Special Six: A walk around Invercargill

I unexpectedly had to spend around 6 hours in Invercargill during my April trip to New Zealand because the morning ferry service to Stewart island had got cancelled the day I visited the city. I had to wait for the evening ferry at 5pm and my connecting coach from Invercargill to Bluff would only pick me at 4pm, though I had requested them I would prefer to be dropped in Bluff that morning as I thought I would enjoy exploring the tiny seaport, while waiting for the ferry.

Given the unexpected time I was given in Invercargill, decided to take a walk around the city and I enjoyed the below six highlights of my walk. Starting from the I-site bus stop, where I had been dropped off by the coach from Te Anau, I made my way around the city.

(1) Water tower

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The water tower had been built in the early 20th century by the council, even though the local community had not wanted the tower on the green belt of the city. To appease the community, the 300,000 litre steel tank was disguised with an outer brick tower.

(2) Civic Theater

One of the landmarks of the city, the early 19th century building was originally the town hall. It was renovated and converted to a theatre complex in 2005.
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(3) Brunch at Zookeeper’s café

Having read positive reviews about this café, I decided to have some brunch here. The pancakes with grilled bananas was served with some vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. I also tried my first boysenberry juice at this café. From that point, I always ordered boysenberry juice the entire time I was in the south island.
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The staff at the café were friendly and one of them suggested I visit the Demolition village, an hour’s walk away from the café. Given that I do have problems walking long distances, I had to pass the option of visiting the interesting theme village, cited as one of the key places to visit in the city on the map of the city.

(4) St Mary’s Basilica

The beautiful church was designed by architect, Francis Petre, and opened in 1905.

IMG_4061Places of worship evoke different responses from me – the ones I have enjoyed simply exude an air of peace, that I simply feel content to be in the place. Others bedazzle me with their grandeur, but do not evoke spiritual feelings. Yet others put me off with their coldness. There are a few though that evoke unexpected strong emotional responses from me. Sitting inside this church, I was moved and while I don’t wish to dwell on that experience in this post, I wanted to mention that because of it, this church is one of my special six highlights of Invercargill.

(5) Victorian Railway hotel

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The hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Invercargill, that is continuing to be used for its original purpose.

(6) Queen’s Park

Back on Gala street after my circular walk around the city, I decided to rest my tired feet at Queen’s Park and enjoying the beautiful trees around me and a book.

IMG_4066 There was quite a number of families around the park as there was some kind of race taking  place with children and adults finishing their race at a café inside the park. For me, the park is the best part of Invercargill city and while I did not explore all aspects of the huge park, it was enough that I enjoyed the parts I visited very much.

Which of the above six have you visited or would want to visit, on your trip to Invercargill?

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“Untold

Special Six: Taste of Indonesia

During my brief weekend visit to Jakarta and Puncak in November, I tried out a lot of delicious Indonesian food. Here are some of the six special treats I enjoyed, which I would recommend to anyone visiting the city.

(1) Martabak Manis

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There was a Martabak Boss outlet, just across the hotel I stayed at in Jakarta, and my first evening, I went there for a snack. From the variety of martabak manis available, I chose the Original Martak boss, with chocolate, peanuts and cheese. As I mentioned eating in and not take out, I expected to be served a slice of the steamed cake. However, this huge platter was what I was served. The slice I tried out at the outlet was delicious and warm. The rest of the cake, I had it packed and my friend and I tried to finish some of it, during the rest of our trip.

(2) Bubur Ayam

A quintessential breakfast porridge in Indonesia, this is a rice porridge cooked in chicken broth and served with strips of chicken, peanuts and other delicious topping. I enjoyed both times I had this for breakfast during my visit.

(3) Mie Rebus

I tried this noodle dish in Puncak and it touched the spot on a cool afternoon. The noodles is served in a gravy like broth, and topped with greens and crispy shallot.

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(4) Bakmi Special

Having lived in Jakarta during my childhood years, soup noodles was a key part of our food habits. I tried to find a noodle soup that came close to the taste I used to love in my childhood and came across a close fit at Bakmi GM, with their Bakmi chicken special and hot chilli sauce.

Bakmi(5) Nasi Goreng

This was another childhood favourite food of mine. However, I didn’t quite come across the taste I used to enjoy back then, though I tried at a few places. Though it was good, it always seemed to lack something… sometimes, it was because it was less spicy and sometime, it was because something seemed to be missing in the combination.

Nasi Goreng 2.JPG(6) A Padang feast

When my Indonesian friend, Dewi, invited me out for dinner and said she would take me out to try some delicious Indonesian cuisine, I didn’t expect to be overwhelmed with a feast. At the restaurant which served Padang cuisine, as soon as we sat down, the staff brought out an array of around 20 dishes and a bowl of rice. Dewi explained that while we were served the entire array of dishes cooked that evening, we could pick and choose the dishes we wanted to eat. I decided to follow her choice and ended up trying out pop chicken, petai beans (stinky beans) with chilli, cassava leaves and tender jackfruit curry.

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And, of course, I had cups of great Indonesian coffee throughout my stay.

What’s your favourite Indonesian food?

Oregon Girl Around the World