Posted by: dammer145 | November 5, 2008

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We woke up to find that the wind had calmed down a bit – the camper had not washed away! We got up rather late and decided to have our breakfast in Greymouth (at almost all campsites you have to vacate the premises before 10:00). We headed into town in search of a NZ cafe – there are loads of them and they all have the same system: on the counter there are see-through plastic cabinets, some heated, containing pies, cakes, scones, muffins and all sorts of other baked delicacies. You choose what you want, order your coffee/tea/hot chocolate and they bring the whole lot to the table for you five minutes later.

We had our breakfast in the cafe belonging to an exhibition about pounamu: green jade which Maori have used for weapons and jewelry. After working down a scone and a long black we strolled through the (free) exhibition and read up on what jade meant for the Maori people. Apparently Maori were not the only people to use it extensively – so did the Inca’s and the Chinese dynasties.

Greymouth also houses a very famous kiwi institution: the Monteith beer brewery. Monteith’s is a small-scale brewer but considered to be one of the best in the country. At 12:00 there was a tour of the brewery so we went along with that. There were not many people on the tour: just us and four Israelis. We got shown through all the installations (living in Belgium we of course already knew how beer is made). The output of the factory was about 5000 litres per day – in comparison the De Koninck brewery in Antwerp produces 75.000 litres daily. Only seven people work at Monteith’s, keeping costs down.

Monteith's beer collection.

After having been through the installation we were allowed to taste all seven different beers. As I was driving and the NZ drink-drive laws are pretty strict, I “donated” two of my tasters to Anouk. I personally liked the Gold the most, Anouk’s favourite was both the Gold and the Radler.

The starting point of the Southern Alps.

After all that beer Anouk was somewhat jolly and in no uncertain terms she demanded Kentucky Fried Chicken. I had no choice but to give in so we drove down the road to fulfill her demand (I had a sandwich with some of the left-over tuna salad myself).

After that we set off southwards towards the Southern Alps! The roads were rather narrow and windy and it rained all the way. Due to the effects of the beer, Anouk slept all the way. She also rather regretted having eaten KFC later on as it came back with a bit of a vengeance.

Our target for the evening was Franz Josef Township, a small village at the foot of an enormous glacier. We arrived there towards the evening and set up ourselves at the camping. We rented “Miss Potter” from the reception, a film about the life of Beatrix Potter, portrayed rather well by Renee Zellweger. After having made ourselves a huge pile of pancakes, we got nice and comfy and watched the film before making up the beds.

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