Ed took a lot of photos today and I finally got through them all picking a few (probably too many) for the blog. Last night the Internet was having issues but it's working this morning so Valentines Day is finally done.

Ramblings for today, I have a couple of them. Yesterday when we arrive in Christchurch we felt like we were in one of those mazes where you couldnít get to where you wanted to go --- the GPS gave us directions and every direction was not executable either due to No Right Turn signs or Road Closed signs. After a half hour of circling we found the only way to the hotel. I have no right to complain though. Christchurch is still rebuilding after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. A lot has been accomplished but thereís still a lot more to do. The hotel is situated in a great location for seeing Christchurch but that puts it into the middle of the construction. This morning Ed was very happy as we left Christchurch. Today we picked up our 3rd and last rental car and GPS. We turned the GPS on when we got to the car and it came up in Chinese ---- not useful at all. Rebooting, resetting and trying to remember the key strokes to change the language didnít work. A car rental agent from another agency remembered the key strokes to change language and we were back in business. Any programmers out there want to make suggestions to the GPS companies on a universal way to change the language?

The TranzAlpine train transverses the Southern Alps between Christchurch and Greymouth and it is as good as it is advertised to be. The trip starts by travelling through the flat Canterbury Plains, then climbs into the mountains following river gorges peaking at Arthurís Pass. The descent takes you by lush green forests and along tranquil lakes and rivers.

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One of the rivers the rail line followed.

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Even with a flat grey sky the water was still an amazing blue green colour.

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We passed cattle on both sides of the mountain pass. The commentary on the train indicated due to the drop in wool prices the number of sheep being raised in New Zealand has dropped substantially being replaced with cattle. New Zealand now produces a lot of dairy products and beef products for export. We also passed a lot of hay fields.

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The sky began to clear making the countryside even more breathtaking.

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The rivers have very wide river beds ... just image what spring floods are like here.

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Our train going around a corner heading for the bridge.

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Sheep grazing.

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As we neared Greymouth, the clouds came back. Lake Brunner is a vacation spot. Must be a nice lake to sail on.

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The clouds tend to drop their rain as they are climbing over the mountains making the west side of the mountains greener.

After picking up the rental car we were on our way to Franz Josef Glacier. By now the cloudy skies in Christchurch were only a memory and we were enjoying a warm, sunny day driving along the Tasman Sea.

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The Hokitika River on the left meets the Tasman Sea.

The village of Franz Josef is at the bottom of the Franz Josef glacier. When we arrive there was cloud over the mountains. After dinner it was a different story.

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The view of the mountain and glacier from Franz Josef. This might actually be the Heemskerick Glacier.

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A lot of the bridges in New Zealand are only one lane. You have to pay attention to the road signs to determine which side of the bridge has the right of way. Luckily, the roads aren't that busy so if you do run into traffic you don't have to wait long before it's your turn to cross the bridge.

Our motel is a couple of kilometers outside of Franz Josef and is called the Glacier View Motel.

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When the clouds co-operate this is the view. The sun was setting when the photo was taken.

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and this is the view from the back window.