Welcome to Middle Earth, 01/21/2020

Today started out relaxed and easy prior to our journey to our next stop. An easy going walk along the water where we had a great conversation with someone from South Africa and had some fun greeting the local canines who were out playing with their masters.

Packing up, we headed off after saying goodbye to our local hosts, who were kind and informative. The location was excellent and the kindness they extended was greatly appreciated.

We started the journey to Rotorua and then did a bit of a detour heading to Middle Earth. Hobbiton is the location of the filming of the Shire in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. We had a two-hour guided walking tour where we had the opportunity to walk the same path that Frodo, Bilbo, and Sam (Kathy’s favorite) walked. We saw the bench that Gandalf and Frodo sat to discuss the “adventure”. Lastly, we “bellied” up to the bar in the Green Dragon Inn located in the Shire where Dave had Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic) and Kathy had a hard cider! Sitting around the table, Kathy gave Dave the Cliff Notes version of the Lord of the Rings as he has never seen the movies. After her abbreviated version he will probably avoid the movie.

Reluctantly leaving Middle Earth, we headed to Rotorua, our next stop in our round the world trip. Finally finding our way to our next lodging, we gratefully unloaded the car and discussed what to do for dinner. We should have stayed in Middle Earth!!! Dinner was a dilemma between making omelets, which might have been the safe choice, or hot sandwich/burger/dogs at a local shop. Deciding upon the burger joint might not have been the best option. Kathy took apart her chicken sandwich and ate just the chicken, leaving the BBQ sauce, ham, pineapple, onion rings, condiments, and buns in their package and opted for the safe option of just chicken. Dave, being the braver sort, tackled his burger that had ham and beets along with his other traditional burger items. Kathy did try “canned” milk. It was vanilla-flavored milk and was sweet without being too sweet. While it was not on her “must try” list, it is not something she would say “never again.”

Time to relax for the day, put up our feet and sit in the shade under the covered patio of our most recent accommodations. The patio is surrounded by lots of green vegetation, including grapevines, which are quite a hit with the various local birds. We even had a short visit from the local tabby cat.

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