Sunday, 11 May 2014

ALPS TO OCEAN BICYCLE TOUR - The village of Kurow, New Zealand

Westmere Cottage, Kurow

Kurow.....what can I say but that it is an absolutely charming little village in the Waitake District. Three of us were domiciled for the night in Westmere cottage built around 1895, just a little older than the author but who's counting. I think the owners got a little bit more than they bargained for, opening the door to three bedraggled, weary cyclists. The first thing that took my attention, was the beautiful white carpet and as I didn't think it would be appreciated if I entered wearing my cleats, I duly took them off.
The interior of the cottage was like walking into a museum except there was not that musty smell associated with some museums but certainly they had a collection of bygone relics that would keep an avid collector in awe for hours.

I think my room must have been the bridal suite, it had that feel to it, but do you know that when I asked around if there was anyone interested in sharing the bridal suite with me, I had no takers, in fact, all I heard was "In your dreams!". Quite deflating it was.

The view from the window of the emerald green fields contrasting starkly with the brown barren mountain range in the background was like looking at a cinematic view in an English period drama.
We must have behaved ourselves because our hosts were up bright and early to farewell us or maybe they were just checking to see that the family heirlooms hadn't mysteriously departed during the night. If I was the proud owner of this beautiful cottage, that would have been my procedure and I think I would have been justified had I been confronted with three cyclists that for all the world looked like and could have been deserters from the Kelly gang.

Kurow, NZ

The above photograph was taken by our esteemed leader, Ken  who at the age of 79 climbed to the top of a rather steep hill overlooking Kurow and snapped this view, not bad for a guy in his third stage of life. His attitude and dedication to fitness should see him continue his adventurist spirit for many more years.
Later in the afternoon, our guide Fiona picked us up and deposited us outside the Kurow hotel which as soon as I walked in I could see that it was a favourite of the locals. Having finished work for the day, the workers had called in to tell a few stories over an ale or two before venturing home.
Across the road from the hotel was a bakery/cafe called The Valley Cafe and Bakery, owned by Steve Hotton and his wife Sandy. Steve is a former New Zealand International Rugby player who also happened to train as a baker and chef in France, Italy and Canada and specialises in French Charcuterie which is the technique of smoking and curing foods primarily from pork such as bacon, ham, terrines, etc.  We were guests of the Hottons for both dinner and breakfast the next morning. What can I say about it, well! to me, it was what I would have expected  in a major city,  served with flair and obviously very proud of their product and deservedly so. To find out more please open the following link...


In the morning as we cycled away from Kurow, I was struck by the juxtaposition of this low lying stream of cloud bisecting the alps from the cultivated fields
In my next post, I will describe the ride between Kurow and Oamaru

I really appreciate receiving good, constructive and polite comments.

Cheers and safe riding,
Jimmy Bee

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