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Sir Edmund Hillary

Day 33.

It has rained all night, and the morning also starts such. There is not much to see except that there are more waterfalls running down the mountains compared to yesterday. And correct – the road entrance to the camp site is flooded, so happy that I stayed in the carpark before the creek. I go again to the tourist information, and they do not recommend going to Mullers Hut in this weather and it will just become worse. I can anyways not see much in this grey weather, so luckily, I can get a refund. The price for this hut is much more affordable (although also popular) at 36dollar compared to the 130dollar for one night in a Keppler track hut. Instead, I go to the nearby Sir Edmund Hillary center. It’s small, but there are several items, photos, documents and different movies playing throughout the day. There was a really interesting documentary explaining his upbringing in New Zealand, and how he and Tenzing Norgay made it to the Mount Everst summit as the first. It also explains how their lives were afterwards, and it seems this endeavor has been most prosperous for Edmund who was able to get funds for building schools, hospital, and landing strip in Nepal. Actually, he lost his wife and daughter in a plane crash in Kathmandu, when they were going to visit him at the new landing strip. I believe I have seen this strip just outside Namche Bazar. From the movie he seems like a smiling and down-to-earth person, with an extraordinary fitness and talents for climbing mountains – and then he was almost as high as I am 😉. It’s a really nice way to close this ring of adventures I’m on – first going to Everst base camp and seeing the statue of Tenzing outside Namche Bazar with view to Mount Everst, and then here in the last part of the journey to see this center and statue of Edmund with view (when the weather is good) to Mount Cook. Surely, both the Nepalese and New Zealanders have been and are still proud of these two men. Edmund is also on the 5 dollars note, and Queen Elizabeth on the 20 dollars note (the persons on the 10 dollars and 50 dollars are not really known to me). I leave the village and can only see grey in the rear mirror.

The drive is now towards Lake Tekapo, with the same name of the nearby town (naming a town for Lake?). First, I stop by the Mt. John observatory with a great view to the town and surrounding landscapes. The weather forecast looks cloudy for this evening, otherwise it could have been fun to go on a guided tour and trying the telescopes. In the town, there is a small famous church – The Church of Good Shepard. There are many Japanese tourists, and the church is very small – but with a nice view to the lake. A window makes up for the alter, so people also have a nice view from inside. On my way out of the town I pass a field of lupins – I have never seen this many, so I make a stop and get closer. There are all kind of colors and maybe millions of these lupins down to the lake. Again, many Japanese tourists taking phots – I have not seen them on day-hikes, but mainly near tourist attractions close to the road. I drive to Geraldine so I’m halfway to Christchurch. Here, the weather starts to become much better.

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