Weekend in Wairarapa

This weekend we visited the Wairarapa region of the North Island for a well-deserved break from the city.  I love the fact that we only have to drive for one hour (Albeit around the most treacherous mountain range ever.  I close my eyes the entire ride so that I can’t see my impending death AND there’s the added bonus of being on the wrong side of the road.) to be engulfed in nature and fresh air.  The Wairarapa region is surrounded by vineyards and several small towns that are very charming but whose stores never seem to actually open.

We stayed at the Greytown Hotel for $80 NZ dollars a night and it was the greatest deal in the surrounding area.  You have to share a hallway bathroom with a few other guests, so the Southerner and I took turns as to which one of us could shock the most guests by peeing with the doors open.  Good times.

The hotel staff was incredibly friendly and genuine, and the hotel bar has a pool table and outdoor patio.  Someone was very obsessed with Bob Marley on the staff which meant we got to go to sleep to EVERY Bob Marley song ever recorded, but hey it was better than that Maori man who kept wanting to show us how well he could play the spoons (truthfully, he was pretty impressive).

Friday night we ate dinner at Salute.  Despite the fact that it’s one of only three restaurants in town, Salute rocked.  It rocked so much, we went back Saturday night.  We kind of had to go back since it was the only restaurant actually still open at 8:30 p.m. but we could have cared less.

Saturday morning we woke up and fished the Waiohine River.  We didn’t catch anything, but I fell in the river so it still counts as a good story.  The river is beautiful and the Southerner spotted around a 12 lb trout confirming that fish do inhabit the Waiohine, we’re just working on the catching them part still. Around lunchtime we walked back to our car, did a quick roadside change into fancier clothes and headed to the Tirohana Estate vineyard in Martinborough.

I get sort of hysterical feeling in settings like Tirohana’s.  Like I’m a pseudo-celebrity who is obsessed with living up to the reputation the National Enquirer has sooooo adequately characterized her as having.   I think it’s that feeling of not quite fitting in that causes this inner hysteria and need to be obnoxious.  I don’t know how to drink wine properly and judge its bouquet (Hmm, peppery with a hint of what’s that, oh yeah, GRAPES).   I actually had a waiter laugh at me once when I stuck my nose in the wine glass and sniffed it too hard while he waited for me to deem whether it was up to my satisfaction.  Whatever, I will always be awkward.  It’s part of my charm damnit.

In steps the Southerner.  He “nosed” our wine just right, had the gall to order our desserts before our entrees, and fed the vineyard’s dog water out of his glass when no one was looking.  We also chucked some juicy lamb balls his way.

That’s why the Southerner’s my Valentine.  He smooths my awkwardness effortlessly while still ensuring that one day soon I might end up in the National Enquirer.


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