Oct 24 day 54 Bulls to Feilding 20 km 8:45-12:30
Had choice of a short day or something near 40km to Palmerston North. Been in a bit of a physical lull, so opted to hike short to Feilding (yes, that’s how it is spelled, named after someone who spelled it that way). Uneventful walk, though had plenty of spring in my step, probably because I knew it would be a short day. It is a long weekend here–Monday is Labour Day– so I had some trouble getting a room (car races in town), but found place in downtown pub at reasonable price. Like the last town, the pub is dominated by gaming machines and horse racing. Don’t know why I find those places so depressing, but everyone seems to have an edge of desperation or maybe it’s the hopelessness in their eyes. The town is interesting in that it is so flat. It has squares in the middle dominated by a bell tower which has a long history, though it is a new structure. Everything is spread out and most of the buildings seem new, so it has a shopping center feel, but then there are short streets off the square with classic old storefronts (early 20th century). Wandered a bit, found the Robert Harris Coffee Roasters–a good place to spend much of the early afternoon. I then retired to Murray’s Irish Pub for the late afternoon pint and an early dinner. There the races were on, but people seemed to just be watching without the stress of having bet the butter and egg money. Adding to the calm was the music which was all classics– James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Otis Reading, Righteous Brothers–hard not to smile on a late Saturday afternoon to them. I should have tried to get up at 4:00 am to come back to watch the World Cup game, but I overslept. The All Blacks prevailed, so this should be an interesting week here in NZ.