On arriving in Te Anau, we checked into our enterprising lodge for the night, which was a house attached to the Te Anau Lodge, an ex convent, that the owner had bought and moved from its previous location to this happy spot, while retaining a lot of convent furniture (the confessional is now a dumb waiter!), and adding quite a few more period furnishings, along with tongue in cheek “breakfast commandments”, and such like.
Here are public gardens at Te Anau, surrounded by impressive mountains, and also some pictures of the quirky Te Anau Lodge:
This👇🏼 shows how they managed to transport the convent in quarters on the back of a lorry! In New Zealand it’s quite normal to transport your entire house somewhere else on the back of a lorry. I’m not sure many people do it with such a big place though. The mind boggles!
A musical interlude…
The enterprising owner of this establishment is Mark, who, on hearing I played the piano, encouraged me to have a go on the piano in the house where we were staying.
We told him we were going on a boat trip on the lake the next day, which delighted him, as he’s great friends with George, who owns the boat and runs the trips, and whose previous house we were staying in, and whose piano it was (George used to manage the lodge for Mark before he retired, bought the boat and started running the trips).
When we got to the boat trip, George already knew about us. Word travels fast in these quiet places! He made me promise to play four big tunes on his piano. I wished I’d brought my music on this leg of my journey (mental note: always bring music, as you never know, and sometimes opportunities come very unexpectedly as they did in France as well).
Anyway, so I played what I could remember and then it emerged that Mark is really a very good violinist, who has professional musician friends who come down to Te Anau every couple of years for a baroque festival that he organises! Before we left Te Anau the next morning, he managed to print off the music to a fiendishly difficult of music (Praeludium & Allegro by the virtuouso violinist Fritz Kreisler) that I remember playing years ago with a school friend who is an excellent violinist. Although neither of us had played it for decades, we had a go at it together, and it was lovely to play together and to hear this wonderful music again after so long.
If you’re lucky enough to get the opportunity to visit this part of the world, we strongly recommend Te Anau Lodge and also the boat trip by Faith in Fijordland too. You’ll see why…