Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New Zealand: air and space

Cindy and I have some friends in New Zealand, Daniela Cavallaro, who is a professor of Italian language and literature at the University of Auckland, and Dan Stollenwerk, a theology teacher at St. Peter's College. At various times they have asked us when we would come to visit, and it seemed like now was a good time, when we were in the same hemisphere. 

Dan and son Stefano at Karekare beach, where some scenes
from the movie "Piano" were filmed.

Daniela was my first professor of Italian at Ohio State, where she did her master's degree. Dan was in the same class, which is how they met. That was 25 years ago. Dan, who lived in Columbus, was studying Italian so he could finish his theology studies in Rome. Later he and Daniela ended up on the same plane to Rome, where she was returning to teach.

The black sand at Karekare beach is rich in iron. A magnet will
create patterns in the sand. Steel companies have made efforts
to get mining rights, so far defeated.  
Karekare beach is popular with surfers. 
 Daniela and Dan hosted us for three days in Auckland, which is a lovely harbor city. A third of the country's 4.5 million people live in Auckland. The population density of 42 people per square mile is about one-ninth of that in China, where we are living now. 

After living for five months in one of the world's largest, most congested cities, the clean air here is a welcome change. 

A wooden Maori meeting house, preserved in an Auckland museum. 

This 80-foot-long war canoe was carved from a single tree trunk.
It would seat 100 warriors. 
We took a train south from Auckland to a national park dotted with old volcanoes and laced with hiking and biking trails.

We biked out to the viaduct that carries the train between
Auckland in the north and the capital of Wellington
in the south.

View from our motel of Mount Ruapehu, which is 9,000 feet.
 The town of Ohakune is quite busy with skiers and snowboarders in the winter, but here it is summer.

On the bike trail from Ohakune. 

 We hiked up to Waitonga Falls on the skirts of 
Mount Ruapehu.
The hiking trail passes through a bog. Crayfish
swam in the little pools. 

At the Waitonga Falls. 

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled on your blog cruising the internet. Enjoyed seeing places I had been! but the most surprising thing was discovering my brother, Dan in your blog site! hope you enjoyed New Zealand - sounds like you did