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Friday, February 5, 2010

TranzAlpine Railway

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Did you know that B and I recently went to New Zealand?!

Don't roll your eyes at me. I can't help but keep posting about it.

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One of our very fantastic excursions was a 5 hour train ride that took us from the east coast, up and over the Southern Alps (yes, there are Alps in NZ) and down to the west coast of the south island.

Have you ever been on a train?

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Besides the fact that we were heading to Franz Josef to hike on this glacier we were really looking forward to this scenic ride.

Here you can see the Waimakariri River below.

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I stood in the observation area for quite a while because I wanted to get pictures for you.

Everything I do, I do it for you, you know.

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Its quite frigid out there and its hard to take pictures when you can't feel your hands.

By the way, when they say "Keep your wands and camera well within the boundaries of the railing" they really mean it. There is like 4 inches of clearance around these trains in the tunnel.

Did anyone notice I wrote wands? I'm going to blame that on the fact that we watched 2 Harry Potter movies while I cleaned last night. Hands. I meant hands. I suppose if you travel with a wand you should keep that inside as well.

I saw a guy nearly lose his telephoto lens entering that tunnel. I was so sure it was going to hit I sheilded my face from the debris. He pulled it in just in time and we stood there panting like we'd just escaped death.

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There are 3 TranzScenic trains and if we had the time I would have done them all. I think the TranzAlpine would have been especially gorgeous in the winter when you take it through the snow. I hear the coastal train is amazing as well.

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The clouds were low thru a portion of the ride and so B an I took a break to eat. 5 hours is a long time, you know.

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As usual, we had to get things we don't see at home. These were the consistency of cheese puffs with a mild bacon flavor and very funny fake bacon striping.

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I had high hopes of this being some chip form of Chicken in a Biscuit crackers but no such luck. I love me some Chicken in a Biscuit crackers.

I didn't take a picture of the interior but it was very nice. We were seated at a table. 2 sets of seats facing each other. The 2 people we were facing were really fun. I originally thought they were married. They were Irish and in their 40's. We found out thru the ride that they were brother and sister, he was visiting and this ride was his Christmas present.

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Oh the mountains and the Canterbury plains were incredibly gorgeous.

So back to the people across from us... I noticed they poured themselves soda and then pulled out their water bottles and diluted their pop. I had to ask. Are you pouring water in your coke?

Hellloooo Dawn. It was Vanilla Vodka and they had the master plan of getting blitzed on the ride over. I mean, who am I to stand in the way of someones master plan? They were quite generous as well. When I sent B to go get me a meat pie, they suggested he also get a hot chocolate. And you know what?

Hot chocolate and vanilla vodka is a fantastic combination to warm you up.

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We stopped in Arthur's Pass to stretch our legs and enjoy the fresh air. To our left are the train tracks and to the right a little river and the forest.

There are 53 residents in Arthur's Pass. It had previously been 52 but the conductor had just moved there the previous week.

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I'm the girl crawling thru the bushes to get a flower shot while everone else is looking up and taking pictures of the mountains.

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B is so patient. He doesn't complain when I yell at him to stop where he is and turn to take a picture. Even if there is a line of people behind him.

Hello Mr. Calf Muscles.

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I had to take a picture of this. There are a handful of houses, a hotel and a kids playground in this microscopic town off the train tracks.

Apparently about 10 years ago a man riding this train saw that the hotel in this town was being sold for $75,000 and he decided to purchase it. Much to his horror after purchasing this hotel he realized that it also came with the adjacent playground, old school building and all the houses.

Basically he unknowingly purchased an entire town for $75,000. By the looks of it he hasn't done any updating either. I believe they said rent runs about $125 NZD per week but I have no idea how you get up there, where you shop at or where you work.

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Although, it would be kind of cool to own a town. I mean, 'round here I couldn't buy a studio apartment for 5 times that amount.

The rest of the train ride was calm and gorgeous. I didn't even open the book I brought along because I was too busy staring out the window.

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It reminded me of looking out the window while we travelled when I was little. I just sat there daydreaming like I used to. Then I realized that the things I used to dream about... well I was living them.

I was in a far away land, exploring new places, finding new treasures and starting a life with my husband. Its not often we acknowledge the exact moment our dreams come true.

I'll have to start being more conscious of it. I mean I can make my own dreams come true. You know, sometimes I dream of cupcakes. Then the next time I eat one I'll think to myself... I'm living the dream, man, I'm living the dream. Well maybe not the dream.. but my dream at least.



  1. Extraordinary scenery! Interesting snacks! What a dream honeymoon!

  2. I love train rides! You get to see so much more than on a plane! Oh and I love me some bacon chips (although I've never tried that kind!)

  3. mmmmmmm. Chicken in a Biscuit.

    I mean, ahem. The pictures are beautiful!

  4. I just have to tell you a Chicken in a Biscuit story. You're probably shocked that anyone actually even HAS one of those...

    So anyway. On my wedding night, shortly after entering our hotel, we realized, as newly wed couples often do, that we hadn't eaten anything all day long. So my man had to run to a local convenience store, because it was the only thing around for miles. He came home with bottled water and chicken in a biscuit crackers, and we proceeded to share the entire box! They had never tasted as good as they tasted then.. in all their curved edgey-buttery-chickeny goodness. (I just made up a WHOLE bunch of words there) I've loved those crackers ever since, and on our ten year anniversary, I created a picnic out of significant food moments over our previous decade together, beginning with chicken in a biscuit crackers and ending with a mini replica of our cake topper. (Because we ate it on our one year anniversary with all of our families)

    So there ya go. My chicken in a biscuit story. :)

  5. I love riding the trains. Especially if they are coal fired and you come back all sooty and blackened!

  6. I just can't get enough of your pictures! These are all so very breathtaking.. I can't even imagine being there in person to take it all in. Vanilla vodka in hot chocolate?! Dawn, really?? :) (Actually sounds verrrry good!) -Tammy

  7. Thanks for crawling to get the flower shot, I love lupines!

    And please keep dreaming! : )

    Be well ~Andrea~

  8. Makes me want to hop over to NZ too:)
    Love the idea of seeing it by train.


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