Christina Dikas: Blog en-us (C) Christina Dikas [email protected] (Christina Dikas) Tue, 18 Jan 2022 13:57:00 GMT Tue, 18 Jan 2022 13:57:00 GMT Christina Dikas: Blog 90 120 Catlins Coast, South Island, New Zealand #2 December 28, 2013- Part 2

...Our final stop for the day was to Nugget Point Lighthouse and Roaring Bay. The walk to the lighthouse was extremely windy! The building was constructed in 1870 and is a short stone building, painted white. The Fresnel lens was inside, but the lighthouse has been automated since 1989. 

Down the hill was Roaring Bay, another viewing location for yellow-eyed penguins. This time we saw at least seven from the hide. They would pause for long periods or preen themselves while on their trip across the beach and into the brush. 

Finally, we headed to our campsite, which we had checked into earlier in the day. Only $5 to pitch our tents in a field surrounded by sheep. Fresh water, toilets, and tea. The only downside was the wind-- we cooked dinner next to the car, using it as a wind block. 

[email protected] (Christina Dikas) Catlins Coast New Zealand South Island lighthouse penguins travel Sat, 17 Oct 2015 19:47:56 GMT
Catlins Coast, South Island, New Zealand December 28, 2013-‚Äč Part 1

After leaving Dunedin, we headed down the Southern Scenic Route, stopping along the way at various spots. Much of this southeastern coastline is called the Catlins. Our first stop was at Tauri Mouth, where we took in the view of the confluence between river and ocean. We passed several small oceanside towns-- many populated with weekend beach cottages-- on our way to Milburn Lime Works. On a hill overlooking an inlet and rolling green hills, we found an exhibit of whale fossils that the lime quarry had uncovered years ago.

We decided to eat lunch here. While Rebecca got food from the car, I walked over in the direction of a herd of cows that were munching on grass nearby. At the sight of me, they started making their way to the fenced area where I was standing. Rebecca came back to find me with a large audience staring back at me. Needless to say, we felt slightly uncomfortable eating lunch while so many looked on!

From the limeworks, we continued south through the town of Balclutha to Purakaunui Falls and then to Jack's Blowhole. We walked about 20 minutes through fields toward the cliffs along the coast, where a 55m deep chasm, 200m inland from the coast, was located. Essentially a caved-in cave, water rushed in and out of this giant pit from the ocean.

[email protected] (Christina Dikas) Catlins Coast New South Island Zealand" cows waterfall Sat, 17 Oct 2015 19:37:05 GMT
Otago Peninsula, South Island, New Zealand December 27, 2013

Today was spent on the Otago Peninsula outside Dunedin, New Zealand. We started early and arrived at Larnach Castle just in time to hear a bagpiper warming up to play for the arriving tour buses. The home was constructed for a man who was influential in the banking business and politics. He had a quite dramatic ending, though, shooting himself in the legislative chambers when he found out that his son was reputedly having an affair with his younger third wife. The grounds had semi-hidden Alice in Wonderland statues from a later owner, and fabulous views of the Sound.

Though overcast in the morning, the weather cleared by noon and we headed to Sandfly Beach for a hopeful glimpse of yellow eyed penguins. We didn't see them at that time, but we did spy sea lions lounging on the rocks at the end of the beach. The water was so clear-- almost turquoise-- and the hills were a vibrant green. The hike back to the car was less fun, as we had to hoof it back up a steep hill of sand. Sheep were scattered all around the parking lot (aka car park).

[...] By the time we had finished exploring a second beach, it was nearly 7pm, which is actually the best time to start trying to see penguins because they come back to shore at dusk. We decided to head back to the first beach, which by then was shrouded in a high fog. We finally saw a few of the larger yellow eyed penguins there. Only a few because they come back individually and sometimes long periods of time apart. They swim ashore and then hike up some very steep cliffs to where they nests are located. We traversed the entire beach a second time to view them from the "hide" so we wouldn't disturb them. Then back up that crazy hill of sand again to get back to the car.

[email protected] (Christina Dikas) Larnach Castle New Zealand Sandfly Beach South Island beach penguins travel Sun, 09 Aug 2015 21:09:53 GMT
Rijeka and Opatija, Croatia July 23, 2012

[...] Rijeka has impressive Habsburg-era architecture in Second Empire and Baroque styles. However, most of the city appears past it's prime-- dingy, peeling plaster and graffiti. The primary shopping street is clean, though, with seating outside many restaurants on the wide pedestrian boulevard. We headed east to a series of 500+ stairs that climb to a small town called Trsat. At the top was a castle from the 1300s (modified in the 19th century) with impressive views of Rijeka down below. We passed a nun on the way up who was likely headed to the Catholic pilgrimage church near the castle.

[Later that day] we drove west to Opatije (Oh-pat-ee-ya"), a resort town about half an hour away. The one main street is lined with Viennese mansions, most of which have been converted to hotels. We walked on the waterfront promenade, past man-made concrete beaches and pools full of sunbathers. 

[email protected] (Christina Dikas) Baroque Croatia Habsburg Opatije Rijeka Second Empire Trsat castle nun promenade swimmers Wed, 05 Aug 2015 07:44:46 GMT
Krka National Park and Zadar, Croatia July 21, 2012

[...] We drove up the coast, and I was surprised at the very arid and rocky hill landscape. For some reason, I had pictured the natural environment to be more lush. Our first stop was Krka National Park. Out of that arid landscape, a canyon emerged, lined with trees and tiered waterfalls. We walked on wood boardwalks through the leafy shade, small streams leading under us to larger and larger waterfalls. The most unique part of this park experience, though, was that the path led to a rocky beach and swimming hole at the base of the biggest falls. It was quite something.

Back in our rented car, we continued north to Zadar, a large city on the Kvarner Gulf. We wove through rather dilapidated 20th century concrete buildings and finally found our hostel. It was located in a quiet neighborhood where people grow large gardens with rows upon rows of tomatoes, peppers, and beans. After settling in, we walked to the old town of Zadar. It reminded me of old Quebec-- walled, stone alleys, 18th/19th century buildings. In fact, both have a very old church-- but while Quebec's stone church from the 1600s is the oldest stone church in North America, Zadar's church dates to the 9th century.

[...] As dinner was wrapping up, lightening started to strike. Then a drop... two drops... and a downpour. We raced through the slick paved lanes to a main gate, huddled with the crowds of dinner patrons who were debating whether to stick it out and stay for the nightlife or go home. We decided to slip into a nearby bar and try the local maraschino cherry liqueur. The rain subsided pretty quickly and we emerged again, but the wind had picked up and it was chilly. The streets were all but deserted, despite the thumping beats and multi-colored lights streaming from near-empty clubs. 

We walked back to the hostel, and as we turned into the neighborhood, the rain started again. We ran in our flip flops down the street to the hostel.

[email protected] (Christina Dikas) Croatia Krka National Park swimming hole waterfall Wed, 05 Aug 2015 07:14:25 GMT
Trogir, Croatia July 20, 2012

This place is so old and crumbly and charming that it almost feels like a stage set. Bridges over small marinas, winding limestone-paved alleys lined with limestone-clad buildings. Wood shutters and stone window hoods and Venetian ogee arches. Plazas around hidden corners that are filled with dinner tables, bar tables, ice cream shop tables. Souvenir stores tucked into low archways. Outdoor markets with locals selling olive oil, vegetables, lavendar products, fig products.

[...] Large yachts were moored along the inlet, a band of young people playing string instruments set up in front. More wandering ensued until we found a satisfactory gelato place with available seating. The pumping rhythm of electronic dance music beat into the atmosphere wherever we were on this very busy Friday night.

I am by far the palest person here. The Europeans look as if they have only used suntanning oil-- that dark, almost charred look.  

[email protected] (Christina Dikas) Trogir, Croatia, buildings description market tanning travel Wed, 05 Aug 2015 06:49:35 GMT
Ile D'Orleans, Quebec, Canada June 10, 2011

...Compact, two-story houses with gable roofs and dormer windows, shutters and flower boxes; other houses with gambrel or mansard roofs. Many roofs were covered in either a shiny silver metal or red-colored metal. None of the houses were ostentatious, and yards were lush with green lawns, flowers, and vegetable gardens. A good number of houses along the south and north (long) sides of Ile D'Orleans were associated with farms. A particular barn type, with a center loaded door raised and accessed by a ramp, was common. We loved the stone used for many buildings, and even spotted and 18th century stone house from the roadWhile many residences and farms were spread out, Ile D'Orleans contains six parishes where houses were clustered with a commercial building or two, a short line of distinctive street light standards identifying the "town."

Ile D'Orleans, Quebec, CanadaIle D'Orleans, Quebec, CanadaIle D'Orleans, Quebec, Canada

[email protected] (Christina Dikas) Canada Ile D'Orleans Quebec description houses travel Wed, 05 Aug 2015 06:30:48 GMT