Trainspotting

Thursday, December 17, 8:07 AM
Auckland, New Zealand

Settled into my comfy seat on the Overlander train, I have a 12-hour scenic ride in swank (but slow) panoramic railcar that’s all windows. Starting near the top of the North island and needing to get halfway down the South Island, I was reluctant to choose this option, principally because it is so scenic and I will cover so much ground. As I’ve got up to a year to “see” the country by bicycle, I wondered whether the train would be a spoiler. All things considered, though, I decided this would be an amazing introduction to whet my whistle. (I have an odd habit of hoarding and saving things away for a later time… but recently in my effort to ‘lighten’ my load during these travels, my new MO is to use it all, enjoy it, splurge, be generous and give it all away, and asap! After all, there’s plenty of time to fill-in the gaps!

I’m quite set up on this little train… Front (outside) viewing platform, rear panoramic car (limited to 25min/pp at a time), and a proper dining cart (licensed for spirits!) A friendly guide chimes-in periodically over the loudspeaker to narrate our journey, providing facts & info. (NZ dairy farming accounts for 1/5 of the GNP.)

_ YUPI!!! I just saw my first flock of SHEEP!! They’re wonderful!! I wasn’t prepared for this… now I am truly excited! 30 minutes out of Auckland and it is indeed another world, of animals, endless rolling hills – ooooooh a mile-long hydroponic greenhouse! – little red farm houses, horses, and cattle. Fun fun fun!

3 hours of sleep (2am-5am), a carafe of coffee and little breakfast, and typing on a gently bouncing tray table have rendered me nauseous. So that’s all for now.

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