Tokyo Sightseeing

10 April 2017

I’m up at 5:00 in the morning, my body clock has kicked in and its telling me its 6:00 (Brisbane time) Monday morning and time to go to work.   My early rise gives me the opportunity to capture a lovely sunrise photo. The low clouds of yesterday have cleared and its promising to be a nice day.

Sunrise over Asakusa

We are up on the 26th floor for buffet breakfast by 6:30 and down in the foyer at 8:00. Our group slowly assembles and at 8:15 we head out for our day of sightseeing. First it’s a ramble to the Sensoji Temple complex, Masa explains the significance of the healing incense smoke and the water purification ritual. Howard tosses a few coins into the temple’s well and wishes a modest wish (to match the modest donation) and I get another fortune. This time I only get medium luck so I give this to Howard and keep my good luck from yesterday.

Keith, Charissa, Howard, Masa-san and Nancy

Masa-san and Nancy show how its done

Then down Nakamise Dori the main street leading to the temple and through the Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate. Sensoji is the one of the most popular temple complex in Tokyo, both for Japanese and tourists. Masa also explains the difference between a temple and a shrine. Shrines are Shinto, the traditional Japanese religion that believes in the gods of nature and in nature (shrines have the plain tori gates). Temples are Buddhist which came to Japan about 14 centuries ago (temples have the red ornate tori gates). Most Japanese take advantage of the best of both religions, Shinto for births, coming of age blessings and marriages and Buddhism when then need help and death. Very practical.

Nakamise Dori

Kaminarimon / Thunder Gate

We then catch a ferry down the Sumida River to Hamarikyu Gardens, once a duck gaming reserve now a strolling water garden with lovely traditional layout. One of the highlights is a 300 year old pine tree. Beautiful.

Cherry blossoms by the Sumida River

Cruising the Sumida River

Hamarikyu Gardens

Tea House at Hamarikyu Gardens

Check out these blossoms, Hamarikyu Gardens

300 year old pine tree, Hamarikyu Gardens

A short walk later we enter the restaurant floors of a massive office building for lunch. With luck there is a Din Tai Fung, one of our all time favourite Taiwanese chains. We scoff our set lunch meals again and we are off again. Through a labyrinth of doors, halls and elevators and onto a mini bus to be transported across town to the Meiji Temple complex. It’s a relaxing walk through the park to the temple – unfortunately the complex is covered due to renovations in preparation for the 2020 Olympics and you’re are not allowed into the temple unless you are there for a ceremony.

Meiji Temple

Sake barrels at Meiji Temple

Burgundy Barrels at Mejii Temple

But there is a very amusing Ema prayer

Ema, Votive Tablets

Back on the mini-bus to the Toyko Metropolitan Building and up to the 45th floor to the observation deck for a 360 degree view of Tokyo. As far as the eye can see in every direction there are buildings, building, buildings. Tokyo has a population of just over 13.5 million people, which is mind boggling considering the whole of Australia only has 23 million.

Back on the bus again we are transported back to the Asakasa View Hotel for a free night, upon Masa’s advise we head to the main shopping street to find somewhere for dinner.

But first another pit stop at Don Quitote to source an Australian / Japanese power plug, gloves and beanie for me (its going to be v cold tomorrow). After perusing dozens of menu’s and peering into even more doorways, we pick an Okonomiyaki restaurant in Chuo Dori Street, there is no English name written so I can’t tell you what its called.

Okonomiyaki restaurant, Chuo Dori Street

Okonomiyaki and Noodles

We have just discovered Shochu (showchu) which is a clear spirit like sake but made from sweet potato or barley instead of rice. Masa has assured us that you don’t get a hangover from Shochu. Lets test the theory!

The dinner is delicious and very cosy with the hotplate warming us up. All in all a great day and night!

Getting to know Asakusa

9 April 2017

Our tour with Inside Japan does not start until 7:00 tonight when we meet our group and go for dinner.

Until then we are free for a bit of sight seeing. Alas, it’s a very wet, dismal day.

Sensoji Temple from our hotel room

We head out to the famous Ueno Park to see the sakura (cherry blossoms) but quickly turn back due to the rain. Instead we head to the Sensoji Temple and the relative protection of the narrow streets and alleys around the temple. At the temple I waft the incense smoke across my face for a bit of healing and then get my fortune told for 100 yen.

Sensoji Temple

Beautiful sakura at Sensoji Temple

No 91 GOOD FORTUNE

Bad fortune in the past will change to be good, just like the crescent grows to be full, you luck will grow to be good to the full.

From the palace in the clouds, wealth and treasure will come to you.

Make haste in doing whatever you want.

The sooner the better.

You wish will be realized. You should be righteous.

My lucky fortune

That’s a relief my luck has been totally shitty the last couple of months. Good times ahead!

For those who don’t like the fortune predicted, you simply tie it up and leave it behind in the temple grounds. I like it!

From here it’s a short walk down to the Sumida River to look at the sakura along the river. They are so delicate and beautiful.

Sumida River and Tokyo Skytree

Sakura by the Sumida River

A bit more wandering in the chilly drizzle and we are ready for a bite to eat. We spotted an oyster restaurant last night and spend a good amount of time trying to find it again. Eventually we find the right street and are seated at a type of teppanaki bar but with a open mesh grill in the middle of the table.

We order 6 oysters (raw) and 2 scallops (to be grilled), saki for me and a beer for H. The oysters are massive and very fresh. Nom, nom, nom! We grill the scallops ourselves over the grill.

Sake and scallops

Local Asahi beer

After our light lunch we explore a couple more of the small shopping centres and shopping streets before hitting Don Quixote. A 4 story, 24 hour mini mart that stocks all sorts of weird and wonderful items. You can get everything from a girdle to snacks to alcohol to electronic gadgets to maid outfits. We went into buy deodorant – now that’s a challenging task – twenty minutes later we find something that we hope will do the job.

The amazing Don Quijote

The amazing Don Quijote

One of the many shopping streets in Asakusa

Time for another drink before we head back to the hotel to dry off and have a nap before our group meeting and dinner tonight. Just across the road from the hotel is a little Spanish inspired bar – well it has jamon and sherry available. Choosing the sake is fun, the chalk board menu is totally in Japanese and the guy serving has very little English. We establish that we want a cold, dry style and a vague price point and leave the rest to the nice man.

Asakusa Rokku Bar

At 7:30 we gather in the foyer and meet our companions for the next 9 days. Masa-san our guide, an English couple – Jenny and Keith from Hampstead, 5 Americans – Judy and Jack from Florida, Nancy and Oli and Charissa from California and us two little Aussie diggers. Masa-san gives a quick briefing and then we head out to a nearby Izakaya (Japanese style pub), Tofuro. Its styled in the Edo period and located on the 4th floor – you would never find it unless you knew about it. We are seated in a private traditional room, with out feet in a foot well and have a set menu including an assortment of small dishes and shabu-shabu. All very delicious! We have a few people that don’t eat raw fish, a vegetarian, a cucumber allergy, some non-pork eaters. No problems with H & I -we are up for anything!

Its back to the hotel straight after dinner – we have an early start tomorrow morning for a full day sightseeing in downtown Tokyo.

Japan – A Day of Firsts

8 April 2017

QF 61 Brisbane to Narita, departure time 10:55, just 8 short hours later we are in Japan. JAPAN!

Our morning and flight is uneventful, the way all holidays should begin. But there are a couple of things to note.

Firstly, this in my FIRST EVER international flight with Qantas, and I’m not impressed with the self check-in to obtain a boarding pass and luggage tag, nor the huge line for the bag drop. Apparently they had 9 flights all scheduled to leave around the same time – that’s a lot of people wanting to check in together at the same time. Online check-in is now point-less as you need to do it again at the airport anyway to get a luggage tag. Emirates we miss you!

Secondly, the couple seated in front of us have a toddler. The toddler’s behavior was pretty good for a little fella stuck on a plane, but the parents! The got up, swapped seats, swapped baby, got things out of the locker, put things into the locker, lost items, found items, etc etc the whole bloody 8 hours. I estimate about 6 times each hour. Seriously, sit down and stop effing moving around, it was so hard to relax!

On the other end of the flight we were efficiently processed through immigration, baggage collection and customs with Japanese polite efficiency, 45 minutes later we are greeted by our driver who takes off like a scalded cat with my bag. We quickly scurry after him, its ok he’s heading to the Toyota Crown Royal. The cars interior is decked out in lace doilies, its so cute. And we have lots of time to admire it as it’s a hour drive to our hotel, the Akasuka View Hotel where we will spend the next four nights. Our room 1819 has a fantastic view across to the temple complex, Hanayashiki the fun park and hidden in the low cloud the Tokyo Skytree (it’s a drizzly night).

Asakasa View Hotel Room 1819

Asakasa View Hotel bathroom

Its now 9:00 pm on a Saturday night and we are hungry and thirsty so we grab our raincoats and head out onto the street in search of ramen and beer. After wandering the back streets near the Asakusa Temple complex, slightly daunted by the myriad of options available, we randomly settle on the Tiger Gyoza Hall (mainly because it one of the few signs we can read) and grab a seat at the kitchen counter. The menu has English subtitles, some items amuse and bewilder us (but I’m sure will be understood in time) “Hoppy set (black and white)”, “Cattle rose thick rice noodles” and “Shochu”.

Tiger Gyoza Hall

Banana shape dumplings

Dumpling Selection

We order cold sake for me, an Asahi beer for H (Asakusa is the home of Asahi), banana shape dumplings, ramen with BBQ pork and a deep fried prawn in chili mayonnaise (we get a sweet and sour prawn dish instead). The dumplings and ramen are delicious – it’s a good start.

Replenished we settle the bill and wander the back streets for a while, soaking in the atmosphere. Even though its Saturday night a lot of the restaurants and all the shops are closed.

Asakusa at night

Back to the hotel to retire to our room for the night.

Our bathroom has a very deep but small bathtub, which we fill up for a hot bath. Very relaxing, maybe too relaxing cause I fall asleep in the bath and am jolted awake when my face hits the water.   Good night Tokyo!

The Wellington Cablecar

4 January 2017

As I write this on the flight back to Brisbane I think that there are definite similarities between Melbourne and Wellington.  Weather wise at least.  Melbourne is famous for its changeable weather and today we have experienced the same in Wellington. The morning was cold and overcast, the later morning warmed up enough to shed my jumper, after lunch the sun was shinning down to encourage swimming off the wharves, by 3:30 when we were boarding our plane it was heavy rain and strong winds!

After breakfast of a sausage roll and savory muffin at Pandora Bakery we check out and walk uptown to Cable Car Lane to take the cable car up from Lambton Quay to Kelburn.  We are in luck and it’s a lovely bright day – perfect for a few scenic photos.

Boarding the Wellington Cable Car

Cable Car Museum

Spitting is also discouraged

View from the top of the cable car

Back down the hill we head back to the Queens Wharf to the Crab Shack for lunch.  Crab Shack at Shed 5 is a sea shaddy styled casual restaurant specialising in, guess what? Crab.

It’s a big disappointment when H has to send his Lobster Claws back to the kitchen cause they are so dry.  I’m usually not one to complain but I agree the meat in the claws are very, very dry and if you are paying $45 you expect more.  On the positive my “scoop” of clams in white wine and garlic sauce are a treat – although I think the serve is on the skimpy size – 8/10th shell 2/10th meat.

Crab Shack

A scoop of mixed clams

We are running out of time so all we can do is enjoy the sunshine (while it lasts) on our walk back to the hotel to collect our bags and Uber to the airport for our Virgin 16:15 flight home.

View from the waterfront

A few brave soles having a swim

Oh, and I’ve got us another auctioned upgrade.  Minimum bid and here we are – up the front enjoying the modest luxuries of Virgin Business Class.  Happy flight home.

A Wet Day in Wellington

3 January 2017

We have a good sleep in and then head to Pandora Bakery for breakfast.  H is not impressed with his porridge (which seems to be missing all the yummy additions and just a huge bowl of overcooked oats).  However, my smoked salmon and cream cheese is yum yum yum.  Returning to the hotel for an umbrella we head out into the cold and raining day.

We head for the shopping district of Lambton Quay and I’m motivated to finally get a raincoat that we have been discussing for years.  I need one for travelling, but there is not really any need for one in Brisbane as the rain normally comes in the form of vicious storms that quickly pass.  However, the Boxing Day sales are still on and at Kathmandu I pick up a stylish rain resistant coat $500 discounted to $150.  Winning!

At least I get a chance to use my new coat in the rain for the rest of the day.

I navigate us down to the waterfront (in the rain), through the various wharves (in the rain) and up to Cuba Street (in the rain) for a late lunch of sushi, udon noodle soup and sake at Origami. Then back to the hotel (in the rain).  Perfect nanna nap weather.

Before dinner we investigate the hotels cocktail (thats a weird word isn’t it?) bar and restaurant – Hippopotamus.  The bar has a lovely view of the harbour and we indulge in a couple of overpriced drinks before hitting the street, luckily the rain has stopped.

Hippopotamus Bar & Restaurant

View from Hippopotamus Bar

Back to Cuba Street (yes again) to Scopa for pizza, salad and red wine.  I give Scopa the tick of approval, our Rustica pizza is thin and crispy and delicious.

On the way back to the hotel we stop at BP to grab an ice-cream and admire the pie selection.  On more than one occasion we have been told the pies at BP are pretty good, we have yet to test the theory but I can attest the selection is impressive.

On our final sprint back to the hotel I note the definite chill which penetrates my coat and scarf and ponder with Howard “If this is summer, what’s winter like?”.

Wellington

2 January 2017

When I wake up at 6:30 the wind has dropped but it’s still overcast, by 7:00 the clouds have cleared, by 7:30 its cloudy again.

Today we are moving on to the big smoke – Wellington and need to vacate by 11:00.  But first we do one more walk along the beach, one of the first things we notice is that the rough weather has cleared all the wood debris.  The other thing is the millions of pippy and clam shells heaped up in swaths along the beach.  We have never seen deposits like this before.

Swaths of shells

Before I leave i indulge in one more shower in our tiny bathroom.  One of the really cool features of the glasshouse is the glass door that opens straight from the shower onto the wrap around deck.  So you can have a nice warm shower whilst enjoying the crisp beach breeze.  And it has an amazing view!

Shower with a view

We figure our time here is over when the cleaner shows up at 11:00 sharp to clean our room.  From here is a leisurely 40 minute drive to central Wellington where we will stay the Museum Art Hotel for the next two nights.  Not surprisingly given the name the hotel has a large collection of interesting paintings and sculptures through the lobby and other public areas.

Museum Art Hotel

Man & Letterbox Scultures

Metal Bull Sculpture

 

Luckily they have a room ready for us, we even get a “complementary upgrade” to a small “apartment” #512, and we can deposit out bags.

Museum Art Hotel # 512

All we need to do now is return the car to Hertz.  Luckily we are able to deposit the car at a depo close to the hotel rather than having to go to the airport.  But before we do we check out Oriental Bay, renowned for its cute wooden houses and Mt Victoria the highest point in Wellington to check out the view and get a feeling for the city.  Mt Victoria quiet a drive but well worth the effort.  There is nothing standing between here and the Antarctic and its very windy at the lookout.

View of Wellington from Mt Victoria

With the car delivered we head to Cuba Street on foot.  It’s a public holiday again today and many of the shops are closed, but there are lots of people around.  We decide a soup is called for and select KK Malaysian Restaurant for a late lunch.  I’m pleased to see Asam Laksa (I discovered the delights of this dish in Penang last year) on the menu and H orders his usual BBQ Pork and Wonton Soup.  Cheap, cheerful and tasty – just want we wanted.

After lunch we wander down to the waterfront, where it is cool and gusty, and slowly make our way back to the hotel for a well deserved rest.

When H wakes from his nap we venture outside for dinner.  We have quizzed the concierge about the best seafood restaurants (H is keen for some lobster) but it appears that just about everything is still closed for the Christmas break.  We wander the streets grab a drink at a bar, then wander around for a while until we settle on another Malaysian restaurant called Papa Satay House in the street behind the hotel.  Prawn sambal for me and Nasi Goreng for H.  Nice and warm and tasty.

I have noticed an excessive number of Malaysian restaurants in Wellington, I wonder why? Not that I’m complaining I wish there were more back home is Brisbane.

It’s a Grey and Windy Welcome to the New Year

Sunday 1 January 2017

We wake to a cold, grey, rainy, windy day and it stays that way all day.  The sky and sea are so grey we can’t tell when one stops and the other begins.

How dismal is this?

Howard makes a dash for it and goes to the Patisserie and buys a couple of delicious, soft, buttery croissants for breakfast and then settle in for a quiet day indoors. By late morning H has got cabin fever (that didn’t take long) and we decide to go for a drive up the coast to look at a Mauri church at Okati.

Rangiatea in Otaki

Rangiatea in Otaki

Rangiatea is a lovely timber building originally built 1851, destroyed by fire 1995 and replicated in 2002 including 76 tukutuku panels.  Alas the church is closed (open for viewing Monday to Friday) and it’s raining so I can’t even get any decent shots of the exterior. So its back in the car and head back the way we came to Waikanae where I have read the Old Beach Bakery has good pies.  When we eventually find it, it too is closed. Not having much luck here!

OK, lets go to Coastlands Shopping Centre and see whats on at the cinemas (what else do you do on a wet public holiday?), but there are no movies we are interested in showing in the next 4 hours.  So, we just resign ourselves to going home, eating leftovers and watching the wind and rain for the rest of the day.

By 6:30 we have done all the chilling we can handle and go and try and find something open for dinner.  After doing a full circuit of the surrounding restaurant’s we return to Waterfront Restaurant for a drink in their Tiki Bar and then grab a takeaway burger from Wisconsin Burgers.  Very good burgers – why don’t we have these back home?

Not the most auspicious start to the New Year.

Peikakariki Station Museum and Steam Incorporated Workshops

Saturday 31 December 2016

Paekakariki Station Museum, located in the old buildings of the actual train station, tells stories of Maori, settlers and villagers, US marines and railways.  The museum is manned by a very talkative old lady who yabbers at me for 20 minutes non-stop (she didn’t have her hearing aid in so I could not contribute much to the conversation) about local history, her family, current affairs, Australian politics and local gossip – all jumbled in together.

Paekakarki Train Museum

Signal Tower

As there are no trains running due to the maintenance on the track she says we can wander down the line to the Workshops.  Which we do.  It’s funny even though there are no trains running we nervously eye up and down the track – in Australia you would get fined for doing this!

Walking the tracks

The Workshops actively repair and maintain old steam and diesel engines and carriages.  There are about a dozen or so engines is various state of disrepair including a huge old behemoth brought over from Rhodesia of all places.  For the train enthusiasts out there, there are a few trains of note including a grand black steam 1271 (4-6-0) built in 1956 in New Zealand, the red diesel 1431 built by Clyde Engineering in Sydney, and a twin 1471 built in Canada currently being worked.  This is not fancy museum, it’s a real workshop – messy, dusty, greasy.  We are given free reign to walk around the workshop and even climb into the engines/carriages – just watch your step.

#1431

In the workshop – A Garrett from Rhodesia

Engineer Howie

Two old boilers

Waiting renovation

Admission by donation

We then wander around Paekarariki to see what else it has to offer – ummm not much.  So we head off to have lunch at the Fishermans Basket – which we now know wasn’t such a great idea.  The location was good enough (right on the beach with ocean views) and the décor quite nice (nautical American theme) but the service was scarse and the food very hoo hum – not bad just boring.

Fishermans Table

We have a quick detour to Queen Elizabeth Park on the way home and there is a little tram that runs for a km or two through the park.

Tram ride at Elizabeth Park

We drop the car off and head down the road back to the Raumati Social Club to use their WIFI and have a couple of early NYE drinks.

We have not booked anything for this evening and planning a quiet night in with some takeaway from the Banana Leaf Malaysian restaurant.  We drive down place our order then go the Boundary Hotel for a drink while we wait.  Things are pretty tame at the Pub but its only 8:30 perhaps things will pick up.

Back at the glasshouse (as we have started referring the studio) we feast on our takeaway and then jump in bed to watch TV, drink champagne and wait for midnight.  Not the most exciting of nights but at least I made it to midnight for a change!

Quiet NYE celebrations

Sunset on NYE

Bleach Bliss on the Kapiti Coast

Friday 30 December 2016

Our studio on the beach with the full wall of windows has no blinds or curtains, thank goodness we have pack a pair of eye masks to allow us to sleep in past dawn.  The studio is flooded with light from dawn at 5:00 in the morning until dusk at 9:00 in the evening and today is a particularly bright sunny day.

For breakfast we walk down to The Raumati Social Club at South Raumati Beach.  The RSC is a local favourite with friendly service, eclectic second hand furniture and a chilled out feeling.  And of all fast free WIFI! One Bloody Mary and bowl of toasted muslie later I’m caught up on my email and ready for the day.

Later in the morning we go to the Coastlands Shopping Centre for a bit of shopping and then to Pack n Save for a few groceries.  Pack n Save is awesome – they should come to Australia!

In the afternoon we go for a long walk along the beach.  The afternoon is perfect – not a cloud in the sky.  The rest of the afternoon is spent relaxing on our deck.

View of the batch from the beach

Two ladies fishing with a long net

We have Raumati Beach to ourselves

Kapiti Island from the batch deck

Once again we walk down the road for dinner.  Tonight it’s a pre-dinner drink at the local pub The Boundary and then dinner at The Waterfront which boasts the best sunset views in Kapiti.  We are not disappointed and the food and service is great too, even if the décor a bit soulless.

The Waterfront Restaurant

I have a Crab Rémoulade and Hot Smoked Salmon and Avocado Salad and H orders the Portuguese Prawns and the Sirloin Steak.  Washed down with a bottle of Martinborough (yes we are still working on the Martinborough theme) whilst enjoying the peaceful sunset.

A glorious sunset from The Waterfront

Then brisk walk home (the air being brisk, not our pace) to work of a bit of the excess.

Sunset from our deck – you can just make out the South Island on the horizon

A Harrowing Drive to the Kapiti Coast

Thursday 29 December 2016

After breakfast we pack the car and say adieu to Martinborough.  We have a 1¾ hour drive the Kaipiti Coast on the West Coast just above Wellington.

After a brief stop at busy Featherton, we head off up and over Rimutaka Hill to Upper Hutt being on the other side and then vie off to the West to Waikanae along Akatarawa Road.  I have selected this route rather than going further towards Wellington and coming back up the coast road to see more of the country side.  HUGE MISTAKE!  Thankfully H is driving today cause this route is the most hair raising I have even been on.  There is 31 km of nerve racking twists and turns, around thousands of blind corners on a road barely narrow enough to take one car.  One side is practically vertical rock and the other side dense scrub dropping quickly away. The worst thing is never knowing when another car would come from the other direction.

The funny thing is (Kiwi sense of humour again) the speed signs saying 70 km per hour – H is doing about 40 and its too fast.  When we come to the section that is 50 km per hour.  We are terrified of what to come!  And yes its worse.  Afterwards H asked if I took any photos, my reply was that I was too busy with my death grip on the passenger door.  Oh and did I mention it was raining?

Then suddenly we are on a main road in a near traffic jam, trying to navigate through road works, not knowing where we are going, in the rain!  Its more than Howards nerves can handle and he pulls over and hands me the keys.  He is out!

Luckily we are literally only about 5 minutes to our next lodging a studio right on the beach at South Raumati Beach, which I found on www.bookabatch.com.nz.  This website is a must for anyone travelling NZ.  I nabbed Seafront Raumati 1 – a studio right on the beach, well just above the beach it turns out.

Following my emailed instructions, we turn down a long driveway and park in the 3rd garage.  Down the steps and the key is under the mat.  Wow what a great find, nice work Janet!

Its literally one large rectangular room with the wall facing the sea entirely made of glass, with huge sliding doors opening up onto a private beck complete with an outdoor setting.  Its right above the beach and we can see the waves rolling gently in against the seawall.

Bedroom …

lounge, dining…

and kitchen all in one

Bathroom

Its just stopped raining and the sun appears.  Have you even noticed how a bit of sunshine can totally change your perspective?

View from the batch deck

After unpacking the car and settling in we jump back into the car and see what the area has to offer. There are a series of beaches all merging into one long relaxed community.  From what I’ve read lots of people live at the beaches and commute by train to Wellington to work each day. At Paraparamu Beach we stop and buy a few groceries at the Four Square and a snack from Bens Buns.  Another stop at Raumati Beach reveals a small collection of fashion shops, cafes, restaurants, the pub, bakery and assorted other shops – everything we need.  Of particular note is a French Patisserie L’Amour where we invest in a very good baguette.

Back at the studio we relax in the sun for a while and then I hit the beach to stretch my legs.  H is exhausted after our harrowing drive and opts to nap on the sofa.  It’s now low tide and the beach is a long, flat and wide black sand beach.  On the sand is a large variety of shells, clams and driftwood.  There are houses perched on the sand dunes and families playing in the gentle surf. A perfect day for a walk on the beach.

Kapiti Island

Shells on the beach

At 6:30 we walk the 1.3 km down to the Raumati Beach shops where we are having dinner at D4 in Margaret St.  The air is brisk but not overly cold.  Dinner at the restaurant is a pleasant surprise and once the waitresses warm up to us the service is good too.  We opt to share the mushroom stuffed tomatoes entrée and then I get the ribs and tatties and H the fish and chips.  Both mains are very generous and delicious.

After dinner at 8:30 its still light out so we check out the lush Marine Park where there are a few teenagers entertaining themselves on the kiddies playground rides.  By the time we get back to the studio its after 9:00 and the sun has finally decided to set.

Getting home as dusk