Thursday, June 16, 2011 & Friday, June 17,2011

Okay everyone. Brace yourselves for a long post because I am going to cover two days. Are we all ready? Okay good.
So we are currently in Franz Joseph; the smallest town yet. Seriously. Like there is a glacier called the Franz Joseph glacier here and I think that's the only reason there's a town here. There's one working restaurant that we've gone to twice now to have dinner, one souvenir shop, and a few hostels. And that's about it, folks. But it's really nice and quaint and I like it a lot. We've finally had today to completely relax. I totally slept in until 10:30 and have been appreciating every second of it. Right now it's Saturday the 18th and it's around 12:30. We haven't done anything today and it has been so nice. We are catching ourselves up on picture uploading and blogging and resting time after our exhausting glacier hike yesterday and I think it's safe to say everyone is enjoying this breather day. The first rainfall of our trip is pounding away on our hostel roofs and it couldn't be more calming as I lay in my actually comfortable bed and reflect on the last two days of the trip so I can share them all with you on my blog! ( that was horrible grammar and that's like the most complex sentence ever but hopefully you still get the point)

So let's rewind a couple days so I can give you all a recap.

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Another long day. But they all seem to be quite long at this point. We packed our bags and loaded on the bus for another travelling day from Wanaka to Franz Joseph. What was supposed to be a four hour bus ride turned out to be a 7 hour bus ride if you include our stop for lunch and all of our little picture taking stops. The long ride was definitely worth it though. As we drove from one side of the island to the other, it was so neat to see how it transformed. At one point we are surrounded by mountains as if they are caving in on us and then we are driving through a tunnel made of trees into this beautiful rainforest and then as we emerse through the tunnel, a beautiful beach is awaiting us. As the bus pulled over, we eagerly piled out, ready to dip our feet in the sand and run across the shore. At this beach, people from all over the world use sharpies and write on the beautiful pebbles and have created this long message thread that lines the start of the beach. We decided to make a National Geographic rock and all signed it and placed it with the others. And then of course, Michael and I had to make our own too because we're cool like that.

Here's some other shots I took at the beach:

If you haven't noticed yet, I seem to be taking a bunch of silhouette pictures. For part of our work for this trip, we have to do an On Assignment Project and I've chosen silhouettes. So hope you aren't sick of my silhouette pictures because they are going to keep on comin!

After we stopped at the beach, we loaded back up on the bus and continued on our way to Franz Joseph. Once we got to Franz Joseph, we settled in our cozy little hostel here and then went out to that one restaurant where literally the whole town hangs out. When we were walking around the town it was deserted. Then we walked into the restaurant and realized that's where everyone who lives in the town is. All the time. 
Then we went to bed early to get a good night's rest for the big glacier hike the next day.

Friday, June 17th, 2011
We woke up early ( I feel like I write that "we woke up early" every day so I apologize for the repetition) and got on the bus to go to the glacier hiking place. I was so scared. I woke up with nerves in my stomach and was not looking forward to the hike. But after putting their smelly pants, their clunky boots, and their waterproof jackets on, there wasn't much I could do to prepare myself anymore, so we started our hike through the rainforest and to the glacier we went! 
Much to my surprise, I actually thoroughly enjoyed the glacier hike. Trust me, I'm just as surprised as you all are. ( Sterett and Tess, if you are reading this, please refrain all laughs and jokes about me not being athletic) We split into groups and Kelsey, Brittany, Mrs. Bottoms, Lindsey, and I decided to form the "slower more pathetic" group and the pace was almost TOO slow for even me! I'm proud to say that I was the first person behind the guide on the hike the whole entire time! I was an eager little glacier hiker. ( Sterett and Tess, this is where you comment on my blog and tell me y'all are proud of me. P.S. I miss you two so much)

Here's some shots from the glacier hike:

Kelsey peeking through a little tunnel we all got to go through in the glacier.
Unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Kelsey, Britt, Me, Mrs, Bottoms, and Lindsey with our glacier guide, Rob. 
Rob leading the way as we hiked through the glacier. They had man-made stairs and everything! So nifty!
The slower pace group chilling in the glacier tunnel. What a fun day!
Our glacier hike came to an end and we loaded back on the bus, more exhausted than ever, with an aching sore covering our body from the combination of our glacier hike and our mountain hike a couple days prior. We all shed our sweaty layers and flung ourselves in our beds, just before Peter and Gemina ran in all the rooms surprising us with the news: "Get your swimsuits out kiddos, we're going to the glacier hot pools!" Yeah, that's right. I said swimsuits. I never thought my swimsuit would see the light of day while still in New Zealand. But alas, there I was, opening my Fiji stuff tucked into the very bottom of my suitcase to grab my swimsuit. We arrived at the glacier hot pool Spa and I'm not going to lie, it's definitely been one of my favorite things about New Zealand so far. This spa was in the middle of the rainforest! It was SO neat and relaxing. They had four different pools with all different temperatures: some colder, some super hot. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any pictures because I decided to not bring Cam the Cam along for the Spa Adventure, but I snagged one off of google for you all to get a glimpse of what it was like:

After the relaxing glacier hot pools, we went back to the same trust restaurant we had dined at the night before. It was still just as yummy :) 
And THEN came back to the common room at our hostel and surprised Gemina with a birthday cake and trick candles and had a huge dance party to celebrate her 25th! It was definitely the longest and most exhausting day, but also one of my favorites.
And finally, this post is coming to a close. Now back to more relaxing and working on our pictures on this rainy, calming day.
Miss you all. 10 days until I'm back in Htown kiddos. Just 10 short days.

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