Thursday, December 23, 2010

Out of Town to Stratford

Friday, 24th December, 2010
Christmas Eve at the Wavehaven!

Life has been pretty slow here of late, but we have managed to get out and about the last two days, trying to stave off the cabin fever that we've been suffering after seemingly weeks of rain. I don't think it's actually been more than a week and a half, but it feels like forever, and we can't really get out and do things in this rain like we can in Portland, because it's just too heavy. Adding to the cabin fever is the fact that Jono's family are all here for 10 days, filling up the rest of the rooms here in the main house- his parents, sister, young niece and nephew, and a couple others. They are really fun and lovely people, but with that many people spending all their time inside, we end up mostly in our room just for the quiet, thus exacerbating the cabin fever feeling. On Wednesday we decided that we needed to go somewhere in spite of the rain, just to get out of the house and keep ourselves sane.We looked at the map and determined that the town of Stratford was a relatively short drive away, but far enough that we would be seeing some new country. Stratford is in the center of the Taranaki region, just east of Mt. Taranaki in the inland highway.

The rain actually let up for the few hours we spent in Stratford. We didn't find it too exciting of a place, but mostly notable for its dedication to Shakespeare! The city centre sports a glockenspiel (that looks remarkably like the one in Mt. Angel, Oregon) whose figures recite lines from Romeo & Juliet:
(Click on photos to enlarge)

Many of the residential streets are named after Shakespearean characters:

A few other gems about town:

We weren't particularly enthralled with the town, but spent a nice couple of hours in a cafe and then took a walk and found a gorgeous park, which we thought was definitely worth seeing. There is a walkway with a series of swing bridges across the Patea River, which was beautiful.

It was great to get out and see somewhere new, but we realized that we would have rather spent our time exploring Inglewood, which we drove through to get to Stratford. It was a beautiful little town, with some gorgeous buildings:

This building on the corner is very typical of 19th century New Zealand buildings- I love the style.

The trip out of town revived us quite a bit, and we treated ourselves to a delicious home cooked dinner. I had been wanting deviled eggs for several days, so I did those, made with fresh parsley, whole grain mustard and paprika. Matt conceived of and cooked potato-spinach-bacon fritters, which were AWESOME. A good end to the day:

Tune in to the next blog for a description of our sunny Christmas Eve Eve hike yesterday!

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