Tag Archives: Photos

Birthday Boy

I’m still having a hard time keeping up with additions here right now, although I haven’t forgotten it! My absence is mostly due to work commitments, combined with being away from home for best part of 3 days each week. And also partly due to my ability to procrastinate and maybe feel that I should “plan” my musings rather than just run with a new post by simply putting pen to paper.

But anyway, I thought I’d drop in and at least wish a very Happy Birthday to M for today! 

The Birthday Boy!

We had a fun weekend in NY, especially since the weather stayed unexpectedly dry for the most part. It’s been so horrendously wet here in New England this month, and across the northeast in general. Actually across many parts of the country, to be honest. I’ve heard lots of folk talking about how strangely wet their spring has been. It does all look beautifully green here though, I must admit. And I shouldn’t complain, because I fear we’ll go from this to “90 and humid” pretty much overnight sometime soon. And I dread that more than anything. The rain I can cope with.

Sunday afternoon was all about baking. I’d asked M: “Oreos or peanut butter?”, and I was given a long answer to a short question. Or actually, I really wasn’t given an answer at all! So I decided to hedge my bets and go for both. So I made a combination birthday cheesecake – half “chocolate and peanut butter”, and half “oreos”.

I’m not religious, but I did say a quiet prayer for my waistline upon completion of this creation! Later I cut it into the tiniest chunks for freezing too – that way we’re more likely to just grab a small piece for a treat, rather than be tempted to cut off and devour a slab the size of Rhode Island……..

Hope you are not too submerged this spring!

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Emergence

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted anything. I’ve been through an exceptionally busy time at work, with lots of deadlines in quick succession. Combine this with some Exam Committee work that I do (that also has most of its deadlines for exam material submissions between March & May) & I have been left spending all my personal downtime trying to keep up on work-related projects, and just generally gasping for air – especially since my usual life routine of having 7 days a week to myself has been turned upside by spending  my weekends in another state! Not that I’m complaining about having someone nice in my life…..but I’m a creature of habit, & when my habits get knocked out of line, I’m not as quick as some to reach a new equilibrium!

But the good news is that I’ve survived my two busy months of deadlines, & I’m now trying to gradually restore some form of order & routine.

The other good news is that there’s a (seemingly) recovered hoarder in Watertown, NY! You may remember the original scene of carnage that faced me when M’s belongings arrived after his relocation.

The original crime scene - or part of it!

Well after many busy weekends of a constant cycle of “unpack, box up, itemize, donate”, we seem to have made great headway. I have to give M so much credit for how he has been willing to deal with his excess baggage. I must admit that in the beginning I had been devastated by the extent of the belongings he owned – mostly because of the “multiples” of everything that he owned, and the message that it all left me with. I thought I was going to be up against an uphill struggle for sure. But gradually, once he began to see that he didn’t really need multiples, or even much of the single stuff that he had….and when he began to see the benefit of donating (and receiving some tax benefit from it too)…..his mood lifted a lot, and he was extremely receptive to filtering everything. So much so that we’re now really only left with a small pile in the corner to sift through.

The last few stragglers….

So now we’re fortunate enough to be able to have more quality time together at the weekends, instead of just doing Box Patrol. And it’s really nice that our emergence from deadlines & boxes seems to be coinciding nicely with spring’s emergence too.

Last weekend as I drove into Watertown, I caught a glimpse of the Black River & did a double-take. It was the first time I’d seen that particular stretch without any covering of either snow or ice!

The Black River - minus the white!

Despite being overcast on Friday evening, we awoke Saturday to a beautiful blue sky with bright sunshine. And amazingly, no wind! It was too good to be true, and we decided to take full advantage of it, so after a leisurely late breakfast we took a drive into the Adirondacks region. Without the typical winds that we’ve become accustomed to up there, the water in all the lakes was scarily still, and the reflections were just beautiful.

The beauty of the Adirondacks region

M even put his cooking skills to use too – even though he’ll often organize breakfasts or lunches, usually I’m in charge of dinner.  So it was wonderful to have dinner cooked for me for a change! And it was delicious too.

Danger - Men At Work!

So there we are folks……emerging into a new routine in time for the spring! And I must admit that I’m loving the longer daylight hours we have now – although I don’t mind the winter and dark days, I am definitely more productive during the daylight, so I always get more accomplished when the days are longer.

How are you guys all enjoying the emerging spring?

My New Pad

Thanks for following me from my old place – I’ve been having a lot of issues with my old Blogger template & its formatting, & every new post seemed to take 3 times as long as expected to get it even vaguely presentable.

I’m not the most tech-savvy person, but I don’t think all the issues were operator-associated! So I’ve made the move over to WordPress in the hope that it’ll give me even a little less grief.  I’ve spend a ridiculous amount of time today trying to import things, & now I’m enjoying a celebratory glass of wine!

And to those of you who also use WordPress, please feel free to send any advice my way!

A Ray Of Sunshine

Well I’m still alive folks! I’ve been completely swamped under work and committee deadlines for the past couple of weeks, so all things non-priority have pretty much taken a back-burner in the meantime. Thankfully for my sanity I am emerging slowly from the ashes – the deadlines have all been successfully met, & I am beginning to see the light again. Hopefully I can resume blogging over the weekend.

I just came across this list of “74 Simple Things You Can Do To Brighten Your Spouse’s Dayat www.engagedmarriage.com. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it often shares some interesting relationship posts.

It never hurts for any of us to even just be reminded to say something positive to our partner. What other things do you guys do to spread the love with your partner?

Those aeroplane pretzels ARE good for something after all!





The NZ Lowdown 6: Fiordland (Part II)

The Spectacular Milford Sound

Our day was off to an early start. Actually, earlier than necessary, because a small pattern had begun to emerge. Like many men, M has a TV addiction. And the remote control serves as an accessory appendage for him. By now, each morning has begun earlier than required, with some cricket on TV. And likewise no bedtime had swung around without cricket highlights from the day. This was all quite bewildering to me due to his acute revelation on Day 1 of our trip!

But anyway, the real purpose of our early start for the day was a guided day tour – the major focus being a cruise on Milford Sound. Our guide Andrew (oddly, a Welshman!) collected us at our hotel & a small group of us made the drive up from Te Anau to Milford Sound, stopping off occasionally at a few locations en-route for photo opportunities.

Milford Sound forms part of the Fiordland National Park (a World Heritage Site), and is reportedly the most famous tourist destination in NZ, in spite of its remote location on the southwest side of the South Island – literally at least 1-2 hours from anywhere. It is really something else to witness – Rudyard Kipling even described it as “The Eighth Wonder Of The World”. It’s actually a fiord, although was originally, wrongly named a sound by Captain Cook when he charted the area back in the 1770s.

In spite of the gorgeous weather the day before, our Milford Sound day was characteristically wet – the Fiordland National Park region experiences tremendous annual rainfalls, apparently on about 200 days or more of each year!  Nevertheless though, the scenery was spectacular, & I imagine it wouldn’t matter what kind of weather you visited this region in – each would bring its own, special mood to the region. I found the low clouds very mysterious during our cruise – very moody indeed.


Moody Milford Sound

We also saw plenty of wildlife during the trip – especially colonies of NZ fur seals on the rocks at the side of the water. They were thankfully completely unimpressed by the numerous boats cruising up and down the sound.

Basking NZ fur seals
Mitre Peak is one of the most photographed mountains in the country – typically you’ll see photos of it on clear blue sky days when it is reflected brilliantly in the water below. Our weather didn’t allow us this privilege, but it still looked formidable, rising almost a mile out of the water into the clouds.

The famous Mitre Peak
M stole my small camera. A few hundred photos later……
The Lesser-Spotted Brit!
We cruised along the sound for a couple of hours – it’s about 16km long & opens out into the Tasman Sea – and on our moody weather day, you can imagine how rocky the sea was when we reached it. Quite a ride, let me tell you! But one of the benefits of the area’s terrific rainfalls is that they really accentuate the waterfalls that fall from the sheer cliff faces rising either side of the sound.

The waterfalls were especially spectacular due to the day’s rainfall
After a bit of lunch and some coffee on the boat, we finished our cruise & met up again with our tour guide, & our small group drove south back toward Te Anau, with a few more stops en-route for yet more photo opportunities.

More moody mountainous terrain on the drive back to Te Anau
Another stunning waterfall captured on the way home, off Milford Sound Highway

More scenes from the journey home.
Still moody, but a little sunshine tried to break through by early afternoon
After we dried off back at the hotel, we decided to take a drive over to the Te Anau Wildlife Centre – a great little place to visit. We were lucky enough to see a rare, flightless takahe – a chunky bird that looks like a big blue chicken with a stout red beak. These fellas were thought to be extinct for the longest time, until a few pairs of them were spotted in the mid 1900s on the Murchison Mountains. They look a bit like bigger versions of the not-so-rare pukeko – and birds like this are thought to have been ancestors of the takahe.

A pukeko (left) and a takahe (right)
Afterwards we were feeling pretty exhausted to be honest, it had been a long day, although great fun and eventful. I should say that in addition to his cricket habit, M had begun to develop quite a taste for fast food “Commonwealth style” –  pasties, meat pies, and fish & chips had become something he’d beg for each day!  So for dinner I gave in to his addiction & we headed out so he could get his fish & chip fix for the day!


He was also quite taken by the newspaper wrapping!

In spite of the day’s amazing scenery, I think this was the bit of the day that he treasured the most.

Boxed In

I was fortunate enough to have today off work, courtesy of Presidents’ Day, so I’d driven up to upstate NY for the long weekend to see M. Since he has just relocated up to the “North Country” region, we’d signed a lease for a townhouse up there, & he physically moved in on February 1st, with just a couple of car-loads of belongings at that time. Sadly, however, the removal company delivered the rest of his life there last week. He warned me in advance that the whole downstairs area was completely filled with boxes, but I really wasn’t quite prepared for the true extent of the carnage until I was face to face with the demons!

The floor space here was really the only free space available downstairs!


My heart sank when I walked in & saw all the boxes.  I already knew that M was a hoarder, but I wasn’t quite fully prepared for the full extent of it, & I knew it was going to be a very “long weekend”! M is a total procrastinator, although he does work well when motivated, & especially when he sees rewards from his labor.

I knew that if we were going to make any real headway here, I was going to have to find some happy medium between lighting a fire under his ass & hanging back & making the purging seem like it was his idea.

I used to think I was a pack-rat until this past weekend. Does anyone else own 3 clothes irons? And truthfully, with all the kitchenware I opened, you’d think Martha Stewart lived there – and I reminded him of this as I was trying to break my way into the kitchen through the pizza boxes & empty Arby’s bags…..

Dozens of the boxes were literally filled with paperwork just thrown into them – receipts, unopened magazines & newspapers from many years ago, photos, random things like pens, pencils, notepads. You name it, it was probably there. And in multiples of multiples. I didn’t know how the weekend was going to pan out.

The first day was a hard slog. You know how it feels when you start opening boxes after a move – you work for hours, & even though you feel the physical effects of your efforts, at the end of the day you really only “see” that a little bit of space has been cleared. So, for a couple of nights, even though I was able to get to the kitchen area to cook, we had no space to sit anywhere, so ate dinner standing against the counter. It usually takes a fair bit to get me to the point where I vocalize that I’m feeling overwhelmed by something, mostly because I tend to deal with stress by digging into the problem & trying to progress to reach some kind of resolution. By Friday evening, however, I was verbalizing my overwhelmed feeling. I felt like we were getting nowhere, & although I could see that boxes were being opened, I could also see that M was merely “relocating” their contents to different rooms! I did at least find some solace in our trash run though – we filled M’s car with empty boxes & on our travels late Friday afternoon, we managed to find an empty dumpster to accept them! A small victory.

Oh & I was presented with some lovely flowers for my efforts too – what girl couldn’t love a man who buys her flowers?



Bigger victories followed, however, and from day 2 onwards we managed to start making some serious headway. I don’t know how it happened, but the purging began. Extra woks & other pans were allowed to be placed into a box for donation. Clothes were also allowed to be grouped into bags for donation too. I’ve seriously never known a man who owns so many clothes. I’d estimate that he owns about 10x the amount of clothes that I own, & I’m pretty sure that is an underestimation. And shoes. Jeezy peeps…..somehow I managed to get him to donate a box of old Army boots (about 12 pairs of them). And I lost count of the number of times I heard the phrase: “I’ve been looking for that!”. Oh & let’s not mention the 3 trash bags filled with (ancient) Army uniforms to donate. Many of which originated from his basic training days (M has been “Army” for 15 years).

Many of the boxes had actually never been opened in about 4 years – they’d been moved from IL to GA & never opened. Then they were placed in storage again while M was overseas last year, & there they remained until they were relocated up to NY last week.

Sorry – I’m rambling now……I can summarize the whole experience by telling you I was a little “in shock”! But I can also say that I was really proud of M for all the purging he did though. I understand completely how difficult it is to part with belongings, especially when you’ve been through life experiences that triggered some kind of “nesting” or “collecting” activity. But I could also tell that he really enjoyed seeing the fruits of his labor once he did start purging, & this kind of inspired him to continue (this shocked me too, I must say! I didn’t think we’d purge half as much as we succeeded in dealing with). Although some things were clearly harder than others to part with, & were just sequestered away  – like his Boy Scout sleeping mat from a few decades ago. And what 35 year old man doesn’t need a Chicago Bears lunchbag?

I suggested that the saved lunchbag should hopefully curb the fast-food runs!

Eventually we carved out enough space to be able to open up a table downstairs. It was wonderful being able to sit down to eat dinner. By this point, my catchphrase had become “Go Army.com” since I was sick & tired of opening bags & boxes of goodies with this phrase written on them. M was an Army recruiter in previous years, & still had a veritable collection of just about everything “Army” that you could wish for with that darn motto plastered on it. Pens, pencils, notepads, CDs, staplers, water bottles, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, computer mousepads, breathalizer sticks……..oh my word, I’m hyperventilating again just thinking about it…..but at least by Day 3 there were even some “Go Army” lawn chairs for us to sit on at dinner time!

Table For Two
Anyway, by the time I left this afternoon, we had made a total of 10 dumpster runs, & additionally had filled the downstairs bathroom with trash bags of clothes & bedding to donate. There were many other boxes to donate too. As well as the 3 trash bags & one huge plastic tote box filled with shredded paper, courtesy of the gazillion bank documents etc, that had been kept from back in the days pre-abacus.

At least after 3 days of solid work we were both feeling pretty good with the results, especially as we’d managed to visit some furniture stores over the weekend too, & had chosen some things. So yesterday we did a trash run, purged a heap of boxes & trash, & then headed to the furniture store to order a sofa, some chairs & a split box-spring that will be able to make its way up the stairs.  Then we warded off cabin fever by heading out for an afternoon drive. We headed out to Sackets Harbor & watched some loonies walking out on Lake Ontario to do some ice fishing!

Walking on Lake Ontario
Ah well, if you’re still with me now, thanks! There may even be some community service hours in it for you…….it’s been a stressful few days watching the boy purge & not-purge, but overall I’m really proud of him because I know how stressful it is allowing “things” to just disappear from your life.

I just spent 5 hours driving back to Massachusetts, & he’s playing video games & has been very quiet. I think that sums up how he’s feeling about it all!


Here’s To Bacchus

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

It’s been a stressful time recently since M has not only had to relocate his life to upstate New York in the past couple of weeks, but he’s also been awaiting his final divorce settlement. The latter finally happened this past week, so it’s been a big relief to both of us. Even though it obviously wasn’t me going through it, I have been amazed at how it affected me emotionally too, just as the bystander. I don’t think I’ve ever personally known anyone going through a divorce before. Anyway, it was quite draining on me even, so I’m not only relieved for him that it’s over now & he can move on to the next chapter in his life, but also that I can kind of move on too.

I picked him up at the airport on Friday & we enjoyed some quiet time celebrating at home that evening.

 

We didn’t do anything of any real excitement on Saturday, but we did celebrate our first Valentine’s Day together – two days early, I know, but we won’t get to see each other then, so we fast-forwarded a little!

We’d talked about going out since M wanted to take me out for dinner, but then I suggested staying home & cooking, & eventually we decided on a fondue night. I haven’t done any fondue-ing for quite some time – I think the last time I had fondue was about 3 years ago for a birthday celebration. And I certainly haven’t played fondue-chef myself for maybe a couple of decades!


For Starters

We had a merry old time anyway – we started out with a wine-based, cheese & avocado fondue. I used Gruyere, Emmentaler & Comte cheeses, & that turned out delicious. If anyone is interested in trying it out, this was my simplified version of a few that I came across online:

– Mix 2 mashed avocadoes, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of sour cream
– Warm 1/2 cup of dry white wine, gradually add 1lb grated cheese, & keep stirring
– Gradually transfer in the avocado mix & continue stirring

Other herbs/spices can obviously also be added according to preference – garlic, black pepper etc. And you also add extra wine or cheese to the mix if you need it to be thinned or thickened. For dippers, we had beef, crusty bread & veggies, but naturally “anything goes” with fondue!

For Dessert:

When it came to dessert, I couldn’t resist a recipe that was shared recently by Mommie Cooks on her fabulous site. I love all things chocolate, & you just can’t beat Toblerone! Our dessert dippers included chunks of pineapple, melon & muffin! Delicious…..

We had a lot of leftovers since we were just a twosome for dinner, but I can assure you there will be no waste!


The NZ Lowdown 4: Destination Queenstown

Lord Of The Rings Country

We left Franz Josef Village early next morning, around 7am, on our way to Queenstown for a couple of days. We had a leisurely 5 or so hours drive, stopping off a fair bit for coffee, snacks & photo opportunities (of which there were very many). Interestingly our weather changed dramatically as we headed inland from the west coast – from characteristically wet with low clouds in the Glacier region, gradually morphing into sunny with blue skies as we progressed toward Queenstown.

But regardless of the location or conditions outside, the scenery was unrelentingly beautiful en-route.

En-route to Queenstown
Still en-route to Queenstown

We arrived in Queenstown around lunchtime & checked into our hotel after grabbing a quick bite to eat. Our hotel turned out to be in a great location – and we had a wonderful lake view from our window. Then we were soon on our way again – we’d booked with Nomad Safaris on an afternoon trip called  “Safari of the Scenes” – a 4-wheel drive, off-road, guided tour of some of the local regions where scenes from Lord of the Rings was filmed.

There were 6 of us in the Jeep in addition to our guide – a young Brazilian fella called Ugo. He’d lived in NZ for about 5 years & seemed to just love it there, and certainly loved his job. He showed us some of the most amazing scenery, and the afternoon flew by before we knew it.

Lord Of The Rings country
More Lord Of The Rings country
In the middle of the afternoon Ugo took us down by the river. Well actually, he took us into the river! At least where the water level was quite low, anyway. He Jeep’ed around on the water for a while which was quite entertaining. Then we stopped off at one location so we could all try our hand at gold-panning. It would’ve been wonderful to find our fortune there, but alas, it was not to be! I did find a smidgeon of gold though – just a speck basically, but Ugo kindly packed it in a little container for me to take home!

A little gold-panning!
The following morning we started out early & began our day on Lake Wakatipu. We cruised across to Walter Peak on TSS Earnslaw – an Edwardian vintage steamship. Quite a historical ship & really interesting to see – we watched the coal for the journey being loaded onto the ship beforehand too!

Lake Wakatipu
Watching the fun on Lake Wakatipu
Yet more beautiful scenery around the lake
Across the other side, Walter Peak Station (named after a local mountain) was beautiful to see – a 25,758 hectare working, high country sheep farm on the southern shore of the lake. It has 1500 sheep & 1000 cattle, & the farm’s homestead is used to host tourists like us that cruise the lake on the steamship. It’s a mere 8 mile trip across the lake on the steamship, but bizarrely if you want to drive out there, its twisted route takes you for 77 miles!

Walter Peak Station
After lunch there, we wandered off to check out the animals & we got to feed the sheep, as well as watch the working dogs in action (something I always love to see) and then some sheep shearing and well as wool-spinning!

Making friends with the locals
Then it was time to head back across the lake to Queenstown. As soon as we landed & had hit the trough ourselves, we headed up to the Skyline Gondola. The views from the summit there, on Bob’s Peak, were just stunning – made all the more beautiful thanks to the gorgeous weather we were having.

Lake Wakatipu viewed from the gondola summit
More fun over Lake Wakatipu
A long way from anywhere!
While we were at the summit, M decided he wanted to try his hand on their luge tracks. I wasn’t prepared for this since I was wearing a skirt, so that kind of ruled me out of the game! But I certainly enjoyed just hanging out at the top for 40 minutes or so, enjoying the gorgeous, sunny day that we were having, & taking some photos (and having some peace & quiet from M for a while, hehe, but don’t tell him I said that!).

Trying out the luge at the gondola summit!
By the end of the day we were exhausted, we’d been out & on the move all day again, and although we were thoroughly loving it all, we’re not as young as we used to be, so were definitely feeling weary. Thankfully though, we did at least have enough energy to find the local wine shop before making our way back to the hotel!


Bottling It Up

I’ve been having a minor grump this evening – you could call it a culmination of “bottled-up” frustrations of quite some time.

The Crux Of The Matter?
My apartment complex has no recycling station (well, except for a trash can for cardboard), so even though it’s easy enough to stay green & throw the occasional bottle into a recycling can when I’m on the move, my attempts to help preserve the environment have been somewhat hindered on the home front.

I’m trying hard to make a huge concerted effort to recycle, but it’s insane how difficult this town makes it! Since the start of the year I’ve been separating my recycling & just collecting it in my (miniscule) kitchen, while trying to locate public recycling opportunities. I’ve been checking out options online, but so far, my only realistic options are either to take a shovel-load of stuff to a large company & pay to have it taken off my hands…..or take my stuff in dribs & drabs to work maybe & offload bottles, cans, paper etc  in the public recycling bins.

So currently the trunk of my car is literally filled with recycling, & my kitchen floor is also continuing to get a bit crowded too!

It seems bizarre to me in this day & age that an apartment community wouldn’t offer some streamlined recycling station at least. I’m getting really frustrated because I’m becoming the crazy lady who collects “empties”, & I’m also frustrated that my apartment complex has no recycling facility – my town apparently “mandates” recycling, so it’s odd that the complex can get away without offering recycling.

I’ll continue collecting cans in the meantime (I suppose it’s better than collecting cats), but I’m very interested in hearing any potential resolutions that you guys can offer, especially if you’ve also encountered any similar obstacles in the past!



The NZ Lowdown 3: From Greymouth to Glacier Country

On The Move After 2 Lovely Days In Christchurch!

First We Headed West

We took the TranzAlpine train across to Greymouth – this is reported to be one of the world’s greatest scenic railway trips, & I can believe it. The 140 mile journey took about 4 and a half hours, but the time whizzed by so quickly due to the constant sensory-overload from outside. There was even an open air viewing carriage where you could really feel the wind whipping through your hair (but hold on to your caps!) as you clung on to take photographs.

The journey takes you from Christchurch on the east coast, to Greymouth on the west coast, & you get to enjoy a whole mixed bag of beautiful scenery – from farmland to gorges to valleys, as well as spectacular mountain views as you climb through NZ’s Southern Alps, and then finally  you hit some rainforest regions, before reaching the final destination.





Seats are preassigned for you, so you may have a few carriages to walk through before reaching the open car, but we were very fortunate to be in the adjacent one.  And similarly we were only a couple of cars away from the café  – food onboard is actually very decent, as well as reasonably priced, although some folk had taken their own food along for the ride too.

Day 3 in NZ & M had already developed a taste for the local brew!
Once we reached Greymouth, we collected our checked-in luggage & headed over to find our rental car. One thing that M & I constantly bicker about is driving. More specifically, his driving. I swear he’s always in combat mode. I’m not a nervous passenger, but he is one of the most aggressive drivers I’ve ever driven with. So we’d agreed in advance that I’d be the one to start off the driving on our trip since I’m English & therefore used to driving on the left side of the road in the right side of a car.


Although it was nice to feel more independently mobile again, knowing we could stop whenever we felt like & drive wherever we wanted, I’d now lost the ability to stare lovingly out of windows at the beautiful scenes around me. But at least we were both also in agreement about the fact that we were happy to stop wherever and whenever we felt like.

Then South To Franz Josef

And so we set off in our car, headed south to the Glacier Country of Westland National Park, specifically to Franz Josef Glacier. The car journey was lovely, taking us through spectacular rainforest areas. By the time we reached our hotel in the village of Franz Josef, it was raining quite nicely, with extremely low cloud cover that looked quite eerie, hanging over the mountains. We drove out to the Glacier region & went hiking, in spite of the weather – have raincoats, will travel!


The walk initially took us through some rain forest, then across a rocky path through the glacier valley, along the icy flow of the Waiho River. Eventually we reached the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier, which remained an impressive sight, despite the weather. The top of the glacier was still a brilliant blue color, even in the grey, misty conditions – quite amazing to think that this glow represents a million tons of ice!

Crossing the glacier valley toward the icy, terminal face
Arriving at the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier
The glacier forms from heavy layers of snow that compact to produce the hard, blue ice. The combination of snow pressure and gravity force ice down the valley to within 200 meters of sea level where the face is constantly melting. Franz Josef is reportedly the most dynamic glacier in the world since its steepness & location allow it to respond very quickly to changes in temperature & precipitation.

It’s somewhat surreal knowing you are standing at the foot of an ice wall that’s as wide as a valley and has been known to be in the phase of advancing one meter each day.

We walked as far as we could, to within meters of the terminal face – the actual face is roped-off to tourists for safety reasons – to protect people from being caught by falling ice or river surges. Quite a sight though.

Eventually we realized we had soaked in more scenery during that day than we’d ever experienced in a single day previously. We hiked back to the car, & then it was off to our hotel to dry off before testing out some local cuisine & aperitifs to close out the evening!