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Giant fault lines hide beneath most of New Zealand, and the country has had a number of bad earthquakes over the years. The worst was in 1931. Napier, the city we toured this day, was torn to shreds by the earthquake. Terrible for those living in the city at that time, excellent for the rest of us because the city was rebuilt in the style of that time—Art Deco—and it has been preserved in such a state ever since. Later in the afternoon, we had a wine tour booked, so for the morning we (Sarah) planned to just walk the city and take in the sights. The visitors centre offered various guided tours, but cheaper still was a five dollar, self-guided Art Deco walk, so we went that route. Sarah (Sarah) guided us through the city. The City of Napier has gone through great efforts to preserve its Art Deco style, so we had the chance to view the various sunbursts, ziggurat, and overlapping rectangular patterns common in Art Deco design. In the end, so much Art Deco is a little a-snoring (it ain’t no Art Nouveau, if you know what I’m saying), so we had a coffee and made our way back to the ship by way of the beach .

After lunch was the wine tour. First was Brookfields Winery. Along with about twenty-five other people on the tour, we were seated in a small cellar/tasting room. The host and owner was fantastic, with personality to burn. Without witnessing it, there’s no real way to recreate how great he was, so let me just say that he was among the top five speakers I’ve ever seen. We tried a variety of the estate’s wines, purchased a bottle for home and recreational purposes, then moved on to winery two: Church Road. The guide at Church Road paled a little bit, but only by comparison. He was like the ugly member of Flight of the Conchords, only cute. More tasting, more tipsy, then on to winery three: Mission Estate (not to be confused with Mission Hill). Interesting point about this winery—it was destroyed twice. Established by monks, there were various settlings and resettlings before the monks decided on the current spot. The winery caught fire at one point, and the monks started from scratch. One month after reopening, the big quake hit and the place was ripped asunder, killing several monks in the chapel for their daily service. The winery was of course rebuilt, and is the oldest winery in New Zealand.

After the seventy-nine or so samples of wine, we returned to our stateroom intending to take a fifteen minute siesta, and instead slept the three hours until dinner.


Rebecca said…
"...And then the third winery burned down, fell over, THEN sank into the swamp..."

I must get ahold of this Flight of the Conchords everyone is talking about...
Beth said…
Tell Sarah that I said "Napier RULES!" She'll know what it means.
Kelly said…
These wine tasting tours sound kind of necessary. And ridiculously fun.

And monks were killed during their daily chapel service? What chance do the rest of us have!?! :)

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