WELCOME TO AKAROA, New Zealand
Last evening we had drinks at the Crystal Cove and we listened to Violinist Irina perform.
These are the menus from Waterside where we had dinner.
We enjoyed dinner at Silk. Silk serves Chinese Cuisine. Last evening was Black Tie Optional (BTO) and as we've done on a couple of the previous BTO nights we decided to dine at Silk. We usually go to the first BTO night at Waterside to have Lobster but thought we would change it up for this cruise and plan to dine at Churrascaria on the second BTO night which will take place in a few days.
We enjoyed wonderful views as we did in the morning for our sail-in.
Dinner was delicious.
We like the portion size allowing us to try several different items. We each had the spicy salad. Next we had a variety of appetizers and these were spaced out when they were served.
We first had the Dim Sum Sampler which comes with three different items.
Next course was one spring roll for each of us and one Pot Sticker each.
For the entree Anne Marie had the Stir Fried Scallops along with a side order of Shrimp Fried Rice. For Keith it was the Mongolian type Lamb Chops. He also had the Baked Eggplant for the very first time. It comes already sliced in small bite-size pieces.
For desset Anne Marie had a small scoop of ice cream and Keith had the fruit plate. We find the fruit plate served at Silk has the most variety of any of the fruit plates from other dining venues.
After dinner activities included a Captain's Reception for all guests at 7:45 PM The evening entertainment featured a duet performance by International Tenor Shimi Goodman and Piano Showman Chris Hamilton.
This is our second time to Akaroa with our last visit in 2015. In prior years we went to Christchurch. In fact, we were there only a few days before the devastating Earthquake of 2011. The epicenter was close to the city and to the port which served Christchuch and did massive destruction. The earthquake was 6.3 on the scale but is among the strongest ever recored globally in an urban area and 185 people lost their lives. Within two years of the earthquake, 1,500 buildings in the city had to be demolished. Unfortunately, the city had several strong aftershocks.
We will remember on the visit in 2011 it was a beautiful day compared to our first visit a few years earlier when it was rainy and windy. Weather do make a difference in thee experience. We walked all around the city and took a Gondola. Outside their firehouse was something we will never forget which was a piece from the World Trade Center given to the Fire Church for their assistance following 9/11. They like several other countries around thee world stepped up to help. This time it was Christchurch who needed help.
Ever since the earthquake, Akaroa has been used in lieu of Christchurch. Christchurch is a ninety minute drive from this port.
A couple of photos from our Verandah before taking the tender ashore.
We booked a Crystal Private Excursion for our visit.
Our tour concentrated on the Banks Peninsula and Akaroa area. We were driven by David who took us to each area that was part of our tour, and provided us with lots of information about the area.
Our tour began with a 45 minute drive to a Farm in Little River where we met with Mary & Ross Miller. They purchased the home and farm in 1974. The house had to be redone as it was in disarray and the home was originally built in the late 1800's. The farm has 1,400 sheep. As we learned in Hobiton sheep are raised for meat. It is mainly sold to China. In fact, the price they are willing to pay has doubled the past few years. The cost to raise sheep for wool alone is too high and does not allow a profit to be made.
Our next stop was lunch at The French Farm Winery. The owner's were on hand acting as cook and waitstaff and we were alone most of the time. We ate outside and enjoyed beautiful views. The owners bought the restaurant in 2017 and it took one year to make improvements and it opened in 2018. They also live there and as the owner said if they didn't make money they would still live there. Food is on the more casual side. We were given a menu on the ship and asked to select the items we wanted so we picked a Mega Seafood Basket and an Antipasto Platter. We think it would have fed four people. When it came to the wine he had three different Pinot Noir's by the glass and Keith asked for his input. He said go with a particular one because he likes it and given it won't keep for much more than a day or two he said he recommended it because he likes it and would finish it up. LOL. Keith enjoyed it so a winner. Anne Marie had a Riesling.
We then drove back to Akaroa where we had a private tour of The Giant House by the owner Josie. She is amazing. All of the art work she has done and while much of it was done in New Zealand certain items she made all over the world including France, Venice, Italy and in Beijing, China. She has owned the house for twenty three years. Like the farmhouse she had most of the house redone and has done an amazing job with the garden from the artwork to the plantings. Asked who tends the garden, the answer is Josie with some assistance from one man. She is truly amazing.
Yes she likes blue.
While we have several take-aways from today one stands out the most. All of the owners have something in common. They each had a passion to have their own business and each one involved major changes to the properties they purchased and involve lots of hard work and took risk. Each questioned early on if they made the right decision. Each has been successful in their own way. Most importantly each pursued something they love and can excel in.
On the way back to the tender we saw something we don't often see. The tender was several feet from the tender pier and at first we didn't know what it was doing. There were a few staff outside with some type of pole(s) in the water. First we thought the tender was stuck. It was windy and we realized the tent had blown overboard from the tender pier into the water and they were working diligently to get it out. They could never have done this individually. In the end, it was determination and teamwork and they got the tent up and pulled it over to the tender pier. We all gave them a round of applause.
Today was a lovely day and we have made memories of the day which we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.
These are the Daily Reflections Programs.
Anne Marie & Keith