Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dunedin Day Two/Three

My yarn stash is reaching crisis point. It's a delicate balancing act to keep stray yarn balls from rolling onto the floor. Part of the reason is the 5 new skeins/balls I picked up in Dunedin. Like this beautiful yarn from Flagstaff Alpacas. 

I actually started off my morning by visiting Larnach Castle. I took a tour as it's a bit of a drive out of town and I can't rent a car. It's a beautiful building and has been lovingly restored. From the outside it's a bit of a mish mash of architectural tastes. You have the definite Scottish castle look but with large Aussie-style verandahs. A lot of work and expense went into it's construction. The plaster detail on all the ceilings for one, must have taken a long time. The rooms were fitted out with a lot of original items. Larnach's third wife's wedding dress was particularly interesting and pretty - with possibly the tiniest waist measurements I've ever seen!

After looking around I checked out the old stables for a cup of tea and Tan Square. The weather was freezing so I didn't have much of a look around the gardens but I can imagine it being a fantastic place for a picnic in the summer. I also forgot my camera so photos to come once I get the disposable ones developed. 

The tour headed back to town via a stop at the Old Cemetery to see the Larnach family tomb. He basically had built a small church that looked so out of place alongside all the regular tombstones. He definitely seemed to be a guy to show off his wealth, although he died just about bankrupt. 

A quick stop at the steepest street in the world (I didn't fancy walking up it, and didn't fancy being one of Dunedin's rubbish men having to collect wheelie bins from up there!) then it was to the railway station.

The railway station itself is a spectacular building. It also housed a cafe with awful coffee but a good haggis pie. I had arranged to go out to Flagstaff Alpacas for a quick visit and the owner, Andy, offered to pick me up from town in the alpacamobile. He had a couple of alpacas riding in the back.

So we headed out to the farm which was right up on a hill behind the city. There was still a bit of snow hanging around up there. Alpacas frollicking about in the snow - I was in alpaca heaven. They were all so incredibly cute and I learnt a lot about the fibre and alpaca husbandry. If I won the lotto I would totally get my hands on some pet alpacas. 

Of course no visit to an Alpaca farm would be complete without purchasing some yarn which brings me back to having an exceptionally full yarn crate. Luckily I had taken cash out to limit my yarn purchasing although I was also helped by them not having a whole heap in stock due to the closing and buy back of the Milton Mill. Hopefully soon their order will be processed. I'll be keeping an eye on their website for new stock. It really is incredibly soft and so well spun. I knitted a baby cardigan in their undyed product and it was a dream to work with.

Andy dropped me at a bus stop and I headed back down to the city. It was time to spend a little time indoors knitting with some local(ish) Whitestone cheeses and a cup of tea or three. I met lots of lovely backpackers while I was knitting in the common areas and arranged to go out for a drink with a couple of them after I went out for dinner. 

I'd have my eye on one restaurant in particular for a while. Two Chefs Bistro had been ranked in the Top 50 restaurants in New Zealand by Cuisine Magazine. It did not disappoint. The service was impeccable and there was just the right amount of time waiting for food to arrive to drink my wine and get a good few rows of knitting in. 

I had a glass of pinot noir from the Wooing Tree, a vineyard I later visited in Queenstown. This washed down a crumbed rabbit loin with field mushroom and a side of yams quite nicely. I hadn't intended to splurge on dessert but after seeing the menu I couldn't say no to dumplings in Pedro Ximenez sherry and golden syrup with poached quince and local saffron ice cream. Oh my god. Memorable food moment. It was by far the best dessert I've ever had at a restaurant. It was such a good evening. I like dining out with others but I have no qualms going out for dinner by myself. With food like that and good people watching opportunities it's always a lot of fun.

The night ended with a few wines and gossip with new friends from Japan and Taiwan. The next morning I headed off to the Otago Museum with the same two women. We stopped in at a church on the way to have a peek as the building was gorgeous. The stained glass didn't disappoint and we were treated to the organist practicing. 

The Museum was great. I saw my first Easter Island Moai and there were excellent exhibitions on the Pacific, native animals and the local area. 

The one let down was the mispelling of Colombia. It's the one pet peeve that really rials me up! 

After a quick coffee it was time for me to catch the bus to Queenstown...more on that later.

Even the fire station is a cool old building...

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