One of the coolest things about this trip is how the destinations have been totally dictated by the homes of my friends around the world. I was telling people I was going to visit Dunedin before I could even pronounce it correctly. No seriously, I had to be corrected almost a half dozen times before it stuck. Duh-NEE-din. It's a university town waaaay south on the South Island and I visited in the middle of winter. The air was crisp, but compared to Wisconsin, Jenny and I had to have a good laugh about this 'winter' where everything is canceled if snow stays on the ground. The interesting thing is that we grew up a few minutes north of the 45 degree North Parallel and now we were reunited near the 45 degree South Parallel!
Oh, Dr. Jenny! My friend that I was visiting in Dunedin has been a mate of mine since I moved to Peshtigo at the age of 6. We went to primary school together and she was one of my first friends. We often had sleepovers and we never missed a birthday party! And then we lost touch for about 25 years. LOL but fast forward
to now and we both love science, nature, and emigrated to a new country. What a fantastic reunion where we discussed scientific hypothesis, Happy Potter subplot lines, and Sr. Cecilia from St. Marys! We also have the exact same love of foods - chili, ice cream, beer, and lots and lots of pizza. I mean, you can take the girls out of Wisconsin, but don't take away our beer and pizza!
The first night in town, we had a last minute plan come together where we joined three students from Croatia in a private karaoke room for about 4 hours! Also, I got to tour the University building where Jenny is a professor of Evolutionary Biology specializing in wasps. I got to see her office and meet some colleagues, but later we visited the field study greenhouses and I learned about the work they've been doing!
We next took a drive about an hour north through gorgeous, green, rolling mountains of sheep and tree lines and sweeping ocean views. There is a geologic wonder on the beaches there where yu find these massive round boulders scattered down the beach. Perfectly round alien pod looking things. They are basically
giant petrified entombments of ancient ocean biological matter. What do you say Dr. Jenny, a good summary sentence? We also hiked down to a stunning cliff beach where the penguins and seals come to rest and nest each evening. The first time we visited we didn't see any penguins, but we returned a week later and were fortunate to see three!
The town of Dunedin is a great size, with hills of homes surrounding a Bay and sweeping picturesque town cuteness everywhere you look. We visited a superb brewery, Emerson, and enjoyed tasting and critiquing the beers with our sophisticated palates! All our food and beer venues were very different, but all with welcoming people and an individual style.
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