over here and it has indeed been a shocking summer so far. It was 16 degrees last week and we had the fire on. But we still went out in the boat in our woollies, got caught in a rain storm, the sun came out and then I had a freezing swim on the way in. Normally the Lake should be about 20 degrees but it's 17 at the moment. I felt so amazing when I got out! Then the weather got even worse but I made sure I had another swim the next day before getting on the bus to Auckland, where I arrived last Sunday. There was not a soul on the Lake and it was even colder. My chest started to feel like it might seize up altogether and I wondered what to do if I had a heart attack. Decided to ignore that and swam on and my body seemed to acclimatise. It was actually rather wonderful. We also went to the Tokaanu hot baths one day which was delicious. These hot pools are thermal and run by the local Maoris. Still completely the same as when we were kids and not at all commercialised. You can get your own private pool and lounge around for 25 mins. Bliss.