Top of Rocky Mountain, with Mount Aspiring in the background

The last thing I expected inn New Zealand was to use my French. But yesterday we met four people from France while sitting at a cafe on the main street in Wanaka. We were having a well deserved pint (or two, or three, or four) after hiking the Diamond Lake trail, which in turn includes the Rocky Mountain Trail for an exception view of the Mount Aspiring Glacier. We had also hiked the Outlet Trail that runs along the Clutha River.

We were at a table for six and they were at a table for two, so I asked in French if they wanted to switch tables. I actually noticed that they were rolling tobacco and didn’t want to get smoke in my face. The wind not as strong yesterday and had switched to warm northwesterlies. It was a perfect summer day, where you close your eyes and the breeze pushes your hair off your face (if you’re facing the right direction).

We ended up chatting with them for another two pints. I think I only spoke one word of English that whole time. So the trick to getting a higher score on the language evaluation must be to drink beer first.

Time flew by and then I suddenly realized that we only had 10 minutes to get to Cinema Paradiso to watch Lovely Bones. It’s definitely one of the best things we’ve done in Wanaka. It only holds about 50 people, who are sitting in couches, arm chairs or old bus seats that recline. We were a bit late so had to sit at the back. This was actually a good thing because we hadn’t had time to go back to the motel to pick up our glasses. We sat watching the movie wearing our sunglasses.

Half way through the movie stops and intermission is held in the cafe part. If you’ve pre-ordered your food it will be waiting for you at a table with the number you were given before the movie. We opted for to a chicken, cranberry, brie pizza and a steak sandwich. They were both quite tasty. The movie was good too.

After the movie we started walking back to the motel, when NosyNeighbour noticed a bar set back a bit with a roaring fire going. He convinced me to go down for another beer. And guess what? We met another guy from France! He was working the bar and said he came to New Zealand for the snowboarding and skiing. But he’d come during summer so was going to work in the bar until the ski resorts opened.

All in all, a much better day than I had expected.