City of calf (and record)-breaking hills

Last night I launched myself into the Dunedin Fringe Festival melee (not sure how to insert accented letters in this blog set-up), and went along to see ‘Improsaurus’ perform – Dunedin’s top improvisation comedy act. It was really funny, and even more so when you remind yourself that they’re making it up on the spot. They must all have incredibly quick minds, and also know each other very well, in order to feed off each other so effectively. Very impressive and lots of fun. I ended up befriending two different groups of kiwis before the night was out – social circles seem much more permeable to outsiders than in the UK; it’s very easy to be absorbed into the gang in no time.

I’m now back in Dunedin library again, having spent a very pleasant morning wandering round the city in the sunshine. I am a sucker for superlatives, so first I made a pilgrimage to ‘the steepest residential street in the world’, according to the Guiness Book of Records. It was, inevitably, an anticlimax. You’ll see a photo of it at the bottom of this blog and won’t believe it’s true, but it did actually look a lot steeper when I was there. I then popped into the Otago Museum but didn’t stay long. I do try so hard to like museums, but I really struggle, especially if it’s sunny outside. I always just want to get back outside and experience places as they are, rather than see relics of as they were. I love hearing about histories of people and places, but prefer having locals tell me about it or reading interpretation boards as I go round. I guess I’m just an incurable outdoor girl.

I then spent a happy hour wandering round the peaceful botanic gardens, and found a lovely spot under a tree next to the rose gardens for my morning yoga. Now it’s back to the hostel (which is called Hogwartz – it’s an old bishop’s residence with high ceilings, stained glass windows and two cute resident dogs – it even has a replica sorting hat as you enter reception, which I half-expected to have to don to determine which room I was in) to get ready for my wildlife tour this afternoon. It runs into the evening so we (hopefully) get to see the yellow-eyed penguins returning to their beach at dusk. I’m very much enjoying my brief stay in Dunedin – it has a very welcoming, laid-back vibe.

I’ll leave you with a few photos of my ambles around the city’s (very hilly) streets.

Dunedin’s railway station – claimed to be the most photographed building in NZ. This one is just for you, Dad! 🙂

Edinburgh-esque architecture in the city centre. One of the kiwis I spoke to last night said that, since the Christchurch quake, Dunedin now holds NZ’s richest concentration of heritage buildings. However, the city does lie near a fault-line, so their own quake isn’t out of the question. So the future of this heritage lies on shaky ground, possibly literally.

The ultimate ‘let-down’ photo of the steepest residential street in the world – by some weird camera trickery, it looks like no slope at all, weird.

And finally, today’s yogacam, with the scent of roses in the air. A bird pooed on my head while I was in downward dog, so hopefully my luck will be in for seeing the penguins tonight…

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